Does it really mean anything if the RAI (Recordable Accident Incident Rate) for your non-payroll workers (hereafter referred to as “contractors”) is 6.2? At Entergy, where our most important value is to “Create and Sustain a Safe Working Environment,” numbers like those can be very important.
For the wind power industry, practicing safety has always been more than a mission—it’s required. After all, a wind technician may be working in a space the size of a bathroom located on a tower 80 meters tall, surrounded by massive mechanical and high voltage electrical equipment, in a harsh climate, far from medical services.
Organizations rely on numerous metrics—from incident rates to absenteeism—to help quantify and evaluate safety performance. But as lagging indicators, such metrics tell us little about the root causes of safety. Do employees truly buy into the organization’s safety policies and procedures?� Do workers get actively involved in the safety reporting process?� These are questions that are critical to understanding why a culture succeeds or fails in meeting its safety goals.
There's no magic to safety; it's management. Just as you manage productivity, quality or any other part of your company, safety management takes planning, organizing, leading, controlling and evaluating. You or your managers will be inspecting, investigating, recording, analyzing and reporting. How you make all this happen is through a safety program that gives you the policies, procedures and monitoring systems to make safety happen. With time and resources in short supply, a safety program has to be approached in a practical and effective manner. How do you assure its successful implementation? Start with some basic questions:
We have a responsibility to care for ourselves. In the utility business, for example, safety is about using proper personal protective equipment and approved safe work methods in a controlled environment. When we have a true passion for safety, we not only care for ourselves, but also take responsibility for influencing others in the use of safe practices.
The following challenges will require strategies and decisions by utilities to comply with the NESC standard.
I know that sounds like a consultant's answer, so let's discuss what I mean. We can start by considering human nature. We all choose our behaviors based on expected consequences. What are the consequences of taking shortcuts on the job? While there are possible negative consequences, like rework or an injury, these problems are few and far between. One definite result is that the job takes less time. Getting done faster is usually considered a good thing. But what if the shortcut involves violating a safety rule? If there are no consequences for violating safety rules, can they be ignored? Will this affect your safety record?
For the most part, people do not deliberately violate policies and safety rules. Our workers, however, are responding to many influences on their actions, including company goals, a sense of urgency to restore customer service, personal issues at home, and so on. When shortcuts get results and they are not corrected, the decision becomes a bad habit. And while bad habits will not lead to an injury every time, they will eventually catch up to the worker.