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 to play, both in their personal safety and in 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.
The percentage by which we reduced our Total Recordable Case Rate (TRCR) in 2017
The percentage by which we reduced our Total Recordable Case Rate (TRCR) in 2017
The percentage by which we decreased our Days Away Case Rate (DACR) in 2017
The percentage by which we decreased our Days Away Case Rate (DACR) in 2017
The percentage of improvement in TRCR and DACR at our focus sites in 2016
The percentage of improvement in TRCR and DACR at our focus sites in 2016

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 behaviour 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 recognising and correcting at-risk behaviour 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/lock-out: We utilise established energy control/lock-out procedures when performing servicing and maintenance activities on equipment and processes.
  • Machine safeguarding and operation: We ensure that machine safeguards are functioning properly, and that employees are utilising equipment safeguards and are following all safety-related procedures.
  • Work permits and specialised safety procedures for high-risk activities: We utilise properly authorised work permits when required. We follow all special safety procedures during hot work, confined space entry, work on energised electrical devices, elevated work and other high-risk activities. Only trained and authorised 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 minimise 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 wherever an arc flash may occur.
  • 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 seat belts 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 also 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 compliance with all legal, site- and project-specific requirements—is a condition of working for our company.

View the 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 with these requirements—and with 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 due to lack of appropriate control on the part of any third party.

Download the guideline for sites not controlled by Eaton


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 organisation.

View our governance map (Flash)

How we measure success

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

To accelerate implementation of our Zero Incident Safety Culture we deploy our focus site programme. We strategically select the sites based on recent health and safety performance and the existing safety culture. The programme 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 programme, 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 programme, a disciplined process of data analysis to identify and understand key hazards and risks and to prioritise 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 behaviours.  This is supported by many types of EHS training for all employees as well as specialised training for leaders.

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

Our Safety Awards programme honours those sites with outstanding safety performance. These awards recognise sites that practice outstanding safety performance, including:

  • Identifying and controlling top site-specific hazards.
  • Using leading indicators with associated goals and evidence of deploying 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 programmes.
  • Safety communications that are fully integrated into plant activities, meetings and progress reviews.