Keeping a Checklist on Safety
Source: American Gas (12/07)
Vol. 89, No. 10, P. 19
Posted on: 12/28/2007
Audits are among the most effective ways natural gas utilities
can pinpoint potential hazards and find solutions. We Energies
understands the correlation between audits and performance.
In Fall 2006, the utility launched a new field safety audit
program to search for new ways to improve its service performance.
The program concentrated on five major areas: work management, crew
preparedness, post-job customer relations, jobsite equipment
inspection and job briefing. The purpose of We Energies' employee
audits is to identify patterns of behavior that pose a safety threat
so that solutions can be developed and shared.
Service is graded on a zero to five scale that divided compliance
measures into percentages. A grade of two or less results in an
action plan being deployed, and a subsequent re-audit of the crew
after remedial training. Pat Fischer, CSP, supervisor of health and
safety, attests that audits can be used for many purposes. "A safety
audit is certainly an opportunity to seek possible improvements, but
the results of a safety audit can also help to benchmark best
practices," Fischer said. Enbridge Gas Distribution in Canada used
its Supervisors Safety Inspections program for a similar
The program calls for supervisors and managers to conduct an
inspection of employee work areas or in-depth discussions about the
safety hazards and environmental risks their jobs carry at least
once every quarter. The objective of the program is for management
and staff to maintain an open dialogue so that awareness over
safety-related concerns about workers' day-to-day activities is
raised, resulting in improved workplace safety.