Monthly Archives: October 2016

Living Safety Is the Focus tkEP SHIELD Program

shieldThe SHIELD Safety program has been in place for all of 2016 with training, games, quizzes and contests to keep all thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics employees involved and engaged at work and at home. SHIELD stands for Safety and Health Initiatives for Employees to Live Daily and with that in mind Safety should not be something we think about when an accident happens, but a conscience change to think about life choices and the task at hand BEFORE we do it.

I recently asked the Safety leaders in each branch to summarize what SHIELD has meant to employees, their families and how they are looking at safety differently.

  • The team in Grand Prairie Texas said “We look out for one another to catch any slip, trip or fall hazards at work and we push each other to maintain a healthy lifestyle by joining the tkactive program, walking at lunch or participating in 5K runs on the weekends. We are thankful for this program to remind us how important it is to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle and it motivates us to be better every day”.
  • The Yonkers New York group reported “The pre-shift safety meetings have allowed everyone to be involved in setting a positive tone for all the warehouse associates both at home and work. Everyone has a turn to choose a topic of the day and present it to the team. There was an occasion when our topic of the day directly impacted an occurrence at an employee’s home. The topic was fire extinguishers so the employee went home and discussed this with his family. The following day there was a fire alarm in his apartment building and his 8 year old son knew exactly what steps to take to ensure the safety of his family. This definitely highlights the fact that safety does not only apply to the workplace, safety is even more important at home”.
  • In Riverview Florida “Safety isn’t just wearing a hard hat or making sure your shoes are tied, we don’t only focus on being safe but making sure our surroundings are 100% safe. It doesn’t matter if we are in the office calling customers or in the warehouse building skids. SHIELD has taught us not only to be safe at work but also practice safety at home. ‘When you gamble with safety, you bet your life’”.
  • Auburn Hills Michigan responded “Our employees continue to search for anything that could injure someone and report and correct it as soon as possible. We have never had a recordable injury at this facility and we all want to go home daily with the same amount of blood, skin and bones we arrived with”.
  • Earth City Missouri says “SHIELD means having safety in the forefront at all times. At work we always stress safety and while training a new warehouse associate from another branch we told him to take his time and work within his limits and don’t let others try to influence him to go beyond, especially if unsafe. We recently updated our cut resistant gloves and signage for changing the saw blades. One employee states he recently got his motorcycle license after completing the safety course and he said the one thing stressed was All the Gear All the Time and being prepared for all riding conditions. This is good information for any situation at work or home.”
  • Columbus OH had input from everyone “SHIELD is a reminder at work that our Safety, whether it is wearing steel toe boots or sunscreen impacts everyone including our families. A safe and healthy personal life can work in conjunction with a safe and healthy professional life. This has impacted me by making smart decisions that will affect my future in a positive way. When you work for a company that stresses safety in the work environment it becomes an automatic thinking process when you are outside the work place. SHIELD is inspiration – inspiring us to find new and creative ways to stay healthy and stay safe. SHIELD is responsibility -learning from mistakes and embracing them. SHIELD has become part of our culture.”
  • Lancaster PA “has implemented the SHIELD process into the culture of our workplace. It has shaped how we see the warehouse that we work in enabling us to see potential safety risks and correct them before they become issues. For example when freight came into our facility damaged with no bands we immediately restacked it as we sorted the damaged material for the claim. When putting skids in the racks, if boards or planks are broken off or hanging we remove them at that time so they don’t become a problem in the future causing material to fall. At home whether cooking, enjoying nature or sports, cleaning or working in the garage this conscious thought process keeps family members safe and healthy. SHIELD is a transformative process that first changes ones conscious perspective and then changes one’s world, creating leaders in health and safety.”

As the Operations Manager I can give our employees tools and support but I can’t wave the magic want and change the culture. The real change to embrace Safety and Health as part of our culture is owned by the employees. SHIELD has become part of our daily lives at work and home based on the descriptive responses I received. If our employees are active and healthy and feel safe and confident at work the possibilities are endless!

Contest Winners! Team Yonkers got top honors and lunch for the entire team for their entry – “What SHIELD Means to Us and Our Families.” Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story of how the tkEP SHIELD program made a difference and showing us how we all win when we put safety first.


Photo-Gestewitz-T-DSC_0291Theresa Gestewitz

Operations Manager
thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics

About Theresa Gestewitz –
Ms. Gestewitz began her career with ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division 20 years ago. Her first role was Buyer for the Lancaster, PA facility. She has also held additional positions as Office Manager, Corporate Buyer, and Plant Manager. She assumed her Safety Leadership role in 2010.