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Health and Safety

We are committed to ensuring that our people stay safe and healthy. We have robust policies and practices in place throughout our operations to measure our health and safety performance, demonstrate progress and identify areas for improvement.

Our Approach

How We Manage Health and Safety

Accountability for health and safety performance is established through business planning, policies and scorecards. Business operation and plant managers are responsible for health and safety in the operations they manage, and safety performance forms part of the scorecards of relevant salaried employees. Our president and CEO, our senior operating team, global Manufacturing Operating Committee and regional Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) committees all review safety performance regularly.

Our efforts are guided by our OHS policy, established through corporate Policy Letters and Directives, and our global OHS standards cover all relevant issues, from workplace safety to ergonomics and occupational hygiene to toxicology.

Our Safety Operating System (SOS), part of our overall manufacturing strategy, provides for the health and safety of our employees, and most of our manufacturing facilities have joint union/management safety committees to guide, develop and implement safety programs.

Reinforcing Our Strong Safety Culture

Our safety vision is to achieve no fatalities or serious injuries, and to protect and continually improve the health of our workforce.

Our strong safety culture relies on effective communication and reinforcement through a variety of channels, engaging all employees and contractors in understanding and adhering to safety programs and policies. We hold regular safety talks and occasional safety stand-downs at our plants to focus on key issues, and also use the START Card process to identify when to conduct pre-task briefings and safety assessments.

All employees are encouraged to alert management to every injury or hazard, so that we can take corrective actions and create a safer workplace for everyone. Should a significant incident occur, we can alert health and safety experts at our other facilities so that appropriate action can be taken if necessary.

An Increased Focus on Prevention

Our efforts to make safety a core value across our operations have gone beyond response, toward prevention.

We now use “leading” metrics, such as potentially serious incidents without injury and closure time for identified safety improvements by employees, in our safety scorecard. In 2016, we had 208 high-potential reported events that could have had serious consequences, but didn’t. Each incident was investigated, and we implemented a number of preventive measures.

Globally, we are always looking to utilize new technologies in an innovative way. In 2015, we created a global collaborative robot technical committee that includes cross-functional representation from engineering, operations, safety and our union partners. Our objective was to create a global standard to ensure the safe design and implementation of collaborative robot applications. Collaborative robots provide us with an innovative approach to reducing or eliminating risk factors that have been difficult to solve in the past. An initial pilot application was successfully launched in Thailand in 2015.

At the end of 2016, we were successful in implementing additional collaborative robot applications in India and the U.K., with further projects planned for introduction in North American manufacturing sites in 2017.

As well as striving to predict and eliminate risks during the design stage using “virtual manufacturing” technology, we rely on good relationships with our stakeholders to identify, analyze and eliminate other potential risks. We continue to collaborate with unions to help address unsafe behaviors, and maintain external relationships with regulatory agencies and professional organizations such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Case Study

Robot Eases Employee Strain in Cologne

Employees assembling the Ford Fiesta at our Cologne Vehicle Operations in Germany are working hand in hand with a collaborative robot (co-bot). In the past, employees mounting shock absorbers had to lift 4.5 kilograms over their heads every 77 seconds.

Now, the co-bot automatically puts the screws and shock absorbers into position, eliminating the need for repetitive and strenuous lifting, and reducing the risk of back strain. The robot is flexible and adjustable so it can be customized to each individual employee, and can also adapt to changes in line speed.

See how co-bots work alongside humans on our production lines.

Our Performance

Our Safety Record in 2016

Every life is valued and precious, and any loss of life or serious injury in our facilities – whether it is a Ford employee, contractor, supplier or any other visitor – is unacceptable. Although we’ve made great strides in safety across our business, regrettably, in 2016, there were two fatalities among Ford employees – the first for seven years. One occurred in Europe and the other (a non-work-related act of violence) in North America; there was also one fatality among contractors working at our facilities. The circumstances were analyzed in detail and actions were taken to prevent future incidents of a similar nature.

Another key safety indicator, lost-time case rate, now stands at 0.39 cases with one or more days away from work per 200,000 hours.

Lost-Time Case Rate

Cases per 200,000 hours worked

Ford Global Rate0.380.430.39
U.S. Motor Vehicle Manufacturing (NAICS 3361/SIC 3711)1.91.6NA1

NA = Not available.

  1. Annual data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics unavailable at the time of publication.

Benchmarking Our Performance

Internal benchmarking enables us to replicate best practices from around the business, and share the attributes that drive health and safety excellence. These are honored in our annual President’s Health and Safety Award program, which recognizes leadership and innovation in workplace health and safety, and supports the development of a robust safety operating system. Presented at a global and regional level, the awards include:

  • Safety innovations in manufacturing and non-manufacturing operations, safety excellence and safety leadership
  • Ford plants with the lowest lost-time case rates
  • Our Health & Safety professional of the year and career achievement categories
  • Lifesaving awards in recognition of emergency interventions

External benchmarking helps us to achieve best-in-class performance. We participate in multi-industry groups, including auto industry peers and companies from other sectors, which share information on safety performance and industry trends, and explore potential collaborations to address current issues.

  See more detail about our health and safety performance

Employee Health and Well–Being

Tailored Offerings and Informed Choices

Our health vision is to foster knowledgeable employees, engaged in their own health and well-being, to Go Further at work, home and into retirement.

The health and well-being of our workforce remains a priority for us and is a key driver of performance. Our mission is to support the ONE Ford plan by providing innovative, high-quality programs and services that empower employees to achieve health and well-being.

We tailor our offerings to meet individual and local priorities, and provide resources to help individuals make informed choices as they interact with the health care system. In 2016, 80 percent of our U.S. salaried workforce participated in our annual wellness requirements, which are designed to help our health plan participants to establish a relationship with a personal primary care physician, gain a better understanding of their own health status and receive appropriate preventive care.

To meet their annual wellness requirements, our enrolled employees and their spouses must be screened by their personal physician and complete an online health assessment. If an employee meets the wellness requirements, the employee (and their family, if enrolled) will achieve the Enhanced Benefit Level and enjoy reduced out-of-pocket costs when they receive medical care.

Around the world, the cost of health care insurance is significant, so helping our employees to avoid serious diseases and effectively manage chronic conditions has a positive impact on their quality of life and on our success. Promoting health among our employees also contributes to healthier communities in general, as good habits tend to be shared with friends and family.