Jobsite Safety Check: Mitigating Risk and Improving Safety at Power Plants

Safety should be the top priority on any job site and goes hand in hand with operational excellence. Risk mitigation and safety are exceptionally important for power plants due to the nature of the industry.

Contractors are responsible for providing a safe work environment at all power generation facilities, safe transportation for all personnel to and from the job site, and must be equipped to use every resource available to prevent accidents.

Management, field employees, and associates can be trained to demonstrate leadership and promote safety as a core value. This can be executed through extensive classroom and hands-on training before acquiring certification to work on field service teams, background checks on all potential drivers, internal programming and audits, continuing education, and applying knowledge gained through field experiences.

The following is a list of safety tools, internal programs, and environmental audits that can be implemented to reduce error and confirm safety compliance at any type of plant. Specific components can be measured with field supervisors responsible for auditing and recognizing areas of opportunity for improvement.

Validation and Verification. The validation and verification process can identify gaps in training, process knowledge, and safety policies and procedures throughout the workforce. Software-based calendar programs make tracking dates and renewals more efficient.

Motor Vehicle Safety. Training programs for various types of equipment provide equipment operators with the most up-to-date defensive-driving techniques and safe operation education (for example, the Smith System driving program).

Daily Safety Meetings. Daily safety meetings can be implemented to discuss the day’s work tasks, safety expectations, review past incidents, and discuss ways to mitigate any potential hazards.

Job Safety Analysis/Worksite Examination Procedure. This type of job safety procedure provides an opportunity for each employee to plan, discuss, and identify hazards associated with each work task. Hazard mitigation is then used to remove the potential hazard. Employees can be trained to recognize and mitigate hazards before harm is done (Figure 1).

Figure 5
1. Examining the worksite. Talking about the hazards associated with specific types of equipment, and identifying the risks of work tasks, is an important part of analyzing job safety at power plants. Operators should ensure that workers can recognize and mitigate hazards before incidents occur. Courtesy: AIMS Companies

Incident, Accident, Injury, or Near-Miss Reporting. Employees should be trained to respond and immediately report an incident, accident, injury, or near-miss to their supervisor and safety manager.

Measuring Success. Measuring and tracking progress is a critical element of any safety program. Without measures, processes will not be sustained and or improved.

International Safety Events. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance recently completed a three-day event targeted at improving safety of commercial motor vehicles around the world. During the 72-hour event, 17 trucks or buses were slated for inspection on average every minute across North America with a 37-step procedure that included an examination of the driver and vehicle.

Whole Team Improvement.Success and growth should be based on teamwork and communication. Better communication creates better teams, and safe and healthy employees are more effective and efficient. As a result, the workforce should have more opportunity for growth and improvement.

These types of safety events, industry advocacy, and the sharing of best practices among companies will continue to help improve transportation safety, eliminate accidents on the job site, and enhance performance and accountability at power plants. Injury and illness prevention have a direct impact on employee morale, productivity, company earnings, and customer satisfaction and retention.

Working safely is the primary component of a successful job and requires ongoing improvements to policies, philosophy, and practices. ■

Tom Verbridge is safety and compliance manager for AIMS Companies.