As Featured in BIC Magazine:

Performance Pipe Knoxville employees receive the 2007 Governor’s Award from Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley. From left are Nathan Grundy, Jacque Gierth, Neeley and Steve Hundley


"Safety Spotlight: Performance Pipe's Knoxville Facility"

By: KAYE BENHAM
Editorial Director

“The leadership from the very top and throughout our company stresses that safety is the highest priority of the company.” — Jim Miller, Knoxville plant manager for Performance Pipe, a division of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.

The team at Performance Pipe’s Knoxville, Tenn., facility embodies Chevron Phillips Chemical’s continued commitment to safety as it has once again been recognized with the Governor’s Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety — the site’s fourth consecutive year to earn the award. The honor exemplifies the Knoxville plant’s dedication to a safety culture free of incidents.

The Governor’s Award honors Tennessee employers and employees who meet a required number of hours during a calendar year without workplace injuries serious enough to cause an employee to miss a day of work or restrict normal job activities. The Performance Pipe facility has done just that and more. Recent safety milestones include:

*Aug. 16, 2005: Employees accomplished
five years without an OSHA recordable
incident.
*Dec. 19, 2006: Employees were recognized
for completing 1 million man-hours without
a lost-time accident.
*Aug. 23, 2007: Employees accomplished
another two years without an OSHA recordable
incident.

In fact, the Knoxville plant has had only one recordable injury and zero lost-time injuries
since the formation of Chevron Phillips Chemical in 2000. The site is also an OSHA
VPP Star site. Other honors include the Chevron Phillips Chemical Safety Excellence
Award (five times), the Chevron Phillips Chemical President’s Safety Award in 2003,
and the In Tune with Nature Harmony Award in 2005.

So how have Miller and his team of 85 employees maintained such excellence?
“We follow three principles,” he explained. “There is always time to do it right. If it’s worth doing, do it better. And, work safely or not at all.”

Additionally, there are five key elements of the facility’s safety program: leadership,
training, behaviors, accountability and process capability.

“The cornerstone of our safety process is the behavior-based safety process STEP,”
Miller said. “Safety through employee participation — STEP — means just that. Employees
are involved in every aspect of safety, including observations, incident investigations,
corrective actions, safety audits, procedures and process improvements. Constant positive reinforcement to make the right safety decisions also occurs daily, and employees have the right to refuse work if there is an unacceptable risk with health or environmental concerns.”

All employees and supervisors at the plant have practiced behavior-based safety since
1998. Additionally, VPP is ongoing, so it requires continuous involvement and periodic
recertification, and the site works to maintain that.

“The Performance Pipe plants share information with facilities nationwide,” Miller said. “Near-miss incidents, first aid cases, injuries, etc., are shared within hours of the occurrence. The sharing of safety incidents and corrective actions with employees prevents possible recurrence.”

Employees are recognized and rewarded for their safety performance for items such as
quality safety observations, coaching safety observations, completing safety audits and
participation in safety walkthroughs. Quarterly drawings are also held for those who qualify. Chevron Phillips Chemical also has an employee incentive program that includes safety as one of its metrics. And the company is concerned about its employees’ safety off the job as well.

“The plant provides PPE for home use, and, while at home, employees are encouraged to be as committed to safety as they are at work,” Miller said. “Information and newsletters are mailed to employees’ homes promoting off-the-job safety.

“We are very fortunate that the management team of all of Chevron Phillips Chemical is supportive and committed to safety, and their overall goal is zero. And the employees of
Performance Pipe are committed to that.”