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Health & safety

Protecting employee health and safety is our primary concern

At Eaton, our goal is ensure the safety, health and wellness of our employees. Our commitment to the safety and health of our employees reflects our belief that all injuries can be prevented. Throughout our operations, we reinforce specific principles to strengthen our Zero Incident Safety Culture.

Our safety principles and safety expectations demonstrate commitment to employees and contractors

All employees, including contractors working in our facilities, share personal responsibility to create and maintain a safe work environment. Everyone has a significant role in both personal safety and that of their co-workers. The Eaton Safety Policy is part of doing business right. It guides us in our progress toward eliminating injuries and illnesses in our workplace.

Eaton’s safety principles call on every person to be responsible for safety

Eaton’s safety principles underline the importance of protecting our employees’ well-being:

  • Safety is fundamental to everything we do.
  • We are committed to removing conditions that cause personal injury or occupational illness.
  • All injuries and occupational illnesses are preventable, and a workplace with zero incidents is achievable.
  • We make decisions and promote behaviors that protect us and others from risk of injury.
  • We use formal problem solving to reduce risk and continuously improve our safety performance.

Our Safety Principles require each individual to be responsible and accountable for recognizing and correcting at-risk behavior or unsafe conditions. This includes abiding by the following core Safety Expectations. We consider these expectations to be absolutes, because a violation could result in serious injury or even death.

Safety expectations require employees to follow established safety procedures

  • Hazardous energy control/lockout: We utilize established energy control/lockout procedures when performing servicing and maintenance activities on equipment and processes.
  • Machine safeguarding and operation: We ensure machine safeguards are functioning properly, employees are utilizing equipment safeguards and following all safety-related procedures.
  • Work permits and specialized safety procedures for high-risk activities: We utilize properly authorized work permits when required. We follow all special safety procedures during hot work, confined space entry, work on energized electrical devices, elevated work and other high risk activities. Only trained and authorized personnel perform such activities.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): We abide by all PPE requirements as specified for our job and in our work area.
  • Safe driving: We minimize distractions when driving on company business, including only using hands-free communication systems. We wear seat belts while driving and require all occupants to do the same. We do not operate motor vehicles while impaired by any substance.
  • Incident and event reporting: We report unsafe conditions and all injuries and illnesses – no matter how minor. This ensures proper medical evaluation and deployment of improved processes to prevent similar incidents or conditions occurring in the future.

Zero tolerance life saving rules — working safely is a condition of employment

The following rules must be followed at all times. Violation will result in termination.

  • Safety devices and guards: Devices installed to assure safe machine operation shall not be removed, tampered with or bypassed.
  • Lock-out/tag-out: Lock-out/tag-out procedures must be followed.
  • Electrical work/arc flash: Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be used when electrical work is being done or there is arc flash potential.
  • Fall protection: Fall-arrest systems must be used when working at unprotected heights of 6 feet (1.82 meters) or greater.
  • Permit-required confined spaces: No person shall enter a permit-required confined space without an approved permit.
  • Seat belts/restraints: All operators and passengers of powered industrial trucks and equipment must use available seatbelts and restraints.

Working safely is a condition of employment at our company. We will not permit retaliation against an employee who in good faith reports a safety violation. Employees who violate core Safety Expectations or other safety requirements may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Violation of the Zero Tolerance Life Saving Rules will result in termination.

Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) handbook

Our goal is to provide a secure and safe work environment for all of our employees, contractors, and visitors. The EHS Handbook applies to all third parties performing activities at our locations. This includes suppliers, contingent workers, contractors, vendors, visitors, and all other non-Eaton employees. The handbook provides a brief summary of the EHS practices required for working at our company. Handbook compliance — and of all legal, site and project-specific requirements — is a condition of working for our company.


View handbook for Eaton-controlled sites


Our employees and contractors may perform work on premises not controlled by Eaton, such as service activities at customer locations. In such cases the provision of a secure and safe work environment might depend on the actions (or failure to take action) of others. The EHS guideline provides a summary of requirements to be considered by those parties with overall EHS responsibility on such sites, as compliance of such — and of all legal, site- and project-specific requirements — is a condition of working on non-Eaton controlled sites. Eaton personnel or contractors are entitled to stop activities and withdraw themselves from the place of work whenever any requirement outlined in the EHS guideline is not met, or whenever they would consider themselves or Eaton property to be exposed to unacceptable health and safety risks being generated by third parties due to lack of appropriate control.


Download guideline for sites not controlled by Eaton

EHS policy

Eaton is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of our operations and products wherever we do business, and to continuously improve in our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) performance. It is the responsibility of every employee to meet this EHS policy.

To that end, Eaton applies a standard group of practices worldwide for ethics, energy and water consumption, waste generation, product quality, employee safety and more. We specifically direct our EHS efforts in the following areas:

  • EHS management system: Eaton is guided by MESH (Management of Environment, Safety, Security and Health), a globally deployed, unified system which consolidates existing programs into one integrated management system. All Eaton facilities worldwide work toward consistent goals, applying the same metrics, setting targets for improvement and identifying and sharing best practices. Most importantly, MESH elevates EHS from a series of isolated activities to a responsibility shared by all Eaton employees. MESH is also designed to conform with international standards such as ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001/ISO 45001.
  • Environmental sustainability: We commit to minimize our emissions to air, water and land resulting from our operations. Eaton's Senior Leadership Council drives our sustainability strategy, optimizes our resources and ensures that we are focusing on the environmental risks and opportunities that are most important to our customers, investors, communities and employees. We establish goals for reducing our environmental impact and measure, review and report our progress to the public.

    Eaton supports collective actions that will lead to the worldwide reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to address the risks of climate change. Using guidelines established by the Global Reporting Initiative, we set annual targets for reduction of our worldwide energy consumption and carbon emissions. Progress is audited by a third party and reported to the public.
  • Health, safety and security: Working safely is a condition of employment at Eaton. Our goal is to provide a secure and safe work environment for all of our employees, contractors and visitors. Eaton commits to meet or exceed regulatory and company requirements consistent with Eaton’s policies on Ethics and Compliance. We work to create a “zero incident safety culture” and to continuously improve our health and safety performance through the implementation of MESH. Safety rules apply to all third parties performing activities at Eaton locations including suppliers, contingent workers, contractors, vendors, visitors and all other non-Eaton employees.
  • Business integration: We integrate EHS into all phases of the Eaton Business System (EBS), which provides Eaton’s foundation for a high-performance culture through an integrated operating system. EBS encompasses the core values, policies and processes used to conduct business and continually measure, assess and improve performance. EHS excellence is integral to all of our business strategies and we consider stakeholder expectations in our decision-making process.
  • Compliance: We commit to meet or exceed regulatory and company requirements consistent with Eaton’s Policies on Ethics and Compliance. We work to create a “zero incident mindset” and to continuously improve our performance through the implementation of MESH.
  • Sustainable products: Our businesses are committed to creating innovative products and processes that help customers, suppliers and consumers improve their energy efficiency, reduce emissions and protect health and safety. We commit to continuous improvement through various programs, including Design for Environment (DfE) and Lifecycle Assessment (LCA), scientific processes that both identify a product’s environmental aspects and potential impacts throughout its life cycle.
  • Stakeholders: Eaton is committed to stakeholder engagement as a key part of our sustainability efforts. Having regular and open dialogue with our employees, investors, customers, suppliers, governments, local communities and others allows us to gain a common understanding of issues that are important and work together to achieve our highest level of environmental and safety performance.
  • Supply chain: Eaton recognizes the significance of the supply chain in our own sustainability performance, and strategically engages with suppliers on important issues such as managing emissions, improving safety, and increasing efficiency. Our governance processes further ensure our suppliers are held to our same values regarding ethical behavior, compliance, environmental responsibility and footprint reduction.
  • Transparency: Increasing the transparency of our EHS performance makes Eaton a stronger, more sustainable company. We are committed to measure, review and report our performance to the public in our company Annual Report/Sustainability Report, on our Eaton.com web site, and by working with organizations that collect and disseminate EHS and other sustainability data to the public.
  • Community: We are committed to making power management products and solutions in safe workplaces that are environmentally responsible. We participate in — and contribute to — local and government initiatives around the world that improve the quality of life in communities where we live and work.
  • Employees: We commit to raise awareness, encourage involvement and provide appropriate training and education for all employees regarding EHS issues, programs and performance.
  • Emergency preparedness/contingency planning: Eaton’s MESH program provides processes to identify key EHS risks and impacts, develop operational controls, and prepare emergency response and contingency plans. Eaton facilities provide planning, equipment and training for on-site incidents and our employees work with local community safety units to prepare for combined response.

The Eaton Senior Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety is responsible for implementing the EHS policy. The Eaton Board of Directors Governance Committee has oversight regarding significant public policy with respect to our relationships with shareholders, employees, customers, competitors, suppliers and the communities in which we operate. These issues include EHS concerns as outlined in the Eaton EHS policy.


Eaton is proud to have strong internal processes and controls for managing our sustainability performance. Many of these controls connect individuals and teams across our company and include management at each level of the organization.

How we measure success

Eaton’s risk assessments and audits of our health and safety procedures provide tangible results.

To accelerate our execution of a Zero Incident Safety Program we deploy our focus site program. We strategically select the sites based on recent health and safety performance and existing safety culture. The program seeks to improve the health and safety of our employees while rigorously nurturing a Zero Incident Safety Culture. We do this by focusing on and implementing the fundamentals of a successful safety program, which includes:

  • Management and leadership involvement.
  • Employee engagement.
  • Hazard identification, prevention and control.
  • Training and communication to increase awareness and understanding.
  • Progress monitoring and accountability.

In 2012, we launched our Focus Site program, a disciplined process of data analysis to identify and understand key hazards and risks and to prioritize improvement plans to eliminate safety incidents at Eaton facilities. Since then, we have seen improvement in focus sites. The 2016 Focus Sites improved their collective TRCR and DACR by 16%, contributing significantly to the overall improvement of the company.

To ensure continuing safety performance, we regularly refresh communications on key safety values and behaviors.  This is supported by many types of EHS training for all employees as well as specialized training for leaders.

  • Safety education in the onboarding process for all new employees.
  • A host of training opportunities that reinforce EHS principles.
  • EHS training for plant managers.
  • Specialized “operating safely” training for supervisors.

Our Safety Awards program honors those sites with outstanding safety performance. These awards recognize sites that practice outstanding safety performance, including:

  • Identifying and controlling top site-specific hazards.
  • Using leading indicators with associated goals and evidence of using this information to better manage safety.
  • Implementing robust and mature systems for reporting concerns.
  • Actively deploying lessons learned with defined actions and follow up.
  • Mature and effective employee engagement.
  • Effective reward and recognition program.
  • Safety communications fully integrated into plant activities, meetings and progress reviews.