Cementing a culture for safety

DURING the past decade, business and government interest in employee safety has jumped several notches, making OHS an essential concern for any organisation.

DURING the past decade, business and government interest in employee safety has jumped several notches, making OHS an essential concern for any organisation.

No longer merely an adjunct to human resources management, OHS is being taken seriously as an essential part of any organisation’s code of practice.

The management at Adelaide Brighton Cement understands this only too well. Its employees operate in a production environment defined by heavy machinery and high temperatures – a combination that could easily prove risky without thorough safety measures.

In 2008, Adelaide Brighton Cement’s Angaston plant embarked on a new approach to reducing workplace injuries and hazards. It began with the appointment of Vince Aurora to the role of plant manager.

Aurora had previously been employed as the Angaston production manager. He had a good understanding of the safety and performance data relating to production activities and was experienced in using the company’s SQL database to obtain hazard and injury reports.

While the database was not particularly user friendly and it was impossible to drill down into reports for additional detail, the database did play an important part in notifying a broad range of management and staff when safety incidents occurred.

However, with his newly expanded role Aurora had assumed responsibility for a number of additional departments.

He didn’t have the luxury of in-depth historical knowledge of each department and he soon realised that if safety was to continue to improve, he required something more than the database.

“We needed to be able to visualise the data that was being reported, but we certainly didn’t want a complete ERP software implementation,” Aurora explained.

Low-risk, high-gain BI

After investigating the market, Aurora introduced myDIALS, a business intelligence system that can take input from any of the Angaston plant’s existing data sources and present it in a series of interactive, online dashboards complete with highlighted KPIs.

The system offers Aurora the ability to create a real-time snapshot of critical safety, hazard and environment data for all relevant staff and management.

Immediacy of OHS information and the ability to analyse data have been amongst the biggest benefits arising from the new software.

“The interface is crisp, clean and easy to understand. Even the back end is designed for a simple end user, not a technology freak, so it is very easy to go in and modify the dashboard.

“We can slice and dice data as never before. Plus the dashboard gives live information every time an incident is raised. We never used to see this kind of reporting in anything other than monthly reports,” he added.

Since deployment, management has seen an increase in reporting culture at the Angaston plant. Hazard identification doubled in 2008 while incident reporting improved by 70%.

A new cross-functional weekly OHS review meeting has been instituted to help manage the increase in reports and to ensure follow-up action where required.

The supervisors who attend these meetings are leading the plant’s drive to improve safety and eliminate hazards.

“We could only get to this level once we started to get reliable, real time information.”

The next step for Angaston is to increase visibility of the data and to give employees immediate notification of hazards by displaying the dashboards on LCD screens throughout the plant.

With OHS improving, Aurora is now turning his attention to other responsibilities. This year he hopes to incorporate despatch data in the dashboard so that the sales personnel can more easily monitor customer order status.

Metrics such as tonnes of product, by-product, the site, weighbridge and potentially even the silo involved in shipping will be recorded and updated hourly so that plant managers can better plan and allocate production scheduling. The ultimate aim is to ensure that customers never run out of product.

myDIALS 07 3118 5013, www.mydials.com.

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