The health and safety of our employees is an important focus at Caterpillar, and we strive to continuously reduce injuries. Safety is forefront in our strategic goals and metrics, with visible commitment and support by leadership. In addition to metrics, we believe the best way to drive a culture of safety excellence is to create an environment where our team is accountable for their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them. We relentlessly strive to ensure our workforce returns home safely every day.
Safety 2020 Goals
Reduce recordable workplace
injury rate to 0.60 by 2020
Recordable Injury Frequency (RIF)
Recordable injuries per 200,000
Fatalities: 0 employees | 2 contractors
New 2030 Goal:
We aspire to prevent all injuries and will further our industry-leading safety results by reducing RIF by 50% from 2018 to 2030.
Creating Accountability for Everyone
We track enterprise metrics and targets as well as individual business unit goals. Common enterprise targets create structure and accountability, while business unit strategies focused on safety create opportunities for innovation. We drive clear accountability and have an Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) management system, as described in Energy, Fuel Economy & Emissions, that establishes expectations worldwide. From day one, we provide every new hire the knowledge they need to perform their job safely, and leaders regularly receive training on their role in safety compliance and setting an example for our strong safety culture. These actions help us manage risk while creating a culture focused on worker health and safety.
In 2020, we delivered our best Recordable Injury Frequency (RIF) safety performance on record, while providing essential products and services.
Our Progress Report Card
In 2020, thanks to our relentless focus on safety, we delivered our best recordable injury frequency (RIF) performance on record, improving on our previous record set in 2019. We have reduced our RIF rate by 93% from our 2003 base year and by 2% from 2019 to 2020. Our lost-time case frequency rate has improved by 93% from our 2003 base year but did increase slightly between 2019 and 2020. We attribute this change primarily to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we are proud of our progress, we are also very saddened that two contractors suffered fatal workplace injuries at our facilities in 2020. These incidents highlight that safety must always remain the number one focus of all workers, and it further strengthens our safety resolve.
Setting the Bar Higher
In this report, we announce our new goal to further reduce RIF by an additional 50% from 2018 to 2030, and continue to be a safety leader in our industry. To achieve this goal, we will focus our efforts on reducing the most severe and frequent injuries. Maintaining lasting risk reduction will require even further maturity of our safety culture. Our plan includes fostering a culture of caring by involving employees in developing solutions, listening to their concerns, and ensuring they feel comfortable talking to their peers about unsafe behaviors. Continuing to provide safety learning opportunities for our leaders, safety professionals and employees will enhance our efforts. We know the journey ahead will be challenging but vitally important as we continue to prioritize the safety of our employees and their families.
Caterpillar’s commitment to safety goes beyond our employees and facilities. Caterpillar Safety Services’ products, solutions and expertise support companies of all sizes in many industries, helping achieve and sustain safety excellence. Caterpillar Safety Services supports dealers, suppliers and customers using cultural assessment tools, continuous improvement processes, technology that identifies and mitigates risk, and a wealth of industry-specific safety resources.
New 2030 Goal:
Provide leadership in the safety of people who work in, on and around our products.
Focusing on Safety From Day One
Our production employees are an essential part of the safety process and often suggest innovative solutions to enhance safety in the workplace. Some recent efforts focused on newly hired employees.
Employees within our Building Construction Products Division noticed that those with less than one year of experience accounted for over half of near misses and injuries. Based on this insight, the employee-led team identified workstations that were best suited for new hires according to the complexity and precision needed to complete the task and assigned appropriate work based on experience level. The team also improved their on-the-job training to better educate new hires on safety and preventative measures to avoid injuries. Experienced employees were assigned as dedicated trainers to each new hire to support their learning on the shop floor. This employee-focused program led to a reduction in near misses, turnover rates and even scrap costs.
Similarly, our Product Support & Logistics Division has implemented a safety program, called the Guardian Program, to partner new employees with an experienced team member—or Guardian—during their first six months for an enhanced safety-focused onboarding. Through the pairing, Guardians accrue valuable leadership experience as a means of strengthening their professional development, and new employees benefit from the individualized support a Guardian partnership provides. This one-on-one relationship significantly reduces the new employee’s learning curve, offers enhanced support to ensure understanding of safe behaviors in the workplace, and supports inclusion by acquainting new employees with company culture and department colleagues.
Through year-end 2020, 475 Guardians globally have trained for the program, which has reduced employee safety incidents in first-year employees.