Updated on August 29, 2018

Occupational Health and Safety Initiatives in North America


In North America, Sony has continued the wellness program that covers employees and, in most cases, their spouses/domestic partners who are eligible for the Sony Healthcare Program. The objective of this program is to help employees and their spouses/domestic partners live healthy, active lives. Within some companies, participants have access to health risk assessments, on-site biometric screening (during which employees are given their body mass index (BMI), glucose number, total cholesterol number (HDL and LDL) as well as triglycerides number), telephone counseling with a healthcare advisor, and other online or telephone-based programs and resources. Among these are programs on quitting smoking, weight loss, stress management, blood pressure, diabetes, nutrition and physical activity (including programs using exercise/activity trackers). Employees can receive incentives for participation in such health-promoting programs. The incentives include various drawings done by Redbrick Health for those employees who participate in the programs.

The Sony DADC Terre Haute facility continues to manage an onsite Fitness Center for employees to have access to exercise equipment. The SEL San Diego and SIE San Mateo locations also have on-site fitness centers that offer exercise equipment and various classes led by fitness trainers. Various gym discounts are also available to employees throughout the US. In addition, the San Mateo location offers personal training and onsite massage.

Other wellness activities are in place as well. Sony of Canada has a salad bar to encourage good eating and good health for Sony employees. Sony San Diego and SIE San Mateo have instituted a weekly farmers' market onsite that sells fruits, vegetables and other local produce. The San Diego site cafeteria also has nutritional choices available and makes nutritional information and calorie information available to employees. Sony Nuevo Laredo in Mexico has a 5-minute employee exercise program that is done twice daily and includes several different types of exercises. The program is conducted by trained leaders, using a video that was made with the assistance of a government safety and health organization.

With regard to influenza vaccinations, employees may receive vaccinations at either site-based clinics or a national pharmacy chain using a vaccination voucher. These are provided over a six-month period, beginning in October.

At manufacturing sites, based on job requirements, employees receive regular medical exams and, where appropriate, industrial hygiene surveys are conducted. SIE San Mateo has a mobile dentist that provides services to employees three days a week.

Risk Control Audits and Recommendations

Corporate Environmental, Safety & Health (ESH) and Fire & Life Safety audits are conducted on an ongoing basis at nearly all Sony sites in North America. Site-based internal inspections are also conducted, as are audits by insurance companies and agents. The objective of the internal inspections is to assess facility areas overall from an ESH and housekeeping standpoint. This ensures that potential risks are identified and any other items needing attention are addressed in a timely fashion. The internal inspections are generally conducted by trained employees serving on on-site safety committees or work teams. The frequency of internal audits varies among sites, from monthly to semi-annually. The audits performed by the outside insurance companies or agents are generally classified into one of the following three categories:

  1. Identifying and addressing fire safety risks within a location;
  2. Thermographic analysis of a site's electrical systems; and
  3. Ergonomic assessment of workstations in both production and office areas.

For each category, recommendations for improving the current status of the site are provided, as needed.

In addition, in compliance with Sony corporate guidelines, job risk assessments are reviewed to ensure that they are all up-to-date and still reflect the job being performed. Both routine and non-routine jobs are included in this review.

Site-Based Safety Teams

Sony DADC Terre Haute has implemented a plant safety team. The team is led by a Quality Specialist, and team members are operators from each manufacturing area. Implementation of this team began with training in Kaizen and safety as well as auditing requirements. The team meets monthly and performs Kaizen and safety audits within an area of the facility. The following month the team follows up on findings from the previous month and audits a new area. The team is also responsible for safety posters at employee exits as well as new topics for safety toolbox talks.

Sony DADC has also implemented a Kaizen/Security/Safety audit of the perimeter of the campus. Members from Facilities, Engineering, Security, and Quality participate in the audit. This audit will occur twice a year at a minimum.

Chemical Safety Information

Each Sony site in the U.S. has a revised written Hazard Communication Program for chemicals in place, including information on safety data sheets (SDS), labelling and training. The revisions are based on the changes to the U.S. Hazard Communication OSHA Standard, which brought it closely in line with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Employees in the U.S. with exposure to potentially hazardous materials received additional training. New chemical labels and SDS required by the revisions are in place in the workplace. Chemical purchases are reviewed by ESH group as part of the approval process. Operations in Canada have been undergoing similar changes to comply with the new national Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS 2015) standard. This transition will be complete later this year. Operations in Mexico are also on track toward compliance with that country’s GHS-related regulation. In addition, all applicable sites are following procedures for controlling and eliminating specified chemical substances from the product supply chain, as defined by Sony's environmental rules.

Emergency Preparedness and BCPs

Each Sony location has an emergency preparedness plan in place, tailored to meet the potential emergencies that may occur at that site. This includes the site response to fire, medical emergencies, earthquakes and utility failures. The plans are complemented by a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for each business unit or location which goes into action during or after the immediate response to an event is winding down. The BCP is designed to identify key functions of the business, the key support factors for each function and a timeline to restore those functions and services as quickly as possible.

AED Program

Many Sony sites in North America have installed automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that can be used in the event of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Sony Electronics Inc. has placed AEDs in each facility with 100 or more employees. Sony Corporation of America implemented a program to place at least one AED Unit at every site that comes under the SCA umbrella. Employees at each site with an AED are trained and certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), in addition to their training in the operation of the AED. Monthly inspections of AEDs are conducted to ensure that they will be ready for use in case of emergencies.

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