Intranet solution for safety management

UGL-UNICCO white paper discusses strategies to integrate safety management systems



By Marc Wendell, CSP, CHMM


Safety, Health & Environmental director

Managing business risks, including SH&E, has always been a UGL-UNICCO priority. This is evidenced in numerous safety awards received from industry groups and our customers over the years, as well as our continuously improving OSHA incidence rates and reductions in Workers Compensation loss rates. Yet, the job is never done when it comes to safety %%MDASSML%% it requires ongoing commitment and continuous improvement. In 2005, UNICCO began looking for new ways to improve safety performance. This brief article outlines key features of USafe, a solution aimed at helping UNICCO integrate its Safety Management System into business decision-making processes.

UNICCO’s Safety Management System conforms to the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle advocated by international management system standards, e.g., ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. There are two key features to such management systems:


  1. Planning & Implementation %%MDASSML%% To identify safety and other business risks and implement risk controls early in the planning stages of work;

  2. Evaluation & Corrective Action %%MDASSML%% To evaluate work, investigate deviations (e.g., safety/quality incidents), and manage corrective actions.

    1. At UNICCO, these activities were mainly being managed on paper. With thousands of sites in the U.S. and Canada, it was not easy for UNICCO to translate a myriad of safety/risk assessments and incident investigations into improved performance. To solve this problem we initiated a collaborative team effort between our operations, safety, and Information Technology departments. With the primary purpose of further improving SH&E performance (i.e., reducing incident frequency, severity and cost), the project focused on standardizing, automating and facilitating the integration of the following existing SH&E tasks and business processes:

      #1. Conduct risk reviews of prospective jobs and integrate reviews into business plans;

      #2. Conduct risk reviews and periodic compliance inspections of existing job sites;

      #3. Create an incident “dashboard” for accessing incident reports and investigations,

      analyzing causal trends, and managing corrective action plans;

      #4. Facilitate compliance with OSHA recordkeeping requirements, including generation of paper OSHA Form 301 (Incident Report), 300 (Log) and 300A (Summary);

      #5. Track performance metrics, including OSHA incidence rates and progress on risk reviews and inspections, across multiple levels of management structure.

      In researching available applications, the team found many “point” solutions that covered inspections, or incident management, or forms/reporting. These applications did not, however, provide an integrated solution for the full spectrum of facilities services that UNICCO provides. To remedy the situation, UNICCO brought in IBM and its new “Workplace Forms” technology, an electronic forms-based business process management software and service. This approach allowed UNICCO to build on the success of its existing business processes and forms.

      The UNICCO/IBM team created forms that automate the capture and processing of SH&E information, including risk reviews, inspections, and incident investigations. This sped up transactions, increased operational efficiency, and made the information more amenable to business decision making. Now managers are doing a better job of identifying business risks, incorporating risk controls/costs into business decision making, reporting/investigating incidents, and meeting SH&E metrics. They are also spending less time performing these activities.

      The solution is housed on the company intranet site: Incidents, risk reviews, and site inspections are uploaded directly to USafe through the portal. In addition to the prescribed forms, the solution also allows for the uploading of images, e.g., photos, drawings, medical reports and workers’ compensation documents. USafe is now the central file for all such forms.

      If an incident is OSHA Recordable, the system automatically updates the site OSHA Log and Form 300A. The solution thereby facilitates maintenance of OSHA Logs, automates OSHA recordkeeping tasks, and helps assure regulatory compliance, while reducing demands on administrative personnel. As well, the solution is designed specifically to support Operations personnel. An understanding of safety terminology is not required.

      Action items from incident investigations, risk reviews, and inspections are structured into Corrective Action Plans, allowing operations personnel to manage and track actions online. If an action date is missed, USafe sends “trigger” notices to those responsible and, if specified in the system, to their management.

      Now that USafe is deployed, we are further on our way to improving safety performance. Good safety practices make sense. It’s good for our employees, it’s good for our customer relations and it makes good business sense.

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