Thompson Harnesses Data Collected through SafetyNet to Increase Observations and Decrease Incidents

Introduction

Thompson Industrial and Thompson Construction are premier industrial building and maintenance service companies with service locations across the U.S. Combined, the organizations offer industrial cleaning services, electrical construction, pipe fitting & welding, steel erection, and concrete & power services.

Thompson_LogoWith high customer retention rates, Thompson provides superior quality construction and maintenance services on time and on budget.

Before partnering with Predictive Solutions and utilizing SafetyNet, Thompson used spreadsheets, and pen and paper to document and execute all safety-related activities, which lead to unknown exposure to risk. Now, Thompson is regarded as a champion in the industry for keeping employees safe across all regions and sites. In 2015, Thompson Construction was awarded the AstraZeneca Global Engineering Gold Star Safety Performance award as well as two additional safety excellence awards from the state of South Carolina.

 

Challenge

Keeping track of incidents, risks, safety checklists and procedures using spreadsheets and paper is an extremely difficult method for running an effective safety program, especially across multiple sites and regions. Risks identified in the Safety Observation process become buried in inefficient internal systems and companies fall into the bad habit of only being able to react after a loss has already happened.

Thompson leadership decided to take action when incidents and injuries were occurring across multiple locations. Data collection around these incidents was sparse, making it difficult to identify the root cause of safety concerns in hindsight, and to propose proactive methods for preventing future incidents.

In order to mitigate employee risk on the job site and curb rising insurance expenses associated with injuries, Thompson leadership decided it was time to establish a company-wide, data-driven safety culture backed by technology and process.

 

Results After Predictive Solutions Corporation

Predictive Solutions initiated its engagement with Thompson with a safety culture pulse assessment, in which a Safety Expert came in to assess their culture. The outcome of this analysis was clear: The company required fluid communication on safety matters from leadership down; engagement in safety activities at every level of employment was needed; and establishing a bank of historical and predictive data streams to harness real time insights into risk exposures would provide power when making safety-related decisions.

Following the culture assessment, the next step for Thompson was to implement SafetyNet and establish support from safety leaders across the company. Having safety managers all be committed to the idea that this new program is now part of the day-to-day was a challenge at first. Once leadership committed to the idea, however, new processes and platforms fell into place.

 

“Communication became clear, process based, and all-encompassing, allowing executives and managers to develop action plans, backed by data, and rolled out in a timely and focused manner.”

- Dean Kuhlman, Director of Safety

 

Thompson safety leaders hold accountability report sessions every Friday where executive leadership holds general managers accountable for all teammates. These sessions ensure that GMs are hitting the required amount of quality observations, and are reporting at least two unsafe findings per observation.

Thompson Industrial and Thompson Construction both experienced a major uptick in leading indicator observation records soon after implementing SafetyNet and the associated safety procedures and processes.

Out of four major Thompson Industrial regions, one region collected significantly more observations over the course of a year using SafetyNet than the other three. Although all regions saw upticks in observations and decreases in incidents, this particular region experienced significant decreases in incidents compared to the others due to their increases in observations as well as leadership engagement. These results concluded that higher participation in data collection across multiple levels of employment is a clear path for achieving lower incident rates. The accessibility of having safety observations at their fingertips anywhere anytime has made it easier to include everyone in safety-related decisions, and account for all perspectives on an issue, regardless of job level.

Collecting this data and recording observations in a centralized safety technology platform gave executives and managers the opportunity to identify leading indicators of safety hazards before an incident occurred. This allowed them to be more proactive when addressing safety concerns. Now executives use SafetyNet to instantly pull up data from any job site in any division or region. This allows them adapt to changes and new risks.

The measurable business results in 2017 at Thompson Construction included:

  • 4th year in a row with a decreasing recordable incident rate

  • Lowest recordable rate since 2012

  • 3rd best recordable rate in the last decade

  • Best Total Incident Rate since 2009 (including near misses & property)

  • Lowest EMR in the company’s history

Looking ahead, Thompson safety leaders will work closely with the Predictive Solutions process team to continuously improve safety performance through analysis of leading indicator data and by harnessing the power of a predictive model.

 

“It’s very convenient and encouraging to have a vision, talk with the Predictive Solutions team about that vision and why it’s important to our team, and then immediately take action and make our vision a reality. Predictive Solutions’ investment in the success of our safety program and employees is unmatched. They are a huge contributor to our safety program reaching new heights.”  

- Dean Kuhlman, Director of Safety

 

Dean spends time meeting with the safety directors at Thompson’s client companies to ensure and reiterate that the work and services that Thompson provides are being done in as safe a manner as possible. Customers are always impressed with Thompson’s safety observation and data collection program via SafetyNet, and their safety culture that focuses on maintaining upward trends and addressing areas for improvement.

These safety programs and culture not only keep Thompson employees safe, but also reinforce the trust their clients place in them, resulting in long, fruitful business relationships.

 

“It’s always a great feeling walking away from a meeting with our customers and they say, ‘Our safety program isn’t where yours is!'”

- Dean Kuhlman, Director of Safety

 

Cary Usrey

Written by Cary Usrey

Cary Usrey has been at Predictive Solutions since March 2007. As a Process Improvement Leader, Cary is responsible for implementing best practices for customers seeking to prevent worker injuries. He coaches customers through an assessment, goal-setting, and goal measurement process that is designed to maximize safety improvement and widespread organizational engagement, from the field to leadership. Cary started his career in the U.S. Navy's Nuclear Power Program. After leaving the Navy, he served as the Environmental, Health and Safety Compliance Director at Adirondack Resource Recovery Associates, a waste-to-energy power plant in upstate New York, where he was employed for over twelve years. Following this, Cary took a position with Turner Construction, where he served as the Business Unit Safety Director for the upstate New York office for approximately three years. Cary has graduated with his Associate's Degree in Occupational Safety and Health from Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, is a member of the Central FL chapter of the ASSE, and has served on the Board of Directors for the VPPPA (Region II).

Safety Cary Blog
Ask a Safety Question
Safety Prediction Blog