Background

The Lubrizol Corporation is a fluids technology company based in Wickliffe, Ohio, with US plants in Painesville, Ohio, Deer Park and Pasadena, Texas. Lubrizol is a major producer of additive packages for the petrochemical industry, coatings and specialty fluids that reduce NOX emissions and enhance the coloring properties of dye for clothing.

The Responsible Care Code of Management Practices has been the foundation of Lubrizol's system for managing safety and health. By 1997 each of Lubrizol's US plants had achieved "Practice-In-Place", but safety performance had plateaued. It was clear that a new direction was needed to reduce injuries.

In 1998 the Corporation began development of "Safety Excellence", a group of 17 management practices for safety and health designed to provide a path forward to world class performance. Roll out of the initiative corporate wide was completed in early 2001. Figure 1 represents the "Excellence Pyramid", a graphical presentation of the path to world class safety excellence through implementation of the 17 practices. To provide a basis for future planning for safety by executives and local plant management, it was recognized that first it was necessary to have an accurate picture of current safety practice, then identify the gaps between current performance and the practices of Safety Excellence. "Lubrizol's Assessment For Safety Excellence" was born from a recognition of this need.

Assessment Objectives

Due to their strategic significance to the business operation of Lubrizol, the two plants in Texas were targeted for the first round of assessments. Lubrizol's Deer Park and Bayport facilities are located just 10 miles apart in the Houston, Texas area. A General Manager oversees the operation of the two plants but each site has separate and distinct organizations for management of production, shipping and maintenance. Resources for safety, health, and emergency planning and response are shared between the sites. The two plants together employ approximately 630 employees and 200 contractors.

The Texas facilities determined that the assessment for safety excellence would have five major objectives:

  • To assess Lubrizol Texas versus the criteria for Safety Excellence as established by the 17 management practices.

  • To assess Lubrizol Texas versus the self-assessment criteria of the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). At this time the Texas facilities were considering application into the VPP Process.

  • To complete an assessment of our Process Safety Management program, as required every three years by 29 CFR 1910.119.

  • To identify "Best Practices" for safety and health within the Texas facilities.

  • To develop an abbreviated assessment process for annual use.

Developing the Plan for Assessment

The Texas facilities had never undertaken a safety & health assessment of this magnitude. Once the objectives were established, a number of key decisions had to be made before creating the structure of the effort.

First, it was determined early on that extensive employee involvement would be critical to establish the credibility of the results with plant workers. Broad-based participation by all areas of the site would lend valuable perspective to our findings.

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