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Taking Safety Online

Thu, 10/13/2011 - 5:45am

After investigating different options about how to go about developing safety procedures, programs, and policies, one company invested in an online management tool that's designed to help users manage safety and risk more efficiently and cost effectively.

Latshaw Drilling, a fast-growing private company based in Tulsa, OK, is responsible for the drilling of wells for oil and gas companies. Besides concerns over compliance, and protecting people and the environment, the industry as a whole is subject to a lot of OSHA visits, explains Cody Ashley, the HSE Director for Latshaw Drilling in Tulsa.

"I started investigating different options about how to go about developing safety procedures, programs, and policies," he says of his attempt to help address these needs. Ashley looked at Grainger's Online SafetyManager as an effective way to streamline its approach, notably after a particularly tough compliance audit found only 61 out of 199 items were up to standard. With 90 days to accomplish the goal, the auditor himself said "There's no way you're going to get it all done," recalls Ashley.

  • SafetyManager seemed to fit the bill as a solution, since the online management tool is designed to help users manage safety and risk more efficiently and cost effectively. The program gives users the tools to help:
  • Manage an organization's safety program from a computer.
  • Reduce injuries, accidents and exposure to OSHA fines.
  • Reduce training costs.
  • Lower Worker's Compensation costs.
  • Save time, money and help create a safer workplace.

According to Ashley, he took the templates found in the Online SafetyManager system and started working on them.

"What I found was there were very few modifications that I had to do within those templates, other than making them specific to our company -- basically inserting our names and the type of equipment we use, some of the particulars that are specific to our industry," he explains.

"That was a huge factor in helping get the company up to snuff or into compliance," Ashley adds.

The program is designed to address four "corners" of safety, including:

  • Analysis, providing customizable safety audit programs and checklists.
  • Compliance, providing customizable written programs, online recordkeeping, customizable policies and procedures and access to State and Federal OSHA regulations.
  • Training, offering access to online training courses covering more than 100 different safety topics. It also includes scripted safety meeting guides and PowerPoint slide presentation templates for use in live safety training sessions.
  • Research, including resources like an advanced search engine, "Ask a Specialist" portal, FAQs, and MSDS search.

Within the 90-day window, Latshaw had been able to address each and every area the auditors had highlighted in their initial review. The program was also able to land Latshaw a contract it once thought was lost forever. This particular customer had really high standards and had run an audit on Latshaw about six months earlier. The potential customer had no doubt that Latshaw would not have reached its high-level standard in that time, but performed a second audit as a matter of formality.

"After about a six-hour audit with this other customer, they were amazed we had everything put into place," says Ashley. "After that interview and that audit, they were amazed and so pleased that they actually put three of our drilling rigs to work over the course of the next 30 days."

Proactive Safety

"Having a safety program in place has made the job of the field safety people so much easier and so much more proactive. This afforded them a huge opportunity to do some training. We're actually able to concentrate our efforts on proactive measures, as opposed to being so reactionary all the time," explains Ashley.

One of those proactive measures came in the form of a quiz Ashley sent out periodically to ensure that employees were fully informed on each policy. This reduced the need to individually police associates to determine who was out of compliance and when.

"Our guys were able to work smarter, I would say, and think a little bit more about the hazards and risks of their job and manage those hazards and risks better. We actually had a reduction in our incident rate by developing the safety program. In the first year of our program being developed, we reduced our incident rate by 35 percent" he says.

Ultimately, says Ashley: "We're being so proactive at this point that we've been able to eliminate a lot of our outsourced training and go straight to doing our own in-house training. That's really helped us a lot as well."

From Grainger's perspective, the success for Latshaw has reinforced the distributor's willingness to tailor solutions that help customers gain internal process efficiency and improve their competitive edge. "Grainger is committed to offering not only products, but solutions, that help our customers do their jobs more effectively and we're so pleased with the success that Latshaw Drilling has had with Grainger's Online SafetyManager," says Jeff Nixon, Vice President of U.S. Services for Grainger. "Safety is a key priority for our customers, which makes it a priority for Grainger, and the Online SafetyManager is an outstanding tool for any size organization, in any kind of industry, to ensure they are meeting their specific safety requirements and needs."

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