Skip to Content

Grede Achieves Million Hours Without a Lost-Time Incident in New Castle, IN, and No Lost Time in Iron Mountain, MI

April 16, 2024


Continuous Improvement, Culture,

At Grede, safety is the priority. Our dedication to safety in the workplace is reflected by the achievements demonstrated by two of our production plants: New Castle, IN, and Iron Mountain, MI.

One million hours without a lost-time incident: Grede New Castle

Grede’s foundry in New Castle, IN, reached one million hours worked without a lost-time incident on December 13, 2023, and their streak continues. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the collective effort and commitment to the safety of our entire team. They recently celebrated by providing all team members with a jacket and an all-employee luncheon, acknowledging their invaluable contribution to our safety record.

In recognition of this milestone, Grede New Castle will accept the American Foundry Society’s 2023 Millionaires Safety Award at the AFS Metalcasting Congress on April 23.

“This achievement is a testament to our employees’ commitment to working safely every day. Their dedication to following proper safety procedures, looking out for each other, and maintaining a robust safety culture has made this milestone possible. This culture inspires us to strive for even greater safety achievements,” said Mark Brock, General Manager at New Castle.

Grede New Castle reviews safety items daily in their War Room meeting. They cover safety topics in their pre-shift meetings, supervisors check in with each employee twice per shift to ensure they’re working safely, and all managers complete weekly safety observations.

Out with the old and in with the new! In 2015, Grede New Castle was awarded a green jacket for working one million hours safely. Grede New Castle hit a million hours safe again in 2017 and 2023.

Grede’s management team in New Castle with their million hours safety plaque.

Coworkers posing with their new safety jackets

No lost time incidents in 2023: Grede Iron Mountain

Grede’s foundry in Iron Mountain, MI, achieved zero lost time incidents in 2023. They’ve had zero lost-time incidents since August 19, 2022, and their streak continues.

Grede Iron Mountain also earned Grede’s President’s Safety Award as part of Grede’s internal recognition program, the Eagle Awards, for achieving the best combined OSHA TRIR and DART rates for 2023.

Grede Iron Mountain celebrated both achievements by providing all team members with a special t-shirt and an all-employee luncheon.

“Grede Iron Mountain’s biggest asset is its employees. Safety milestones such as zero lost time for one year happen because the entire team takes safety seriously and keeps it as a #1 priority daily,” said Cody Wolsker, Automation Manager. “Our team members aren’t just performing specific manufacturing tasks daily; they’re also watching each other’s back and stopping injuries before they happen. That kind of employee buy-in allows our safety record to continue in 2024.”

In addition to these achievements, we have much more to celebrate in the world of workplace safety.

Grede Iron Mountain employees with their new shirts.

Minnesota Governor’s Workplace Safety Gold Award: Grede St. Cloud

Our foundry in St. Cloud, MN, recently received the Minnesota Governor’s Workplace Safety Award for excellence in occupational injury prevention. Grede St. Cloud has won the Governer’s Workplace Safety Award four times. In 2022, 2021, and 2019, they accomplished the Meritous Achievement Award. This year, they achieved the Gold Award.

Our St. Cloud facility received the Gold Award by achieving an incidence rate better than the 75th percentile of the state and national average for the metalcasting industry. They will accept the award at the Minnesota Safety & Health Conference on April 30.

TRIR and DART rates below the industry standard

Grede’s total recordable incident rate (TRIR) and day away restricted time (DART) rate are well below the industry’s standards. In 2022, the industry average for TRIR was 6.4, and DART was 3.6 for steel foundries, while Grede achieved 1.92 for TRIR and 1.8 for DART!

Grede’s man hours have increased, but our safety record keeps improving. For example, we implemented a new safety glasses personal protection equipment (PPE) program last year and reduced eye safety incidents by 30%.

2022 and 2021 AFS Safety Awards

In addition to the achievements made in 2023, Grede has been recognized by the American Foundry Society (AFS) for excellence in safety over the past three years. Two of Grede’s plants achieved the AFS Millionaires Safety Awards in 2022. Our Reedsburg, WI, foundry was recognized for achieving 2 million hours without a lost-time incident, and our Menomonee Falls, WI, machining facility achieved 1 million hours worked without a lost-time incident.

EHS Continuous Improvement Project Award: Grede Reedsburg

Each year, Grede holds an EHS Continuous Improvement Project challenge. Each plant submits an EHS continuous improvement project, and the EHS team votes on the winner during our annual Safety Summit.

Grede Reedsburg won our annual EHS Continuous Improvement Project Challenge this year. They won the award for eliminating a belt in one of our machines to reduce silica exposure in the air, eliminate continuous belt repairs, and improve the casting process.

Grede Reedsburg also received the AFS Safety & Insight Award in 2021, highlighting projects and programs that enhance safety, health, or ergonomics in foundry operations. They won the award for their cupola tap Continuous Improvement Project. To eliminate the safety hazard of iron getting into the tuyeres and the slag freezing the taphole, they changed the bend in the bar to make it easier, smoother, faster, and safer.

Grede Safety Brigade

Grede’s ten plants also have various local safety teams, including Safety Committees, Safety Ambassadors Boards, EHS Steering Teams, etc. Together, these teams make up Grede’s Safety Brigade. These local teams come together to address safety issues at their plant and make a difference.

“I’m on the Safety Ambassadors Board at Grede in Biscoe, NC. We have a member of every department on the team. I’m excited about the things we’ve been able to change, such as the safety culture here. More people are paying attention to safety, which keeps us from having incidents and recordables. That’s the goal: keep each other safe and that everyone comes in safe and goes home safe, every day,” said Jerome Maness, Furnace Operator.

“Housekeeping is also critical. Simply picking up hazards can help prevent incidents. We also encourage everyone to look out for their neighbor. Especially new coworkers— we want to help them because they might not know their surroundings and processes. Even aware coworkers might not see the risk or danger of their actions. So we work together as a unit to keep each other safe, “ said Jerome.

“I perform internal observations on the Safety Team in Brewton, NC. I walk around and make sure everyone’s doing their job safely, using the right equipment, and wearing the correct PPE,” said Kendreon Robertson, Quality Lead.

“A project I’m proud of is our Employee Safety Committees. The committee members are driven and have already found safety opportunities they weren’t even asked to find. They’re very motivated, and it makes me proud to see other employees get involved in keeping each other safe,” said Sarah Patel, EHS Manager at Menomonee Falls, WI.


Grede Reedsburg receiving the EHS CIP Award in 2024. Left to right: Dean Teeples (EHS Director), Rick Capener (EHS Manager for Reedsburg), John Economou (COO).

Green means good! The Grede Safety Brigade received matching green t-shirts with the Grede EHS logo on the front and the Safety Brigade logo on the back. Here is our EHS Steering Committee in St. Cloud.

Safety Team in Reedsburg, WI

Grede’s EHS flag program

Grede’s flag program recognizes plants for achieving Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) goals. During our annual Safety Summit at the end of March, Grede awards the EHS flags to its plants. In 2023, five of our plants achieved EHS flags!

Gold flags are the highest honor and are given to plants for having best practices in place. Blue flags are awarded for achieving above-average results, and green flags represent meeting the requirements.

Gold Flags:

  • Reedsburg, WI – third consecutive year receiving a gold flag
  • New Castle, IN
  • Iron Mountain, MI – fourth consecutive year receiving a flag

Blue Flags:

  • Cloud, MN – fourth consecutive year receiving a flag
  • Biscoe, NC – third consecutive year receiving a flag

We’re proud of our EHS Flag program — it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to EHS to receive a flag.

Although we’ve accomplished a lot, there’s still more work to do

In summary, Grede has a lot to be proud of regarding our safety culture. “A lot is happening in the foundry environment, and keeping safety at the forefront is more challenging than one might think. I’m proud of Grede’s team members, their efforts, and our environmental, health, and safety accomplishments,” said Grede CEO Cary Wood. “I say this all the time, and it’s an important reminder: the lines between first aid, an OSHA incident, a lost-time accident, and a fatality are very thin.”

“Safety is about doing the harder right over the easier wrong,” said COO John Economou. “We encourage our team members to spot hazards and STOP unsafe acts. It goes a long way toward protecting our coworkers and promoting a safe work environment.”

The work is never done when it comes to safety. Once we’ve achieved zero incidents, then we know we’ve met our ultimate goal. But every second, every minute, and every day, we need to demonstrate safe behaviors, look out for each other, and think about how we can accomplish our work safely.