Learning & Development

Best practices: 2014 Green Cross for Safety Award

Owens Corning is the 2014 recipient of the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Green Cross for Safety medal. The prestigious Green Cross award is presented annually to an organization with outstanding safety performance and a commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where employees work and live.

Over the past 12 years, Owens Corning has eliminated nearly 95 percent of recordable injuries, as defined by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The company’s operations include 90 manufacturing plants and over 15,000 employees around the world.

In announcing the award, the NSC pointed to Owens Corning’s strong safety leadership at all levels. The Fortune 500 company, which manufactures building materials and other products, has adopted a global safety stand based on four principles:

  1. Our safety commitment is unconditional,
  2. All accidents are preventable,
  3. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and
  4. Working safely is a condition of employment.

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Major milestones in Owens Corning’s safety journey have included:

  • Banning employees’ use of cell phones for company business while driving;
  • Focusing on controlling exposures related to lockout/tagout, machine guarding, fall protection, powered industrial vehicles, confined space, and automobile safety;
  • Engaging all employees in terms of owning and continuously improving safety processes. Expanding efforts to assess and reduce risk as injuries have been reduced;
  • Increasing certification of safety trainers and specialists through a formal training program; and
  • Emphasizing the expectation that contractors will have the same unconditional approach to safety as Owens Corning teams.

The Toledo Blade reports the initiative of the NSC to ban cell phone use while driving is one adopted by Owens Corning, which 2 years ago banned employees at all company facilities from using cell phones to conduct company business while behind the wheel.


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“We are honored to be recognized with the Green Cross for Safety medal from the National Safety Council,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mike Thaman in a press release. “Receiving the Green Cross for Safety medal honors the dedication of all of our employees. We lead from safety, which means our ability to execute on safety is a primary indicator of how we perform as a company.

“The journey to an injury-free workplace continues, but we take pride in what we’ve accomplished and this special recognition,” Thaman added. “Safety is a true indicator of not only manufacturing excellence, but also overall operating performance.”

Doug Pontsler, vice president of Environment, Health and Safety & Operations Sustainability, added, “Owens Corning’s commitment to safety is grounded in a fundamental caring for our people, in our people caring for one another. Employees work in way that demonstrates they want each and every one of their coworkers to return home as healthy as they came to work.”