Miliken &Company (Miliken) is a company that produces chemical products for floorcoverings, protective fabrics and textiles. Being in the industry for more thana century with a total number employee of about 7,000 people in more than 39facilities around the world, Miliken must have practiced the right health andsafety culture to be recognized for its world-class safety practice and to beconsistently ranked as the “most ethical company” for 15 years and running. The secret toMiliken’s success is in its involvement-basedemployee engagement program.
This program is exemplary of several keyattributes towards implementing successful safety, health and risk managementin an organization. The program demonstrates how Miliken’s management playscritical role in safety, how Miliken is committed towards meeting the OSHAstandards and how safety culture is instilled among the employees throughempowerment and involvement in safety program.Safety is aculture that should start from the top. Miliken’s management demonstrates itsseriousness in creating a safe workplace by having a clear safety guidelinethat is cascaded from the federal and state level. This process is thentranslated through weekly meetings into specific metrics to be achieved byplant’s subcommittees.Safety audit iscritical to ensure the safety practice complies to the requirement therebymaking it effective to minimize accidents.
Through this program, Miliken createsafety committees that performs weekly audit to evaluate safety adequacy,conduct and monitor safety audits and suggest ways to improve safety at theworkplace. Miliken has allthe right ingredients to render the company as one of the safest company inwhich to work with its extraordinary low work-place illness and injury. In fact,central to the company’s success lies in the employees’ empowerment andinvolvement in the safety program. Miliken’s employees are the ones that staffthe steering and safety subcommittee system. Having employees’ participation inthe safety committee and safety process can significantly reduce unsafe acts.
Often time, the company can do so much to provide a safe working place throughpolicy and practices but human misbehavior can potentially short circuit eventhe best safety efforts. Through this program, the employees will feel more’responsible’ towards their own safety as they make safety as their culture. Finally,Miliken practices positive reinforcement to win the engagement of theemployees. This is demonstrated via the safety program that quantifies theemployees’ involvement in every aspect of safety. in fact, Miliken’s practice in anon-traditional incentive, such as giving recognition via the constructivefeedback or appreciative feedback and not some monetary rewards ensure that itdoes not dissuade workers from reporting the actual safety problem.
Miliken also does it right by having’cheerleaders’ that provides safety cheers as engineer enters the plant asmeans of celebrating the employees’ safety effort throughout the year.