History of EnPro Learning Systems - The EnPro Industries Safety Journey

EnPro Learning Systems (ELS) helps organizations to change their cultures for the better through a unique approach – positive workplace safety culture development. Our vision is to achieve injury freedom. That means the prevention and elimination of all injuries. Every year, most EnPro Industries facilities are injury free, even though they work in heavy manufacturing. We know injury freedom is possible, and we know that the desire for injury freedom is common to all people, across industries, nations, languages and cultures.

EnPro Industries’ engineered products are used in critical applications across diverse markets. Our product manufacturing poses significant potential risks to our colleagues. Each and every day, they operate sophisticated machinery, handle heavy and bulky materials, work with chemicals and deal with an ever-changing workplace. In this environment, safety awareness and practice is paramount.

Our safety performance success is a product of the EnPro Industries safety culture and the system for developing it, which was tested and implemented by our colleagues in our own global manufacturing operations. The EnPro safety system has led our corporation to be recognized three times in the past 12 years as one of America’s Safest Companies by EHS Today, most recently in 2016. (interior link)

As more organizations heard about our reputation for safety and quality, and how it impacts what we call the “Dual Bottom Line,” they began to ask us to teach them how to achieve the same success. In 2012, EnPro Industries launched EnPro Learning Systems (ELS) with its first SafetySummit, where leaders from other organizations could come to an event to learn about our safety system and experience our safety culture at an EnPro facility. ELS was formally incorporated in 2014 and now holds two annual SafetySummit events, conducts more than 10 in-person workshops, and provides on-site gap analysis and training for clients.

EnPro Industries’ EHS professionals facilitate a safety system that not only works in many different countries and cultures, but also can be reliably deployed in businesses the company acquires. Over the past 10 years, EnPro has acquired over 35 businesses. They come to us with a wide range of safety performance and cultural development challenges. To be effective in these situations, our safety system must be easy to repeat and execute. The proof of this is in the fact that these facilities have reduced OSHA recordable injury rates by an average of 75% within two years of EnPro Industries ownership, and their levels of engagement in safety, quality and productivity have improved vastly.

When EnPro Industries acquires a company, we intentionally do not make immediate changes. We begin with a safety assessment and leadership development. Early in our journey to safety excellence, we recognized that a safety system built solely on compliance with policies and procedures could never fully protect our workforce. While policies and procedures are a necessary and essential component of our safety system, the complexity of our operations requires each and every employee to develop a personal ethical commitment to working safely. This is a commitment that goes above and beyond compliance with rules, and fundamentally changes the way we approach our daily lives.

The Approach:

Over the past 10 years, EnPro Industries discovered that establishing each employee’s individual, personal safety ethic is essential to creating a positive workplace safety culture – and an area of development typically overlooked by organizations today. Our approach relies on four different and unique perspectives (shown in the image) which we believe create a full understanding of what is necessary to build a sustainable safety culture. Personal development, described in the upper left quadrant, is the area primarily avoided in business today because it requires interaction of a personal nature. The standard focus of most organizations is on influencing behaviors and habits that affect the way people work, described in the bottom right quadrant. A traditional EHS program implements EHS policies, procedures, and programs. Many companies also try to develop group culture-building programs and establish organizational values represented in the bottom left quadrant. At EnPro Industries, we learned that without a strong focus on the internal feelings and values of every individual, the culture and system is not complete and a zero injury workplace is likely out of reach. Through SafetyMyVoice, a tool we created, we actively devote time to developing an internal safety belief in each employee, from the frontline worker to the top level executive. By sharing personal stories and experiences, we create the foundation for our behavior-based safety (BBS) program and our culture of caring.

People Will Help Support That Which They Help to Create:

The keys to the success of an organization’s workplace safety culture – both within EnPro Industries and other clients with which EnPro Learning Systems has partnered – are the engagement of the entire organization and the integration of all four quadrants in the model.

When every employee has a say, not only in what the system looks like, but also in the development and strategy of the individual components of the system, then safety becomes a personal endeavor. Each organization needs to create a safety culture unique to itself. When EnPro Learning Systems works with an organization, it guides the client through the creation of its own unique safety culture. A major component of our safety system is establishing high performing SafetyActionTeams. Unlike a traditional EHS safety committee, these action teams allow employees to get involved and have an immediate impact on their workplace, building upon existing cultures and systems by using and/or improving documents, tools, and communication. This system also creates practically limitless opportunities for personal development for those involved in the teams.

A workplace safety culture of injury freedom must rely on people making the right (“safe”) decisions 100% of the time. We believe behaviors play a role in almost every incident. At times, leaders may encourage unsafe behavior by stressing production over safety, or perhaps by simply failing to discuss safety hazards with those with whom they work.  At other times, a colleague may decide to take a short cut, even when the individual knows there is a safer way to perform the task. Decisions such as these can have a significant impact on an organization’s safety culture.

SafetyFirst, our behavior-based safety (BBS) program, goes beyond general awareness of behaviors that cause unsafe situations. EnPro Industries developed it 10 years ago to address a fundamental flaw in most off-the-shelf BBS programs – turning observations into actions. EnPro Learning System released SafetyFirst to outside organizations three years ago, and this year a revised and improved version of SafetyFirst will debut.  SafetyFirst educates every employee on the organization’s current safety challenges and implements a focused, customizable series of triggers to influence the employees’ daily habits. While SafetyFirst is designed to encourage excellent behaviors and habits, it does so while promoting the character and values of leadership needed to sustain safety excellence. SafetyFirst plays an important role in defining safety excellence as a habit of action that shapes safety leadership and safety culture.

EnPro Learning Systems - Custom Safety Engagements:

EnPro Industries formed EnPro Learning Systems five years ago with the intent of allowing organizations to learn from our colleagues, and we still do that. But now our team of EHS professionals and safety consultants provides a wide breadth of services at our clients’ locations. We can assist with the implementation of our entire safety system within an organization, focus on specific elements of the system, and efficiently move an organization forward on the journey to injury freedom.
EnPro Learning Systems can customize applications for your business, whatever the safety challenge or state of organizational development. We provide on-site training and services, including SafetyGap Analysis, Safety360 Leadership Development, SafetyCare Management, SafetyFirst behavior-based safety, and SafetyActionTeams as well as a “mini” version of our popular SafetySummit. 

The EnPro safety approach depends on a core belief that all injuries can be prevented. That may seem like an impossible goal, but more than 65 EnPro Industries locations in 12 countries maintain this performance year over year. It is achieved through dedicated effort at all levels of the organization. The EnPro Learning Systems approach empowers and educates all members of our organization. Our colleagues affect true change in their working environments. They refuse to accept that traditional processes cannot be done safely and have worked tirelessly to build a system that works. This workplace safety system is implemented throughout EnPro Industries global operations and tested in diverse cultural settings. Because our business leaders recognize living safely means we must be willing to share what we have learned, EnPro Learning Systems is ready to be your partner in creating an injury-free workplace for your organization.