2010 CEOs Who 'Get It'

Keith Nosbusch

Chairman & CEO
Rockwell Automation Inc.

Rockwell Automation Inc., the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, is headquartered in Milwaukee. The company employs about 20,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

Why is safety a core value at your company?

These are stressful times. Technology and processes are more complex. Job security is less certain. Many are doing more with less. That’s why a safe and healthy workforce has never been more important. Plus, when we take better care of our own, our colleagues take better care of our customers. That’s how we as a company and our employees will continue to succeed through the current economic downturn and through recovery.

We operate all of our locations in a manner that recognizes safety as fundamental, not just by being the best place to work but, more important, by providing our employees with a place to do their best work. We have defined how we value our colleagues through our “People Value,” an important foundation for a culture where people can do their best work. In uncertain economic times, it is even more important for our people to know we value them. Our safety focus is one of the ways we demonstrate we care about each other and the communities where we live and work.

How do you instill a sense of safety in your employees on an ongoing basis?

Our commitment to safety starts with our board of directors. Our board’s Technology and Corporate Responsibility Committee reviews and assesses our policies and results in several areas, including employee health and safety. We have a comprehensive internal audit program that I review monthly, so we are always reinforcing the importance of safety with the management team. These audits review safety procedures, systems and implementation, and verify compliance with all laws and company policies and procedures.

My senior executive team provides strong support, leadership and resources for health and safety programs. We are visibly engaged and involved. Managers and employees share accountability and responsibility through active involvement in program development, hazard assessments, communications, inspections, training and incident investigations.

How do you measure safety? What are the leading indicators that show you how safe you are, and where do you see room for improvement?

We calculate our internal global safety measures on a 12-month rolling average per 100 employees. As of Sept. 30, 2009, our recordable rate was 0.63, down from 1.29 in 2005. Our lost workday case rate was 0.11, better than 0.30 in 2005.

Similarly, our lost workday rate is 1.30, significantly down from 6.04 in 2005. We use activity-based scorecards to help communicate and measure safety tasks and results. Safety performance management reviews are held regularly. And we conduct numerous internal safety audits each year.

How important is off-the-job safety to your company’s overall safety program? What types of off-the-job safety programs does your company offer to employees?

Creating a workplace where you can do your best work is about more than what happens inside the four walls of our company. If a parent worries about finding care for his or her child who is home sick with the flu, that affects the worker’s ability to take care of customers. If an unhealthy lifestyle puts an employee at risk for illness, that too affects their job performance.

We support our employees’ efforts to lead healthy and safe lives. We have locations with health club facilities, clinics and wellness classes. We sponsor charity walk, run and bicycling teams. We are increasingly promoting our flexible work options because we believe employees can focus better on their work when they have the flexibility to effectively manage and schedule their personal and professional lives.

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