As one of the largest publicly owned engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance services companies in the world — with more than 46,000 employees working in more than 25 countries across six continents — Fluor understands that maintaining safe workplaces and encouraging continuous improvement in safety is a necessity not only for the company itself, but for the industry as well.
As part of the company's ongoing efforts in safety, in September 2008, Fluor became part of an elite group of companies and organizations that participate in OSHA's VPP Corporate Pilot Program. Fluor joins the Washington Division of URS Corp., Georgia-Pacific, General Electric Co., the U.S. Postal Service and Dow Chemical Co. Fluor was the first to achieve Corporate VPP status in the second phase of OSHA's pilot program. Since then, Parsons Corp. and Delta Airlines also have been awarded the status.
“At Fluor, safety is one of our main corporate values and it impacts the lives of every one of our employees on a daily basis,” said Fluor Chairman and CEO Alan Boeckmann. “We are honored to have been chosen to participate in OSHA's elite Corporate Voluntary Protection Program.”
Approval into VPP is an official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. The program promotes effective worksite-based safety and health and benefits industries as sites evolve into models of excellence and influence practices industry-wide.
The VPP application and certification process is complex. Fluor first completed a comprehensive site self-evaluation, then requested and conducted a corporate VPP self-assessment. Fluor submitted an application to OSHA and received application approval, participated in an on-site OSHA assessment and, finally, celebrated the company's acceptance into OSHA's Corporate VPP Pilot Program.
While the certification was the result of much diligent work on the part of Fluor's corporate HSE (health, safety and environment) team, the benefits for the company as a whole are compelling. This certification confirms Fluor's commitment to safety excellence, it acts as a catalyst for safety improvement and it removes the company's VPP sites from OSHA's general schedule inspection list.
In 2008, Fluor maintained six active OSHA VPP sites including locations in Indiana, North Carolina (three), Minnesota and Texas. Additionally, Fluor maintains eight active Department of Energy VPP sites at the Hanford nuclear cleanup site and one at Fluor's office in Richland, Wash. Subsequent to earning Corporate VPP Pilot status, Fluor has committed to raise 10 new project sites to VPP status over the next 2 years.
The OSHA VPP onsite evaluation team noted that Fluor demonstrates a culture of safety and health through all levels of the organization. “We believe actions build values and values build cultures,” said David Lynn, Fluor corporate HSE programs manager and longtime promoter for certified VPP status. “Our HSE culture is way of life that has a positive influence on our employees at home and at work. For the OSHA on-site assessment team to recognize this value just confirms what we consider to be one of our greatest strengths.”
A couple of important drivers Fluor uses to help maintain its EHS culture are education and training and talent development. Every employee attends a formal HSE orientation session, during which managers offer a greeting and stress the importance of EHS. When management makes safety a priority, employees are more likely to follow suit.
Employees — New-hire employees are mentored under Fluor's New Employee Development (NED) program, which is designed to assist employees in avoiding incidents and injuries and to enhance their acclimation to Fluor's HSE culture. Because industry workplace injury trends indicate that approximately 40 percent of injuries occur to new-hire employees with less than 3 months tenure on the job, the NED program aids in early identification and correction of unsafe work habits help to promote a safe and healthy workplace.
HSE Toolbox meetings are held weekly on every work site, and environment, health and safety topics top the agenda of every meeting in every office around the globe. The on-site OSHA VPP assessment team also noted that the company uses a Web-based network of moderated forums to disseminate information and answer questions related to safety and health. This system ensures that employees' inquiries are seen and answered by subject matter experts around the world at any time of day.
Supervisors — Fluor's Safety Leadership Training (SLT) program is a professional development program — targeted at Fluor's supervisors — that is designed to improve accountability while promoting workplace safety. In SLT, Fluor supervisors learn about the principles, supervisory skills and responsibilities that relate to EHS.
HSE Professionals — Fluor's HSE professionals can identify career goals and track their progress on documented development procedures, complete with skills matrixes and self-assessment tools. This kind of proactive development encourages HSE personnel and management to focus on continual personal and job improvement.
The company has plans to broaden their HSE course offerings to build internal HSE talent going forward. Courses such as injury prevention, pre-task planning, incident investigation, environmental management, industrial hygiene fundamentals and others will be offered in a tiered plan to develop a pool of “Fluor-certified” EHS professionals.
Communication is another driver of Fluor's strong safety culture. Fluor's HSE communications group targets employees, delivering solutions and messages in a measured, consistent manner. Multiple communication vehicles are used, from emailed alerts and printed newsletters to innovative texting and video streaming.
CELEBRATING EHS EFFORTS
Such safety success must be celebrated, and Department of Labor and OSHA officials presented Fluor executives with the VPP Corporate honor at a formal presentation ceremony Oct. 3, 2008, in the Management Development Center at Fluor's Greenville, S.C., campus. Local political representatives, Fluor senior executives, Fluor HSE professionals and news media all came together to celebrate the company milestone at a luncheon and award presentation ceremony.
“The cooperative relationship between our two organizations will certainly help drive improvements in our own health, safety and environmental performance and add value for our clients. We are proud of our employees who have worked so diligently to achieve such exemplary safety performance,” said Boeckmann of the new relationship between Fluor and OSHA.
OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Donald G. Shalhoub spoke at the event, along with Fluor's Industrial & Infrastructure Group President Dwayne Wilson and Senior Vice President of HSE, Corporate Security and Construction Services Garry Flowers.
While acknowledging that achieving VPP Corporate status is “significant and exciting,” Shalhoub predicated that the recognition is the beginning of something bigger for the company. “Being part of VPP Corporate means sharing your experiences and best practices with others. You possess the potential to save tens of thousands of lives beyond your own corporation.”
Fluor's David Lynn sums up the impact the Corporate VPP status has on the company: “Fluor's certification with VPP will directly affect the construction communities our workers come into contact with. Fluor will hire and train special government employees, the company will get our clients involved and their sites certified. Workers will be safer because of VPP elemental training that we implement. Since worker involvement is an element of VPP standards, each VPP construction worker will improve the community where they work and live.”