Merck reduces incidents by building a culture of safety awareness
Don’t just mitigate risk — extinguish it
According to Grofic, MMD’s leadership team saw an opportunity that had the potential to make a “huge impact, with low risk.” The company knew it needed to build a consistent program, which started with building a collective culture around proactive safety. MMD President, Chattopadhyay says, “The only way we can ensure that we mitigate risk, or even extinguish risk, is when we have a very astute understanding of the why’s and how’s of every unit of operation.” This means communicating a consistent message across all locations, all generations, and in all relevant languages. After that, reinforcement ensures each individual embodies the same values in their day-to-day lives, on the job or at home.
To drive impactful change throughout a large organisation, it really has to start with a shift in mindset with each individual, at every level. “We have seen significant value with the Axonify platform. There’s been a lot of energy around it with people logging on more than once a week and challenging each other,” explains Grofic. “It’s a great way to not only reinforce safety principles and procedures, but create energy and excitement around our entire Safe by Choice program — from those on the shop floor who touch the products, up through the highest levels of plant management.”
Sustainable safety in every language
Running through safety orientations as protocol for onboarding is not the most effective way to engage employees and instil safety behaviours that will stick. Companies need to get their people to start thinking about safety in a different way. In order to do that, consistency is key — and not just in the message they communicate, but in the cadence, frequency, and medium or channel they use to disseminate that message. Grofic explains, “As one of the tools of the Safe by Choice program, the Axonify platform is getting people to think about safety not only in a different way, but throughout their entire work week.”
In just a 12-month timeframe, adoption of the Safe by Choice program and the Axonify platform has skyrocketed. MMD has sustained more than 80% voluntary participation levels, on a monthly basis, in the US, Italy, China, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Singapore and many other countries. With such high participation rates from MMD’s employees, the leadership team plans to continue using the Axonify platform to keep its employees safe. “We had never done something like this with such a vast audience before, but leadership realises there’s a true benefit in keeping safety front and centre in the minds of our folks,” explains Grofic. “Instead of letting it be something that’s discussed on a quarterly or bi-annual basis. Our people are discussing it weekly.”
The Axonify platform also supports content in more than 10 languages, keeping MMD’s global safety message consistent across all manufacturing sites. In fact, MMD now boasts a “common language” of safety across all of its global manufacturing sites and has succeeded in embedding its safety practices into the company’s culture.
Results continue to tell the same story. Across 52 global sites, knowledge of safety topics is up, the recordable incident rate is down, and lost time injury frequency rate is down compared to 2013. MMD has experienced a significant impact on its safety culture by delivering targeted content, promoting transparency and sharing of knowledge to drive continuous improvement. “Using the Axonify platform was thinking outside of the box for MMD. It was a different way to engage our employees,” says Grofic. “There’s a great energy around the entire program, and each site is taking the initiative to come up with unique ideas around how they can continue to drive this energy around SbC and safety overall.”