Health & Safety

We continuously strive to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all Whirlpool Corporation employees across all our global operations. With this goal in mind, we are integrating the WCM methodology into safety practices. Sites are audited semiannually to track progress and achievement against a set of manufacturing standards of which safety is the first pillar. The WCM Safety Pillar sets minimum expectations for investigation of all recordable and first-aid incidents, including standardized forms for incident investigation and a standard set of analytical tools to be used during incident investigations.

key metrics

  2016 2017 2018 2019
Recordable Case Rate 0.89 0.71 0.72 0.73
Lost-time Incident Rate 0.26 0.18 0.21 0.23
Fatalities—Contractors 2 0 0 0
Fatalities—Employees 0 0 2 1

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration accidents reported x 200,000 hours/total hours worked

In 2019
69% of our sites
were OHSAS 18001 certified,
up 2% from 2018

Whirlpool Corporation’s Global Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Policy reinforces our commitment to protect our employees by preventing work-related injuries and illnesses, fostering active participation at all levels in our EHS processes, and adopting behaviors that improve our performance and culture.

View policy.


New EHS Management System

In 2018, Whirlpool Corporation implemented Gensuite, a global enterprise health and safety information management system. Among the many functions of Gensuite is its “Concern Reporting” module, which allows employees to electronically (from a computer or mobile device) report an unsafe act, unsafe condition, or near miss, which is observed in or related to a Whirlpool Corporation operation. Employees can also report “Safe Acts” observed in order to facilitate positive reinforcement for safe acts modeled by employees. Concern reports can be run to identify concerns by facility, department, shift and time, or by type of concern. This data increases the sites’ ability to manage safety risks and allows regional leads to identify areas of concern where specific policies or training and education are needed. Due to more robust processes and encouraging more reporting, we expected our metrics in these areas to improve, which drives future changes and safety enhancements.

enhancing our risk analysis process

In 2019, we enhanced our global risk analysis process, which establishes minimum expectations for conducting risk assessments to identify and document task-based hazards that could cause or contribute to occupational illnesses and to facilitate creation of appropriate controls. Any hazard identified as “very high” or “high” requires immediate countermeasures and action to mitigate the hazard. The task is then reevaluated with controls in place to confirm that the risk has been mitigated.

Our global risk analysis procedure emphasizes the hierarchy of controls and implementation, where possible, of engineering controls to eliminate hazards. Countermeasures identified during incident investigations are tracked using the Gensuite Action Tracking System (ATS) module, which escalates notifications to senior managers when countermeasures are not completed on time. Efforts are also made to train a specialized team in each operation to conduct risk assessments, driving consistency in execution of these assessments, with risk assessments reviewed periodically and following any injury or illness to ensure hazards have been identified and controls are in place.

Safety at Whirlpool Corporation

total hours worked in 2019
serious incidents per 100 employees
osha recordable injuries per 100 employees

Safety and illnesses

Generally, hazards identified in our operations which have caused or contributed to occupational illnesses include repetitive motion injuries and occupational noise, leading to occupational hearing loss. Whirlpool Corporation has implemented hearing conservation programs in all operations which have high noise levels, with all employees working in high noise areas required to wear hearing protection, undergo annual audiometric testing and receive annual training regarding hearing loss. All Whirlpool Corporation operations have programs to identify and minimize repetitive motion, either through engineering controls or through administrative controls such as job rotation. In 2019, we experienced 19 recordable illness cases globally.

We regrettably had one work-related fatality and 11 serious incidents in 2019. For us, even one fatality is too many and we are tirelessly working toward our goal of zero fatalities and zero serious incidents in all manufacturing sites, focusing on the safety of our employees. In 2019, we experienced 506 OSHA recordable injury cases, with the most common types of injuries including sprains and strains to upper extremities and back, and lacerations to the hands and arms, in our manufacturing operations.

Optimizing Innovation and Human Potential

We do what it takes to strike the right balance between optimizing the latest technology and best utilizing our people. One way we strike this balance is by investing in technology to improve the working conditions of our employees. Rather than replacing employees with technological solutions, Whirlpool Corporation has turned to collaborative robotics (co-bots) to increase the efficiency and safety of our workforce. The co-bots assist employees in risky or repetitive tasks such as installing glass for oven doors. With co-bot support, the chances of injury are drastically reduced and product quality is increased. We are also using co-bots for conducting inspections to make work easier and quicker. Many times, our employees suggest tech solutions that would free time up for other tasks or increase safety. We believe that technology improves the work life of our employees, positively impacting safety, reducing stress, and improving processes. We also believe this digital transformation creates tremendous opportunities across the value chain with productivity gains.


Whirlpool Corporation employees experienced 11 serious incidents related to interaction with machinery, slips, and falls, and while handling materials (forklifts and cranes) in 2019. We consider serious incidents those that result in hospitalization and for every serious incident that occurs, a root cause analysis is conducted, and corrective actions are identified and tracked through the Gensuite ATS module. Actions taken to reduce serious incidents included:

  • Improvements in machine guarding;
  • Revisions in risk assessment and standard operating procedures; and
  • Improvements in our training process.

Driven by our commitment to reduce serious incidents involving interaction with machinery, a focused team has been assembled to drive improvement in machinery safety and employee interaction with machines.

Additionally, all regions understand and discuss the “Stop Work” attitude with workers: if a task cannot be executed safely, the task should immediately cease until a safe solution is identified. Further, through the Gensuite “Concern Reporting” module, employees are encouraged to report unsafe acts, unsafe conditions, and near misses so that they can be resolved quickly at the site.