Monday, August 29, 2011

The electrical industry surge – A different kind of approach to improving safety cultures in our utilities

For years, electrical utilities mimicked general industry with respect to eliminating injuries; they followed the OSHA regulations and used observation systems (Behavior Based Safety). As a result, just like general industry, the utilities plateaued at unsatisfactory injury rates.

In the past two decades, intense global competition has forced general industry to significantly improve their productivity, quality and customer service levels. Industry leadership learned that Continuous Improvement teams composed of hourly and salaried employees do a superb job of delivering effective solutions for these problems. The teams do a diagnostic to determine root cause issues, and then develop systems with appropriate accountabilities that deliver zero-error results.

Recently, industry safety culture leaders have expanded the Continuous Improvement team approach to eliminate injuries, commonly achieving total injury rates of less than one and going multiple years without lost time injuries.

Now leading edge utilities have begun to follow suit. They:
  • Do a statistically validated safety diagnostic
  • Develop a 3-5 year safety culture improvement plan based on the diagnostic weaknesses
  • Train their people how to use Continuous Improvement teams in safety
  • Use these teams to solve their previously hidden safety systems issues
  • Enjoy consistently decreasing injury rates that are far better than utility industry averages
This approach works as well in the utility industry as it does in general industry.

The Doc

 

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