Friedrichshafen. To ensure that ZF innovations effectively contribute to enhanced safety when in volume production, they are subject to stringent functional and load tests extremely early in the development process. For all those involved, there is always a certain degree of risk when performing trials on the first prototypes. A 30-man team at ZF was assigned the task of mitigating this risk – and it has succeeded: On March 4, 2015, the Professional Association for Wood and Metal (BGHM) presented the team with the prestigious "Schlauer Fuchs" award in Friedrichshafen, commending the team's "Safety in Processes" (SiP) project, which was launched in 2009 and set excellent occupational safety and health standards.
ZF is a globally active technology company and is underpinned by an extremely productive research and development network comprising 24 international test bays, each accommodating 200 workshops, approximately 900 test benches, more than 1 000 facilities worldwide, as well as offices and various test drive facilities. This presents the Group with an enormous level of diversity and complexity, and this also applies to the field of safety. The "Safety in Processes" (SiP) project is so important to us as it provides all of our 2 200 test bay employees worldwide with a relatively simple, standardized tool for safety management to constantly optimize their work safety standards. We are therefore extremely pleased that the team has been honored with this prestigious award today," commented Andreas Klumpp, Head of Testing, Validation, and Measuring and SiP Project Manager at ZF on the occasion of this award ceremony in Friedrichshafen. "With this project, ZF broke new technological and legal ground in terms of occupational safety and health and has set new global standards. This kind of pioneer projects in particular need to be appreciated and fostered. We are therefore very pleased to honor the great commitment of every individual person involved in this project in our ideas competition. At the time, I myself took on an advisory role for this innovative project on behalf of the BGHM . Particular highlights are the strong involvement of the individual employees and the outstanding idea to address several danger levels with the help of a risk assessment in a modular system," says Christoph Preuße, Prevention Manager of the BGHM. He handed the "Schlauer Fuchs" award as well as a certificate and a monetary prize over to the employees involved.
The SiP project specifically covers numerous detailed aspects starting with advanced, uniformly used standards and software tools for risk evaluation at all test bay locations. These enable employees to assess the severity of a test bench risk: is it an extremely dangerous or relatively harmless test bench. Even those test benches where the risk is less evident can be assessed precisely. In the past, the only way to detect the actual potential threat was to rely on the experience of employees. The concept also includes specific training programs for internal and external employees as well as regular audits and self-tests, so-called "self assessments". The project also supports ZF test bay operators in another aspect of safety: It provides fast and clear information as to which test benches or laboratory machines have to comply with which statutory regulations.
"On behalf of ZF, I would like to congratulate the SiP team on its performance. The objective of achieving a zero accident rate in development test bays, which are generally associated with risk, has now moved within reach," explains Dr. Robert Omagbemi, Head of Policies & Guidelines at ZF.
Although the SiP project is an extremely important development in this area, it is by far not the only measure which ZF has initiated to constantly optimize health and safety at work of its entire workforce of approximately 72 000 employees. As recently demonstrated by the ZF training center in Schweinfurt (Germany), the technology company effectively informs its employees about this subject at a very early stage: At the start of February 2015, ZF apprentices were honored for their creative, bilingual safety film entitled "They came, saw and learned" as part of the ideas competition organized by the Professional Association for Wood and Metal (BGHM).