Cultivating a Culture of Safety at AIN Plastics

Safety has always been important within AIN Plastics. As the leader for AIN Plastics safety initiatives I can name any number of clichés and catch phrases, but simply stated, our goal is that – “Every employee should go home in the same condition they arrived.”  Additionally, I hope when AIN employees go home at the end of their day they can say they learned something new as well, whether it is understanding a new product application, how to operate a machine safely and efficiently, or how to administer CPR to a co-worker in distress. Keeping all employees involved and engaged in safety can sometimes be challenging but it is also a highly rewarding experience. Safety not only protects employees, but employees who are happy and feel safe at their jobs are more productive.

Creating a Culture of Safety for AIN Plastics Employees and Guests

AIN has had a site self-auditing process in place, and this year the Executive Management Team at AIN will be added as a new level to our safety auditing process. This will keep Management involved in Safety, and also provides the individual facility being audited another perspective on safety. Having management’s support and involvement in growing a “Zero Injury Culture” at AIN Plastics is important to our employees and sets an example that is visible to customers, suppliers, and guests.

DSC_0003Updated Visitor Safety Protocol

We initiated a visitor safety orientation that must be reviewed by all visitors of an AIN Plastics facility. Our goal is to emphasize the importance of safety not only to our employees, but to all of our visitors and guests. We have added color coded areas of the plant so employees and visitors know if special training or PPE (Personal Protection  Equipment) is required to be in that area, and to help ensure that visitors stay within areas that are safest. Guests to AIN Plastics facilities can easily be seen because they wear a different color than regular employees helping everyone to know at a glance when we have visitors and to help us keep our visitors as safe as possible at all times.

In January I visited three ThyssenKrupp sites in California as part of ThyssenKrupp’s “Safety Advisory Council Meetings.” We audited the sites, reviewed opportunities for improvement and shared best practices as part of our quarterly meetings. In May we will tour six facilities in the Detroit/Toledo area with special guests from ThyssenKrupp AG (Germany): Dr. Neilinger (Head of Occupational Safety and Health) and Dr. Daume (Head of 6S) will be benchmarking and evaluating how we can share best safety practices. It is always exciting to have visitors from Germany to show off our North American sites and discuss the safety of our employees. I look forward to the meetings and the opportunity for dedicated Safety Time with our teams, and seeing what new things I can learn!


Photo---Theresa-GestewitzTheresa Gestewitz

Operations Director
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division

About Theresa Gestewitz –
Ms. Gestewitz began her career with ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division 20 years ago. Her first role was Buyer at AIN Plastics 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.

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