In an industry that reports a low rate of injuries, Koch Pipeline Co. manages to stand out. Although the lost-time injury rate average for liquid pipeline transportation is .6 - a number most other industries would embrace and celebrate - Koch's injury rate for its 171 employees in Wichita, Kan., is zero.
“Our commitment is to a sustainable EHS performance,” says Bob O'Hair, executive vice president of operations. To his list of “great employees, great leadership and clearly defined expectations,” he adds oversight and knowledge sharing and effective training to a list “of areas that need attention and support from company leaders” if EHS success is to be attained.
“We don't try to measure safety success in terms of dollars. It's the right thing to do - our responsibility - and there are second and third order effects of good safety that while fuzzy, still provide real value to the business,” says O'Hair.
These include improved morale, attracting and retaining valuable employees and lower costs from avoiding excessive workers' compensation costs. Other benefits of safety include “a positive perception among regulators, customers and the general public, and that helps grow the business,” O'Hair says.
The company achieved OSHA VPP Star status in 2007, and has not had a lost-time incident since 2001. The last recordable incident was in 2004. O'Hair says the company approaches many aspects of its business - environmental management, sustainability - with the same dedication with which it has approached safety. Koch has seven EHS management system elements that reflect this philosophy and just as easily could be applied to its environmental management or sustainability initiatives: leadership and management commitment; employee ownership; compliance and risk assessment; compliance and risk management; training; management of change; sustain results.
“In this changing environment, you can't have the mentality of ‘we're going to get there one day.’ It has to be continual learning, continual change, continual improvement,“ says O'Hair.
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