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The health, safety, and wellbeing of all our employees always remains our top priority. It is a core value and principle to our culture at Dentsply Sirona.
In 2021, we expanded our site level health and safety programs and launched our corporate level Employee Health & Safety standards that align with recognized management system frameworks.
In 2020, all our manufacturing sites implemented the first wave of the Employee Health & Safety standards, including Control of Hazardous Energy, Machine Safety, Safe Work Permits, Elevated Work, Knife and Cutting Tool Safety, and Regulatory Inspections & Communication. These standards help control health and safety risks, and we are planning to roll out the next wave of standards in H2 2022. These will include standards that support Product Stewardship and Sustainability in addition to further health and safety measures.
The implementation of our Knife and Cutting Tool Safety standard has supported a reduction in lacerations from 24 in 2019 to three in 2022; an 88% reduction. Our sites globally have engaged in awareness and hazard control campaigns to reduce injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls, resulting in a reduction in this type of injury from 49 in 2019 to 11 in 2022; a 78% reduction.
We have also focused on reducing incidents associated with the Line of Fire hazard via our Employee Health & Safety Frontline Leadership training. The uptake of solutions and techniques from the training has led to a reduction of injuries resulting from the Line of Fire hazard from 35 in 2019 to four in 2022; an 89% reduction.
Overall, our global annual recordable injury rate in 2021 was 0.56, remaining relatively consistent versus 0.53 during 2020. Our current injury rate in 2022 is 0.41; a 27% reduction versus 2021 and 55% reduction versus 2019. All data is characterized in accordance with US Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] criteria.
To further improve our Employee Health & Safety performance, in 2022 we worked with our sites to improve the causal analysis process to identify human factors that contribute to injuries, and we are making improvements to reduce the likelihood of future injury.
The ongoing war in Ukraine and the impact of COVID-19 has amplified the importance of the actions we take to keep our employees safe and well. The Corporate Crisis Management Team is instrumental in maintaining contact and providing ongoing support to our employees impacted by the war in Ukraine.
We have helped, and will continue to help, our employees and their families move from high-risk areas within Ukraine to alternative lower risk areas within Ukraine or to safe locations outside the country. Prior to the onset of the war in Ukraine, and as with all countries we operate in, we conducted regular communication with our team members to ensure they had support from Health & Safety, Human Resources and Legal resources, and we continue to do so.
In 2021, the Smile Way team at our facility in York, Pennsylvania, established a Train the Trainer program to help leaders and their direct reports have more effective communications around safety and employee wellbeing. The establishment of daily safety conversations as part of the program has helped build trust, respect, and accountability and is designed to mitigate future injuries with preventive actions. Job rotation, execution of process per standard operating procedures and ergonomic improvements have been three focus areas of the program.
Smile Way also installed iPads throughout the York production floor so employees can suggest opportunities for safety improvements in real time. The program has been an overall success: “near miss” incident reporting has increased, as has first aid reporting which includes employee knowledge of what types of first aid incidents must be reported. And, thanks to Train the Trainer, Smile Way leaders now make over 2,000 contact points with employees on key safety matters each month.
We also focused on several other Employee Health & Safety initiatives throughout our sites, including at Hasselt, Belgium. Our focus on safety was highlighted at the end of 2020 by the facility achieving 1,460 days without a single reported accident. We achieved this by providing equipment for our employees, such as mats for those in the shipping department to improve ergonomics, and tables with adjustable heights to help our employees’ posture and reduce back pain.
Despite the pandemic, we still managed to drive several exciting, non-COVID-19-related Employee Health & Safety initiatives at our Ballaigues site, which limited accidents during 2020 to just three:
We implemented a “near miss” process to catch potential accidents before they happen – an initiative that was previously rolled out at our Johnson City site. As employees at our facility improved their understanding of the importance of reporting near misses rather than waiting to report injuries after they occur, we observed a positive culture shift. Now the safety committee conducts daily reviews and monthly walk-throughs in each department, where they proactively identify potential risk areas.
Our focus on safety was highlighted at the end of 2020 by the facility achieving 1,460 days without a single reported accident. This was helped by providing equipment for our employees, such as mats for those in the shipping department to improve ergonomics, and tables with adjustable heights to help our employees’ posture and reduce back pain.
As employees at our facility built their understanding of the importance of reporting “near misses” rather than waiting to report injuries after they occur, we observed a positive culture shift. Now, the safety committee conducts daily reviews and monthly walk-throughs in each department, where they proactively identify potential risk areas.