Sulzer’s Houston Service Center has passed a major milestone in its safety record, operating for more than 3 years without a lost-time incident (LTI). For the facility in La Porte, Texas, this equates to more than 6 million man-hours.
Larry Tondre, superintendent of field services at the Houston center, said, “We owe our successes to the men and women of this service center and the management teams that have embraced a safety-orientated culture as the path to our continued achievements. We want to thank all of those people who have stood up and recognized safety concerns and made the corrective actions necessary to help keep everyone safe throughout this period.”
As part of its safety culture, Sulzer implemented a range of techniques to enable good working practices, improve hazard awareness, and instill safe thought processes. For example, the company’s two-minute-drill card requires employees to take time before starting a task to look at the hazards involved and find ways to mitigate them. When a task is interrupted, the two-minute drill is implemented again to take note of changing conditions. It also allows the employee to verify they have everything they need to do the task safely and efficiently.
This type of practical safety precaution is discussed, approved, and implemented through an employee-led Safety Committee that is designed to facilitate participation and engagement. The committee produces a periodic notification, or safety alert, that discusses near-misses involving Sulzer employees or those that were witnessed by Sulzer employees while working on a project. Identifying the near miss and finding the root cause allows corrective action to be taken and then shared with the community. The notifications are communicated to all field-service personnel.
The company also credits training as being a big part of its safety success. All field supervisors, for instance, are provided with 30 hours of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training. Personnel in other key roles are also provided with OSHA training. All full-time millwrights, for example, receive 10 hours. Because field service activities by definition are performed at unique locations all over the world, Sulzer maintains a presence from its safety team as often as possible. Individual worksites are audited, site conditions are verified, and employee engagement that meets or exceeds Sulzer standards is confirmed.
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