At Lincoln Electric, we are committed to operational excellence and the continuous improvement of the health and safety of our employees, customers and neighbors, as well as preserving the integrity of our environment. This commitment is supported by senior management, a global EH&S system, and is considered the individual and collective responsibility of all Lincoln Electric employees.
We ensure compliance and the continuous improvement of the environmental performance of our products and operations through our global EH&S system. Our system is guided by the Corporate EH&S Policy and global directives that establish consistent guidelines for the management, measurement and reporting of environmental, health and safety activities across Lincoln Electric’s global platform.
Safety is a priority at Lincoln Electric and the organization focuses its efforts on a rigorous program that emphasizes safety, health and wellness through stringent safety standards, Company-led programs and employee engagement in behavior-based safety and wellness committees. Safety extends beyond our facilities with our active engagement in safety and health standard development committees at key industry organizations such as the American Welding Society and various International Standards Organization (ISO) committees to ensure best practices for our employees and end users.
Lincoln Electric utilizes the ISO 14001 framework as an environmental management system to identify, implement and measure improvements in resource efficiency, waste reduction and resulting cost savings. In 2017, 74% of Lincoln Electric’s applicable facilities were ISO 14001 certified and we anticipate achieving 100% certification by 2020. In addition, certain facilities are in the early stages of adopting the ISO 50001 standard as an energy management system to reduce energy use and costs, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Lincoln Electric Canada was first in our industry to be certified to this standard in 2013.
Local EH&S initiatives address each facility’s continuous improvement opportunities and support consolidated EH&S goals. A corporate EH&S organization provides oversight and global coordination of best practices, ISO implementation support, and assessment of facility compliance with regional regulatory standards, EH&S Global Directives and Corporate policies. This team reports to the General Counsel and provides quarterly reporting to the executive management team. Results are further audited and reported to the Board of Directors as part of Lincoln’s enterprise risk management review of operational risk to ensure the highest level of focus by the organization.
Recognizing achievements and rewarding best practices reinforces our culture of continuous improvement. Awards are given for a variety of EH&S’ related achievements, including sustainability, safety, and attaining one million hours without a safety incident (DART case). In addition, the “Chairman’s Award for EH&S Excellence” distinguishes facilities who exemplify best-in-class EH&S performance using criteria that includes ISO 14001 certification, a safety DART rate below the Company average, and that fosters a culture of EH&S continuous improvement as a core operating value.
We place our highest priority on protecting individuals from injury and our foremost responsibility begins with the health and safety of our employees worldwide. We follow a rigorous health and safety program that adheres to best practices to ensure our manufacturing operations, related processes, and products do not negatively impact the health and welfare of our employees, customers and neighbors.
(Days Away, Restrictions & Transfers (DART) incidents per 100 equivalent workers)
The DART rate (Days Away, Restrictions & Transfers incidents per 100 equivalent workers) is used as the primary safety metric at Lincoln Electric as it is recognized by OSHA in the U.S. and by regional and international regulatory agencies. DART data reflects performance across all Lincoln Electric manufacturing facilities worldwide, including acquisitions after their first year with the organization.
While we maintain safety programs across all facilities, the majority of our global manufacturing and hourly workforce are also represented by an employee-led, peer-to-peer behavior-based safety (BBS) organization that educates and enforces safe work habits and behaviors to prevent injury and reduce workplace risk. BBS was initiated in 2000 with the “WELD Committee” at our Cleveland, Ohio campus, and local BBS organizations have expanded across our global footprint and engage workers at all levels to generate awareness, education and training on workplace EH&S issues. In China, the adoption of a peer-to-peer BBS program reduced lost work day incidents by 400% over a 3 year period and led to additional safety improvements—exemplifying the positive impact of a BBS program.
Lincoln Electric prioritizes customer and end user safety through a commitment to product safety standards and investment in systems to ensure proactive, comprehensive communication of global product hazards and compliance with global harmonization standards for the classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS). These investments are made in anticipation of regulatory changes and are often implemented ahead of mandated adoption dates to support our customers’ compliance requirements, which depend on the quality of GHS information provided by their supply chain to ensure health and safety in their workplace.
We leverage our technical EH&S expertise to advise customers on the continuous improvement of operational processes and procedures to address product safety concerns and compliance issues. We are an industry leader in providing fume analysis and welding application expertise to assist in improving customers’ fabrication processes to protect the health and well-being of their employees. Additionally, we field EH&S regulatory inquiries, provide educational seminars and webinars on regulatory changes that may affect customers, and utilize in-house technical research and laboratory testing for detailed, customized projects.
(Absolute metric tons CO2e)
GHG data reflects the use of energy including electricity, natural gas, coal, fuel oil and LPG and represents data from all Lincoln Electric manufacturing facilities worldwide, including acquisitions after their first year with the organization. The data reflects 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventory and includes Scope 1 and 2 Emissions for Manufacturing Industries and Construction and standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Scope 1 emissions are produced from the burning of fossil fuels on Lincoln Electric property (e.g., heating buildings by burning oil or natural gas, organic gases) or from different operations directly related to the process; Scope 2 emissions are associated with the electricity that Lincoln Electric facilities purchase from other third parties.
In an effort to reduce energy consumption, Lincoln Electric Mexicana installed 10 hybrid air conditioning systems throughout their facility in late-2015 to reduce energy intensity and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
To minimize natural gas use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our Mexico City facility designed a lower temperature drying oven process for the manufacture of electrodes (filler metals). The new process reduces energy consumption by 26% and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
To increase energy from renewable sources and reduce energy consumption overall, Lincoln Electric India installed a 100 kilowatt rooftop solar array and replaced metal halide lighting systems with all LED lighting in the shop floor and outdoor areas.
The engineers in Lincoln Electric Manufactura (Torreon, Mexico) partnered with the local university on a six-sigma project to reduce gas consumption in the “powder painting” and “transformer varnishing” processes. Upon completion of a detailed study, several efficiency improvements were initiated. These included reducing oven temperatures and cycle times, redesigning product hangers to increase piece count per cycle, and upgrading oven components to allow for better piece monitoring during the baking process. Updated work instructions communicated the changes to personnel. The project resulted in a significant reduction of natural gas usage.
A thermal image of the calcination kiln at Lincoln Electric France found the exterior surface temperature to be 400 degrees Celsius A project was undertaken to improve the insulation of the kiln The result was a 300 degree reduction in surface temperature resulting in a reduction in energy and greenhouse gas consumption.
An auxiliary building at the ISAF facility in Storo, Italy is heated to prevent snow from accumulating on the canvas roof. The building had been heated using a diesel oil boiler, which can be costly and produce excessive emissions. The facility eliminated the boiler by capturing heat emissions from a nearby compressor, and blowing the heat into the building. This process eliminated the need for the boiler and reduced diesel energy usage by 1000 liters, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions of 2,650 kilograms.
(Gigajoules per hour worked)
Energy data reflects electricity, natural gas, coal, fuel oil and LPG consumed across all Lincoln Electric manufacturing facilities, including acquisitions after their first year with the organization. Energy intensity is measured as gigajoules used per hour worked.
To address rising electrical energy costs and reduce the energy intensity and greenhouse gases associated with our Mason, Ohio Harris Products Group facility, the team installed:
Roof exhaust systems are regularly used to provide fresh air exchanges in factories and to cool employees during hot summer months—especially in facilities located in areas with variable climates where summers can be hot. In China, a Lincoln Electric facility achieved equivalent exhaust and cooling benefits by replacing electrically-powered exhaust fans with a natural draft system designed to reduce energy use.
To reduce energy consumption, our Mexico City facility initiated a project to replace low (85%) efficiency motors with premium (92.4%) efficiency motors. The motor changeover resulted in an energy savings of over 70,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
Compressed air is one of the largest consumers of energy at Lincoln Electric and is being targeted across our platform. Lincoln Electric subsidiaries, Tennessee Rand and Lincoln Electric Bester (Poland), have begun to use ultrasonic leak detectors to identify maintenance repairs necessary in their pneumatic lines. Facilities such as The Harris Products Group's Gainesville, Georgia operation have begun replacing inefficient piston-type air compressors with quieter and highly efficient screw-type air compressors. These moves have resulted in notable reductions in energy use.
The Harris Products Group facility in Poland employs an industrial heat recovery system for their paint baking operations. The air-to-air exchanger system captures heat from exhaust air and recirculates the heat back into the process. This reduces the amount of heating necessary for cold intake air, and in turn, provides measurable energy savings.
Air compressors at the Harris Products Group Dzierzoniow, Poland facility were maintained at shop pressure at all times, which resulted in excessive energy use, as air compressors are major consumers of energy. The facility installed a programmable controller on two compressors, which set operating pressure to a schedule. In the year after installation, the facility reduced energy usage by 7.2%, or 627 megawatt-hours, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 232,000 kilograms.
Certain consumable manufacturing processes require a plating bath solution, which has a limited useful life and is a challenge to recycle or re-use due to local regulations. As a result, used plating bath solutions are treated to create a waste byproduct which is ultimately sent to landfill. To reduce this waste and extend the life of the plating solution, Lincoln Electric engineers in France initiated a new decanting and filtration process which now extends the life of the solution, has reduced waste generation from the process, has lowered processing costs by 75%, and has eliminated 50% of the material sent to landfill.
Our Venezuela engineering team worked to identify ways to recover chemical mixes used in the consumable manufacturing process to reduce our disposal rates to landfills. Following a three-year development process, the team successfully redesigned product formulations, handling techniques and storage procedures to significantly improve our manufacturing and waste metrics. In 2015, waste generation rates were reduced by 80% and the modifications improved product quality and also reduced raw material requirements.
Engineers from our Lincoln Electric Poland facility recognized a large opportunity for waste reduction and recycling when handling rejected stick electrodes. They designed a deskinning machine that removes flux coating from rods, allowing both the de-skinned rods and flux coating to be fully recovered and reused in the process. The previous recovery system employed a chemical wash system and was not applicable for certain types of electrodes. The new deskinning process produces zero waste and is applicable for all stick electrodes.
In an effort to conserve water and reduce dependency on municipal water sources, Lincoln Electric Mexicana installed a 300,000 liter water retention cistern. The tank is filled with stormwater collected from the facility’s roof and parking lot, which is filtered through a vortex separator. The water collected into the tank is used to feed the facility’s new fire protection system and other plant services, such as cooling towers and gas scrubbers.
In the molding area of Lincoln Electric Maquinas (Torreon, Mexico), three different spray-on products are regularly used. These three products have been applied using aerosol spray cans, resulting in 480 aerosol cans disposed of each year. A study was initiated to identify a method of applying the products with less waste generation. The facility implemented a method, which applied bulk chemicals using spray guns powered by compressed air. The use of readily available compressed air eliminated the use of flammable aerosol propellants. As a result, a hazardous waste stream was eliminated, and the facility’s waste & greenhouse gas footprint was reduced.
In 2011, Lincoln Electric installed the largest known urban wind tower in North America capable of producing 2.5 megawatts of electrical energy, or approximately 10% of the Cleveland campus’ requirements. The project represents the Company’s commitment to integrating renewable energy sources into its manufacturing processes. Even more importantly, it stands as a symbol of Lincoln Electric’s commitment to the wind tower fabrication industry—showcasing the unique benefits our products and welding solutions offer to this prominent business segment.WATCH FULL VIDEO >
Lincoln Electric is an industry leader in welding and cutting solutions with a proud heritage of engineering innovative solutions that guarantee continuous improvement in customers’ operations. Continuous improvement is also a core value at Lincoln Electric. It focuses us on our own operational excellence, sets a clear tone for employees and partners, and encourages us to achieve a positive impact each day. It is also a cornerstone of our “2020 Vision & Strategy,” targeting best-in-class financial performance through profitable growth and operational excellence.
As part of our “2020 Vision & Strategy” we have established 2020 Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) goals across four key environmental metrics which align local operational initiatives with our Company’s values, a commitment to environmental stewardship and our global growth strategy. These goals highlight how we prioritize safety, the efficient use of resources, and reduce our local footprint through waste management utilizing our environmental management system. Through investments in process innovation, standardization, training, new technologies, and lean and Six Sigma initiatives, we expect to achieve our EH&S goals by 2020. We believe these investments enable Lincoln Electric to be a more responsible partner in our value chain, across our communities, and as a trusted, well-respected employer who encourages and rewards employee engagement and achievement in these areas.
We recognize that continuous improvement is a journey with challenges and constraints, but is achieved with commitment, solid execution, and disciplined management of resources. To achieve our 2020 EH&S goals, we will continue to make the necessary capital and process improvements to drive operational excellence in this area. These efforts, combined with product development that reduces the carbon footprint of our next-generation solutions through reduced energy consumption, intensity and weight also support our customers’ sustainability goals. Additionally, we continue to dedicate application and development resources to advance solutions for the design and manufacture of alternate energy sources such as wind towers, solar panels, and geothermal and hydropower stations, which provide long-term value to those industries.
We are proud of our progress and the significant strides our team has made across the four EH&S metrics we have outlined on this site. We will continue to strive towards operational excellence through our continuous improvement initiatives and prudently manage resources as we focus on achieving our 2020 goals.
Christopher L. Mapes
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer