There is widespread dedication to safety at Oregon Electric Group (OEG), notes Gary Young, Safety Director for the Portland, Oregon electrical contractor. "With more than 400 employees," he says, "OEG has an ongoing commitment to having an injury-free workplace and to reducing insurance expenses.
"In the past," Young continues, "we monitored project safety through a behavior-based program that tracked observations on paper. But there was no easy way with the paper-based system to ascertain dangerous trends, or unsafe behaviors or conditions, and address them in a timely fashion. We also lacked the ability to accurately compare safety performance from project to project."
To meet its corporate goal of continuous process improvement, OEG sought a solution that could quickly capture and address leading risk indicators before an incident occurred. In December of 2004, Young reports, the company adopted SafetyNet, the technology and services provided by DBO2. The solution enables users to collect safety and risk observations on handheld mobile devices, review them against safety and risk parameters, and compile reports that are distributed to project team and field leadership.
"The instant notification of at-risk behavior and conditions helps project teams to take immediate action to prevent incidents," Young states. "SafetyNet focuses on our biggest risk at whatever stage the project is in and makes everyone more aware of hazards on the jobsite. The benefits to us of the SafetyNet system include a sharpened focus on potential hazards, consistency in gathered information and continuous notification of open issues."
Young goes on to detail the success that OEG has realized since adopting DBO2 SafetyNet and using it to manage more than 59 projects (totaling over 560 inspections made up of over 19,200 field observations), including:
• An 85% reduction in the number of injuries in the first quarter after implementing SafetyNet as compared to the first quarters of the two previous years
• Significant reductions in LTA, OSHA Recordable and OSHA DART rates
• A current EMR of 0.68, well below the industry average of 1.0
"Early on," Young also points out, "we had a company-wide goal for primary inspectors to complete 20 inspections within 90 days. Currently, there is a standing goal of at least 50 completed SafetyNet inspections per month."
The heightened awareness afforded by SafetyNet, according to Young, is incorporated into training programs for inspectors to ensure uniformity in measurement techniques. "It's helped everyone brush up on inspecting techniques," he adds. "With the system as well, being able to embed photo images of an unsafe condition within inspection reports is a bonus. It helps when you can show a customer or general contractor exactly what you found and where the problem happened.
"There is definitely more consistency in our procedures with SafetyNet," Young continues, "and because any unsafe condition or behavior is marked as an open issue until action is taken, resolution of problem areas becomes an utmost priority. The inspectors especially appreciate this feature because issues get addressed on a regular basis. There's no way you can forget about them."
Since implementing SafetyNet, OEG employees across all levels of the company have been proactively engaged in the safety process. Training, Young notes, has been conducted with management, project managers, the safety department, and superintendents. A train-the-trainer program continues to ensure that the operating principles and best practices established permeate the organization.
"We were looking for a way to roll up the collected information and distribute it to a larger section of the company," Young concludes. "DBO2 SafetyNet meets our goals for continuous improvement by providing us with the kind of quality reporting, feedback and analysis that we need, and it's helping us reach the ultimate goal of an injury free workplace." ip
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