Fastenal was recently named as one of America’s safest companies by EHS Today. Fastenal offers products spanning more than nine major product lines — from fasteners and tools to safety and janitorial supplies — and helps customers simplify and realize product and process savings across their supply chain.
Since 2002, American occupational safety and health publication, EHS Today has recognized just over 250 U.S. firms as America’s Safest Companies. Ten organizations recently joined this select group, including Fastenal.
“I want to say thank you to EHS Today for this honor,” said Fastenal CEO and president Dan Florness. “I also want to thank our customers and suppliers for the safety ideas they share with us, and our employees for ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to creating a safe environment for each other and our customers every day.”
To be considered for an America’s Safest Companies award, organizations must demonstrate excellence in several areas: support from leadership and management for EHS efforts, employee involvement in the EHS process, innovative solutions to safety challenges, comprehensive training programs, evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process, good communication about the value of safety, a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process, and injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries.
One important factor is the Experience Modification Rate (EMR), a widely accepted measure of organizational health and safety calculated by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
A company’s EMR is based on its past and expected workplace injury losses compared to a benchmarked industry average. In 2020, the most recent year for which this figure has been calculated, Fastenal’s EMR was 55% better than the average rate for its industry.
“When we reviewed Fastenal’s application, it was clear they are doing a lot of things right,” said EHS Today Managing editor, Nicole Stempak. “We are glad to share some of Fastenal’s innovative safety programs with the EHS Today audience and recognize the work they have done by naming them one of America’s Safest Companies of 2021.”
As detailed in EHS Today‘s profile of Fastenal, one of those innovative programs centers on near misses — events that did not result in injury but had the potential to do so. Fastenal conducts frequent prize drawings to reward employees for reporting any near misses they experience. The company’s EHS managers not only take immediate action to eliminate or control the reported hazards, they also share those corrective actions with employees, making each near miss an opportunity to communicate, learn, and improve across the organization.
Another example is a 90-day safety check-in with new employees, a group that historically represented more than a third of safety incidents.
The program is executed by local site managers, who sit down with their new team members to discuss common safety hazards and reinforce best practices (concepts initially learned during the employee onboarding process). This targeted local engagement has helped drive a significant reduction in incidents among employees within their first year on the job.
EHS Today also notes that Fastenal is one of just 50 global organizations selected to provide guidance on COVID-related practices as part of the ISO 45001/TC 283 occupational health and safety management technical committee — a reflection of the company’s EHS leadership in response to the pandemic.
All are aspects of a comprehensive and creative EHS program that aligns with Fastenal’s decentralized business model. Last year, Fastenal’s EHS managers engaged employees spread across 3,000-plus locations with nearly 130,000 safety-related activities, from trainings and safety coaching to site audits and inspections.
The goal isn’t simply to enforce safety policies; it’s to empower all 20,000-plus team members with the tools, knowledge, and support they need to make smart safety decisions, to help drive continuous improvement, and to serve as trusted safety partners when interacting with customers at their facilities and job sites.
“As a people-centered organization and a partner in our customers’ daily operations, we believe safety is a core value,” said Dave Olson, Fastenal’s EHS & Sustainability Director. “We’re striving to be a beacon for workplace health and safety throughout the world.”