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Configurability and ease-of-use cited as determining factors for company-wide success
When Joshua Reilly joined Pinal County Electrical District No. 3 (ED3) as Safety Specialist and Field Asset Inspector, he noticed the Arizona utility didn’t have any consistency in capturing safety-related data, leaving them vulnerable to mistakes.
At ED3, each department had their own way of reporting inspections, incidents, near misses, and observations. Some departments used paper forms while others took freehand notes. At the end of the day, the information was transcribed into spreadsheets, a time-consuming process that introduced another opportunity for data entry errors. This manual entry also caused delays in reporting incidents and requesting equipment maintenance.
Because each department had unique needs, ED3 needed a robust, completely customizable system. To get buy-in, the system needed to be easy to use for everyone from field technicians and inspectors to upper-level managers. Reilly knew streamlining safety and maintenance processes would also increase efficiency. After an exhaustive search, ED3 chose HSI’s EHS Platform due to its configurability and ease-of-use for even the least tech-savvy employees.
Reilly said, “My implementation manager told me with the HSI EHS Platform, the only thing that limits us is our imagination, and that’s held true.”
ED3 was impressed with the range and scalability of the HSI EHS Platform. It records safety incidents and observations while tracking inspections, maintenance requests, work orders, and job completions for equipment ranging from vehicles and lifts to substations and power poles. According to Reilly, “The scalability and robustness of the system convinced us the HSI Platform was the best option to meet our unique needs.”
Two features were key in ED3’s final decision: the ability to customize the system and accessibility for different users.
The ED3 team has complete control over the system to maximize efficiency. When they discover a new need, they can easily create a new checklist or workflow tool. If they hit a stumbling block, their HSI implementation manager is there to help solve problems and offer recommendations based on best practices.
The HSI EHS Platform is integral to maintaining a safe workforce. When a safety-related incident occurs, information is uploaded to the system, notifying the appropriate managers. Any necessary follow-up is automated, allowing ED3 to complete a root cause analysis to create better safety policies and arrange for safety training to prevent future injuries. Says Reilly, “We’re to the point now where we have enough data in the HSI EHS Platform to do analysis on incidents and track trends to see what we’re doing well and where we can improve.”
These processes are all important for workplace safety, but the ability to automatically generate data for OSHA reports was another strong selling point for ED3. When it’s time to submit regulatory reports, they’re created from collected data in the agency’s required format, reducing a several days process down to the click of a mouse.
The fleet shop uses the HSI EHS Platform to track vehicle and equipment maintenance. Employees perform daily inspections before equipment leaves the shop. If they notice something small, like a cracked taillight, the fleet manager receives a repair request with the vehicle’s VIN, make, and model. The part is ordered, and the vehicle is repaired when the part arrives, minimizing downtime.
When a vehicle or piece of equipment needs a larger repair, the fleet manager gets an automated notification. The shop has 24 hours to diagnose or repair the problem. ED3 found reducing equipment downtime leads to a more effective and efficient workflow.
Checklists within the EHS Platform track the life history of the utility’s 12 substations, showing completed inspections and tracking work orders. In addition, ED3 can track inspections for the more than 14,000 power poles within its service area, reducing pole failure and potential outages.
Efficiency and reliability are keys to customer satisfaction and the HSI EHS Platform helps ED3 improve both. Prior to implementation, if an inspector conducting a “meter read” found a problem, they would write a paper report and take pictures, spending the last two hours of their day entering this information into a spreadsheet. Not only did this waste valuable employee time, it was another opportunity for data entry errors.
Next, a coordinator would go through all reports, prioritize work orders, and submit them to the proper department. That department would start the planning process, which may include another site visit. Finally, after parts were ordered and received, the team would complete the work order.
Using the HSI EHS Platform, the inspector uploads the report from the field, including any photos, and the coordinator is notified immediately. “Because the information from inspections goes directly into the HSI EHS Platform, our inspectors spend less time on data entry and more time on field inspections or other important tasks,” according to Reilly.
The technician can speak to the coordinator while still onsite and plan repairs or updates – reducing response times from two or more days to almost immediately.
After less than a year, ED3 has found efficiencies using the HSI EHS Platform. Hundreds of hours are saved per month, vehicles and equipment are back in the field quicker, and work order times have been cut in half. In addition, ED3 benefits from:
- Real-time tracking of safety incidents
- Less time on data entry, resulting in fewer errors
- Comprehensive data analysis to improve safety
- Faster, more efficient equipment maintenance
- Increased customer satisfaction with faster repair response times
- Streamlined OSHA reporting
ED3 uses the HSI EHS Platform to track safety incidents and observations to improve training and submit OSHA reports. Checklists in the plant and equipment modules improve workflows while tracking equipment maintenance needs, reducing repair downtime.
As ED3 continues to implement automations, it expects to become safer and more efficient, leading to an improved work environment where it can better serve the community.