Introductions presents profiles of industrial hygienists working to protect
worker health worldwide. This month
we feature Michael Jaklitsch, vice
president of global environmental affairs and safety at The Estée Lauder
Companies. Jaklitsch’s responsibilities
include ensuring company compliance
with governmental regulations, advancing health and safety standards,
and promoting company efforts to operate in a manner that protects natural
resources and the environment.
Jaklitsch has over 20 years’ experience in the EHS field, primarily in
global development and integrated
systems based in ISO 14001 covering
manufacturing, distribution, R&D and
retail. He has worked as an IH consultant and held positions in the New York
City Mayor’s Office of Operations and
the Port Authority of New York and
Jaklitsch received a BS in environmental studies from St. John’s University and an MS in environmental and
occupational health from Hunter College. He is a member of AIHA®,
ACGIH® and ASSE. He can be reached
What are the biggest safety challenges in the retail industry? There are several
safety issues. Differing work settings and environments exist among locations, and
many of those locations are leased, so we don’t have full control of the space. Employee turnover in the retail sector is quite high, so safety training in multiple off-site
locations can be challenging because of the need to stay on top of regulatory requirements in multiple states and countries. New and emerging diseases like H1N1 have
presented unique challenges to a work force that’s in constant contact with the public. Finally, since—as NIOSH reports— 35 percent of work-related fatalities in the U.S.
are associated with motor vehicles, fleet safety is also a priority. The key to circumventing these issues is to stay on top of regulations and to maintain constant communications with your teams.
What are some of the duties of the Corporate Medical Director at Estée
Lauder and why was this position created? The Estée Lauder Companies established the CMD position approximately seven years ago, during the time of the SARS
outbreak. We realized we had a need to fill this role internally when we found ourselves regularly seeking the guidance of an external firm with an occupational
health physician. Our CMD assists the company with assessments on issues such as
medical case management, fitness for duty, medical surveillance and occupational
health program development. The CMD extends our in-house capabilities in IH and
ergonomic services to help conduct workplace exposure monitoring and program
evaluation. The value of this role became very apparent during the recent H1N1 outbreak when the CMD was involved in weekly discussions with senior management to
help guide and direct our response to the issue.
What significant energy-saving methods has your company used in its energy-conservation initiative? In 1997, we joined the EPA’s Energy Star Program and
began surveying our buildings for opportunities to reduce energy consumption. The
success in some of our energy reductions to date can be attributed to piloting test projects within our facilities and sharing these energy-efficient best practices across our
global operating facilities. We investigated and implemented modern equipment, such
as energy-efficient lighting, energy economizers for manufacturing equipment, and
occupancy sensors for large warehouse applications, and we updated HVAC equipment
with more efficient controls and newer, more efficient parts and units across the organization. Making the business case and allocating capital specifically for these
measures really helped move the projects along, and have generated significant cost
savings and reduced CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tons.
How does Estée Lauder’s health and safety programs compare with those
at your previous companies? The same core programs, such as personal protection
and the majority of standards and regulations we must adhere to, apply to all three
organizations. The traditional elements, such as training, site-specific procedures, and
auditing, are applicable to all three. In fact, there are far more similarities among the
three entities than there are differences.