Management Support Makes Safety Sweet at the Salt River Project

Sept. 12, 2003
'For nearly a quarter of a century, the Salt River Project in Arizona has come in first, second or third in the American Public Power Association''s safety

For nearly a quarter of a century, the Salt River Project in Arizona has come in first, second or third in the American Public Power Association''s safety awards program. That safety success is due to the dedication to safety of every employee, from the CEO to upper-level managers, supervisors and line employees.

By Sandy Smith

When a CEO is winning awards for his leadership in safety management, there can be no doubt about the emphasis that organization places on safety.

The Salt River Project (SRP) provides electricity to the Phoenix area through the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District and delivers nearly 1 million acre-feet of water to a service area in central Arizona via the Salt River Valley Water Users'' Association. Back in 1997, the Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers named CEO Richard H. Silverman Executive of the Year.

"The over-aching principle" of safety, says William Powell, manager of Risk Management, "is that SRP has succeeded in establishing a highly visible and supportive corporate safety culture that is interwoven into the very fabric of the corporation''s being."

He adds, "Safety must always some first.... Working safely at SRP is a condition of employment."

According to Powell,"SRP''s management commitment provides the motivating force and resources for ensure a safe and healthy work environment. It includes being involved in all aspects of the safety program in their areas of responsibility. Management applies its commitment to safety and health issues with as much vigor as other polices within SRP."

Supervisors are held accountable for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and property damage. Safety and health goals for SRP are clearly communicated by management, so that all employees understand the objectives, understand the desired results and understand the measurements to be used to achieve the desired goals.

"Employees at SRP are taught that prevention of accidents is essential to the proper performance of each job and no employee should assume that safety is the job of someone else," says Powell. "All employees are evaluated each year regarding their safety responsibilities and actions."

Training and education at SRP are important to safety performance. Through extensive training, management provides the tools for employees to meet safety goals, and communicates that the ultimate responsibility for the success of the safety program rests with each individual employee. "Employee involvement is the means through which workers develop and express their own commitment to safety and health protection for themselves and for their fellow workers," Powell believes.

Sidebar 1

  • Salt River Project, Phoenix Az.
  • Water and electrical utility
  • Over 4,200 employees at six different service centers and three generating stations in the Phoenix metropolitan area, seven dams on the Salt and Verde Rivers in central Arizona, two large fossil fuel generating plants at remote sites in northern Arizona, several renewable energy projects including solar and landfill gas and jointly participates as co-owner of six other western thermal and nuclear generating plants.
About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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