Which tire manufacturer’s U.S. plants are the safest?

Trenton Bridgestone
Bridgestone Americas’ Trenton facility in South Carolina. | © Bridgestone

Which tire manufacturer’s U.S. plants are the safest?

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has named its top four U.S. tire manufacturers for excellence in worker health and safety.

Who were the winners?

Bridgestone, Cooper Tire and Rubber, Michelin and Yokohama Tire Corporation plants were each recognized with an Excellence Award as part of the RMA’s Safety and Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Three of Bridgestone’s plants (in Griffin, Georgia; Oxford, North Carolina; and Trenton, South Carolina) and two of Michelin’s (in Starr and Anderson, South Carolina) received the top award. Cooper and Yokohama each received one, for their plants in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and West Point, Mississippi, respectively.

The SHIP program was created in 1981 and recognizes member companies for their demonstrated commitment to worker health and safety.

“Safety is RMA members’ top priority for their products and their workplaces,” said RMA president and CEO Anne Forristall Luke. “We are proud to recognize this commitment to safety.”

What are the awards about?

Two categories of awards are presented to companies that demonstrate workplace safety excellence and improvements, which are measured by the incidence rate for lost workday cases. The Excellence category is for facilities that achieve a Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate that is 75 percent better than the average achieved by plants that provided data to RMA. DART is a “safety metric that shows how many workplace injuries and illnesses caused affected employees to remain away from work, restricted their work activities or transferred to another job as they were unable to do their usual job within a calendar year”, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Improvement award is for plants that achieve a DART rate that is both 10 percent better than its rate in the previous year and is the same or better than the RMA average incidence rate. Seven Excellence awards and 13 Improvement awards were presented in total.

Forty-five plants from RMA member companies supplied data for the annual survey to be eligible for awards. The data supplied to RMA is identical to information provided to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes annual injury and illness information on all industries.

Michelin and Bridgestone were the big winners at the awards, with each receiving six over both categories. Cooper picked up a second award in the Improvement category, as well as Goodyear (four) and Toyo (one).

“The SHIP results are an important measurement for Michelin because our top priority every day is to provide the safest and healthiest work environment possible for our workers,” said Michelin North America chairman and president Pete Selleck. “Ultimately, we depend on the hard work, vigilance and determination of our plant employees to maintain a culture of safety at every site.”

So what does this mean for my business?

Consumers like to support homegrown industry and buy American-made tires, so why not add some information about the awards into your sales pitch? It could be something like “not only are these tires made right here in the U.S., but the plant where they’re made has won awards for being the safest in the country.” Consumers also like brands that demonstrate care for their workers and focus on safety all the way through their business, so it won’t do any harm to emphasize this in the brands that you sell.

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