Editor's Note: There will be an awards ceremony for the 2022 class of America's Safest Companies at the Safety Leadership Conference in Cleveland on Oct. 18-20, where current and past winners will be sharing their blueprints for success. You can learn more about the conference and sign up to register at www.safetyleadershipconference.com.
Tri-City Electric Co.
1,500 employees | 2 sites | 13 EHS professionals
The mindset of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” does not apply to Tri-City Electric. The electrical construction company doesn’t just settle for the minimum when it comes to standards and compliance.
“We are constantly looking for the ‘better’ way of doing something even though there may be no issues with compliance in the current way,” says Travis Keeney, director of risk management.
For example, Tri-City’s Job Safety Analysis program has allowed the company to mitigate potentially unsafe conditions and equipment before injuries happen and identify unsafe or incorrect employee work habits. Safety collaborates with the construction services team to identify challenges, brainstorm ideas and implement them into the jobsite, including cable reel lifting devices, a light pole “zero-lift” process and prefabricated duct banks.
And the prefabrication department acts as an extension of the safety department to develop in-house tools and engineering controls to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, among other jobsite hazards. This coincides with the implementation of several ergonomic policies, such as two-person lifting and specific tool requirements, that go beyond regulatory requirements to help prevent injuries.
What’s more, Tri-City takes both a top-down and a bottom-up approach to safety.
“Management takes direct responsibility for employee safety and the quality of our safety programs,” Keeney says. “Foremen are accountable for the jobs and the people they supervise. Employees take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their fellow workers.”
The company has adopted a coaching mentality toward field personnel. Tri-City educates and mentors field personnel to ensure everyone knows the regulations and safe work practices, the reasoning behind them and how they contribute to a safer jobsite. It’s working. The company has an all-time low Experience Modification Rating anda Lost-Time Injury Rate significantly lower than the industry average.
Tri-City has also started to emphasize hazard recognition and engagement among field workers. The company awards prizes and rewards to those who submit new ideas or identified processes that should be revised to improve safety.
“Most of our policies, procedures, unique tools and ideas have come from employees over time,” Keeney says. “In addition, employees rotate through various safety committees to provide even more detailed feedback to the safety and management team.”
Keeney says the company plans to continue improving and building on its safety culture, which means going above and beyond.
“If, as an organization, we settle for the bare minimum or just focus on compliance, we are not adding value to our safety processes and culture,” he says. “We must be ahead of the curve and identify ways to become better.
“Tri-City’s goal is to set the bar high with our safety performance and be a leader in the industry. We strive to develop new ideas that others can use and better the industry altogether.”