First Place: CH2M HILL HANFORD GROUPMajor hazards
Hazardous Materials:Working to clean up 53-million gallons of hazardous waste poses the largest risk to our workforce. Radiological and chemical exposures are controlled through our work planning and job hazard analysis process using the Integrated Safety Management System (ISMS).
Legacy Issues and First-of-a-Kind Waste Retrievals:Many of the tanks holding the hazardous waste are well past their design life and some are known to have leaked waste deep within the soil. This means working in confined spaces, using cranes, high-pressure water jets, unique robots and other tools created specifically for tank clean up.
Outdoor Working Conditions:The Hanford site is located in a desert region, and most work occurs outdoors exposed to the elements. Summer temperatures can remain over 100 degrees for several days at a time, requiring heat stress controls to be implemented. Likewise winter temperatures can drop below zero degrees for days at a time. Ice, snow, cold temperatures and wind chill are common winter hazards. In spring and fall, we are faced with gusty winds causing debris and dirt to impair visibility.
Employee-management collaborative workgroups outline plans and corrective measures for employees to utilize during extreme weather conditions.
Ergonomics:An aging workforce (average age of about 50 years), coupled with tasks that result in awkward postures, makes us prone to muscle strains and sprains resulting in an ergonomic challenge. We stress correct posture and educate workers on ways to reduce repetitive stress injuries. Our daily stretching program is designed to reduce injuries, especially to the back and joints.
CH2M HILL established a safety culture at Hanford Tank Farms that is setting new standards within the Department of Energy complex for best-in-class safety excellence. This safe work environment, based on trust and communication, helped us resolve tank vapor uncertainties and make progressive changes in workforce protection, cutting injury rates by over 50 percent.
We developed a comprehensive industrial hygiene chemical vapor technical basis, providing a science-based resource for managing chemical vapor hazards at the tank farms. Tank vapors were characterized and occupational exposure limits established for 52 identified chemicals of potential concern. Key to our success was the Chemical Vapor Solutions Team; a joint management-employee action committee that evaluates concerns, helps identify/control hazards, and provides feedback directly to workers assisting to resolve chemical vapor concerns.
The 177 underground high-level waste tanks hold legacy waste from the Cold War production era. These tanks are the largest part of the nation’s most complex environmental cleanup project. A massive characterization effort has been underway for the past few years to better understand the chemical vapor hazards while at the same time, moving forward in completing our mission using PPE best fitted to the job at hand.
Safety & health policy
Our slogan “At CH2M HILL, SAFETY is no Accident!” demonstrates our commitment to systematic integration of safety and health principles into decision-making, planning, and processes through implementation of our Integrated Safety Management System.
CH2M HILL emphasizes a culture of listening when employees raise concerns, viewing them as the safety experts for their jobs, and providing avenues of communication and control of their work.
Weekly tailgate meetings discuss safety issues at the beginning of the shift; safety topics begin every meeting held at the company; safety meetings are held monthly; and pre-job meetings are carefully orchestrated to ensure all safety aspects are covered in the work package.
Our overall safety goal is zero injuries and occupational illnesses. We strive to achieve this goal through the use of the Integrated Environmental, Safety, and Health Management System (ISMS), and by implementing the basic tenets of the Voluntary Protection Program.
Our performance objectives include supporting the DOE VPP activities. CH2M HILL currently has two VPP Stars in the program and is currently applying for a third.
All of CH2M HILL’s management and senior management team have been trained in the company’s Safe Work Environment program, attributes, and processes. The training entails a minimum of four to eight hours in the legal expectations and ramifications associated with individuals raising issues and concerns through any avenue they may choose.
Detailed discussions cover the prevention of harassment, intimidation, retaliation, and discrimination and include CH2M HILL’s Zero Tolerance policy and expectation.
In addition, all of CH2M HILL’s managers are specially trained in active listening and communication skills.
Early Notification:The president’s office must be notified within 30 minutes of an injury occurring. Managers are then required to follow each injury case, work with the injured worker, and help the worker with job assignments that would prevent injury aggravation. A review board, made up of the company president and senior line management, reviews safety management program performance and assessment results, and approves all root cause analyses and associated corrective action plans.
Field Time:Wednesdays are “meetings-free days” to give managers a clear schedule to spend more time with their workers in their working environment. This is how our leadership team picks up the language of the field and learns first-hand about our workers’ daily experience.
All workers in the field have “Stop Work” responsibility. If they believe the job is not safe at any time during the job evolution, they can stop work. Management and workers convene and work through the issue until the issue is completely resolved.
Employees have a responsibility and an expectation to participate in hazard evaluations, pre-job planning, work site inspections, walk downs, assessments, safety meetings, special task teams, policy/procedure development, safety training, setting safety goals and objectives, and accident investigations.
Five Employee Accident Prevention Councils are empowered to set safety goals for the employees they represent, pursue initiatives to reduce injuries, oversee VPP activities in their area of responsibility and recognize and reward employees for safety.
Safety and health performance is measured through indicators such as recordable and lost workday injury rates, near misses and events.
Leading indicators are also followed for such things as number of safety issues, time of resolution, overdue preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance packages, training compliance, safety meeting attendance and peer safety observations.
The company established a behavior-based Peer Safety Observer Program. Employees make on-the-spot observations of their co-workers in a “no name no blame” format.
Employees are graded on working safely, watching out for others, maintaining a safe and well-kept environment and supporting involvement in safety activities in annual performance reviews.
Snapshot:CH2M HILL HANFORD GROUP
Lost-time injury/illness rate (2007):0.52
Contact:Joy Shoemake, Director of Communications
Honorable Mention: GENERAL MOTORS SPRING HILL MFG.Major hazards
Falls, electrical shock, strains and sprains, burns, fractures, eye injuries and toxic exposures.
In April of 2007 we shut down production and have gone through extensive demolition and renovation. Demolition crews worked around the clock removing 70 million pounds of steel, aluminum, wood and copper. At peak times we had close to 2,000 trades and laborers on site. Twenty-two bays and three stories were added and over 80 roof stacks were relocated by helicopter. Through all of this, we have not had any serious injuries.
Because the skilled trades group have the highest fatality rate in the industry, we put together a team of skilled trade employees to leverage the collective experience, expertise and capabilities of these workers through management commitment, peer leadership, and teamwork in order to fully integrate safety as an inseparable part of every job and ultimately eliminate injures and incidents. This group has helped educate and communicate to the skilled trades group the importance of “Being Your Brothers Keeper”, “Take Two for Safety”, and performing safety ‘Pre-Task Planning.”
Under normal operations, we have one set of union workers from the same company that works on machines to keep them running and understands the plant safety rules and guidelines. During the past 12 months, we have had close to 2,000 trades and laborers from many different companies, unions, and trade classifications coming together under one roof. Most of our trades people did work they normally don’t do.
Safety & health policy
Our Safety policy states all accidents can be prevented. It is executed by (1) making safety a shared responsibility by everyone; (2) commits employee safety concerns to a process that identifies the concern and tracks it to resolution; and (3) makes all of us responsible to address unsafe behaviors of others.
Our safety and health policy is integral to our organizational value and mission to produce “world-class” vehicles SAFELY.
Our goal is zero incidents. Key components of the safety program have been incorporated into the management process and are monitored on a routine schedule through the “layered audit” process that is conducted through all tiers of management.
The forum for top management participation is called the Plant Safety Review Board, which meets monthly and is chaired jointly by the plant manager and the UAW chairman. The key function of this body is to jointly resolve issues and implement program improvements across the site.
The culture at this facility drives personal ownership for a safe and healthy work environment, which drives personal responsibility. The foundation for that culture is defined in the joint labor-management agreement and is nurtured by five core elements of the safety program – accident investigation, Plant Safety Review Board, employee safety concern process, safe operating procedures and safety observation tours
Each area is measured through the metrics of total and recordable injuries as well as the audit data collected during the layered audit process. All metrics for each area are reviewed at the site and by the Plant Safety Review Board.
All incidents are investigated immediately and reviewed daily, we utilize the Employee Safety Concern Process, all levels of leadership conduct safety observation walks, and we encourage self-reporting of “near-miss” incidents that are also reviewed daily by leadership.
All of the reporting mechanisms contain an element that tracks corrective measures that control or eliminate hazards. Any outstanding issues are reviewed at the monthly Safety Review Board level for decision and direction.
Snapshot:GENERAL MOTORS SPRING HILL MFG.
Location:Spring Hill, Tennessee
Lost-time injury/illness rate (2007):0.7
Contact:Lynne Anderson, Safety Supervisor
Honorable Mention: LEE COUNTY ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.Major hazardsWe are an electric power company. Our employees build, maintain and operate an extensive transmission and distribution system that involves 120 volts that you would find in your home up to transmission voltages of 235,000 and virtually unlimited current.
Over the years we have been able to minimize employee exposure to hazardous chemicals, but every day employees work from elevated areas and bucket trucks, lift and handle very heavy and cumbersome equipment and work in direct contact with high voltages, all in an extremely hot and humid climate.
Lines are constructed overhead and underground with heavy equipment to small precision instrumentation. Employees must be actively conscious of biting and stinging insects, snakes, alligators and numerous “other who knows what” that escaped into the Everglades from zoos destroyed by hurricanes.
Employees took more responsibility for the safety program and in just 12 years reduced our lost-time rate from over 2.21 to its current rate of year ending in 2007 of 0.53, and 0.00 year to date in 2008. We also reduced our OSHA Recordable Incident Rate from 7.91 to its current level of 2.79. Our insurance Experience Modification Rating went from 1.57 to 0.94.
Two items rise to the forefront. Safety did become one of the four key performance indicators of our company’s performance. An incentive is paid to every employee based on performance. The other “initiative” was what we called “Turn Captors into Captains.” Every employee was empowered to stop whatever s/he was doing or any other employee if personal safety was threatened. Preventative measures would be implemented and a root cause conducted after-the-fact. If employee misconduct was the root cause, then appropriate action was taken, but the bottom line is that the potential risk was automatically eliminated first and foremost.
There was a widely held perception that the “company” was just focusing on safety rules so it could catch someone doing something wrong and discipline them. The thought process is now trying to catch people doing something right, or even almost right and positively recognizing their efforts.
LCEC leadership develops an annual strategic plan that defines our vision, mission, objectives, priorities and values. Our first value is: “LCEC values safety as everyone’s responsibility.” Safety is also one of our “Scorecard Measurements” in the area of operational effectiveness.
LCEC has a Joint Safety Committee that steers and supports our safety and health program and activities. The members of this committee are three bargaining unit members appointed by the union and three managers of LCEC executive staff (once removed from the CEO). Safety is also a component of management’s performance measures with goals that define the supervisor's or manager’s support of the safety and health program by actions; not just results of employee accidents that represent failures.
It started when our CEO attended safety meetings and in a completely non-threatening manner said working safely is an individual choice and that he would do all that he could to help any employee find another job at another company if their choice is to not work safely at LCEC.
We then empowered employees to make the right choices; and gave them the opportunity to learn from questionable choices. We conduct job safety analyses (JSA) to root out potential hazards and conduct job site evaluations where risks and behaviors are documented.
- Management has safety goals that are part of their annual performance evaluation. Goals are based on the things management has control over such as actions in support of our safety and health program; not on numbers of accidents.
- LCEC has four key performance indicator goals each year. The goals can be worth a bonus of up to five perccent of an employee’s annual base pay. In addition to customer satisfaction, expenses and reliability, safety is one of the four goals.
- Many companies measure safety performance on lost time and/or severity rates. We believe this is too far up the Heinrich Pyramid. Our goals are based on OSHA recordables and we are moving towards non-OSHA incidents.
- We hire an independent agency to conduct annual, anonymous Employee Engagement Surveys which define how engaged employees are in LCEC. Among all the measures surveyed, which include benefits, compensation, communication, etc. safety is a component.
Location:North Fort Myers, Florida
Employees:391 employees at year end 2007
Lost-time injury/illness rate (2007):0.53
Contact:Frank R. Cain, Jr., Risk Manager