One of three state-of-the-art manufacturing plants on the Acuña, Mexico, campus of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Bendix) was recently certified as a Safe and Healthy Work Environment by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
The certification for Plant 3 recognizes the facility’s support for the health, safety and well-being of its employees. The Acuña campus, which also includes a logistics center, is celebrating another safety-related accomplishment as well: In July, the operation reached the milestone of 365 days without a recordable injury. Since then, the campus has continued to remain injury-free.
Among the preventive and corrective safety activities incorporated at Acuña are weekly safety audits and the emergency work order (EWO) program. All employees can institute an EWO, the highest-priority work order, to identify any unsafe condition, according to Bendix. EWOs are in keeping with Bendix’s emphasis on encouraging employees to report unsafe conditions and behaviors – and safe behaviors, as well. Employees are also urged to submit ideas (Quick Kaizens) for safety improvements.
“We’re proud of both accomplishments and how they reflect the wellness and safety culture we’ve built in Acuña,” said Jacqueline Perez, Bendix managing director, Mexico operations. “That culture starts with Bendix’s leadership, which truly values employees and invests in them, and carries on through our team members, who strive to bring their best self to the job each day.”
IMSS launched the Safe and Healthy Work Environments Program (ELSSA) in May 2022. Mexican companies voluntarily sign on to the countrywide program, which is designed to protect the health of employees by helping to prevent occupational injuries, as well as diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. ELSSA evaluates participating employers throughout the program and institutes a rigorous certification process.
The ELSSA platform identifies lines of action as part of its strategy and makes support material available to employers. Action lines include implementing machine guarding to help ensure the safety of machine operators and other employees; addressing ergonomic factors, such as noise and light levels; preventing work-related illnesses; and reducing psychosocial risks, such as stress.
“This is a program where companies voluntarily implement health strategies and actions to help improve employees’ safety and wellness,” said Saidi Zorrilla, lead, Safety and Health, at Bendix Acuña. “The objective is to transform the working environment by offering training activities and employing preventive strategies.”
Plant 3 joined the ELSSA program in June 2022 and worked toward certification, which requires a compliance score above 90%. Certification, which the facility achieved in September 2023, is valid for one year, at which time another audit will take place to verify that the facility continues to implement the program.
“As part of ELSSA, we have created a quarterly wellness campaign,” Zorilla said. “We focus on a different health topic each quarter, from diabetes and hypertension to cancer. Doctors and nurses, with all the necessary resources, are on-site at Acuña’s facilities for a day-long effort covering both shifts so that services are available for all team members.”