Techmation Electric & Controls is the gold winner in the oil and gas category for the 2014 Canada's Safest Employers Awards
Ensuring 1,100 employees go home safely every day is everyone’s business at Airdrie, Alta.-based Techmation Electric & Controls. The company delivers heavy-industry electrical and instrumentation services to companies across Western Canada — among them Husky, Encana, Apache Canada and Canadian Natural Resources.
The massive jobs come with unique safety challenges that include working on large sites with hundreds of tradespeople or being sent to remote locations with just a few. It means working around high voltages and currents that present huge risks. Four hundred service vehicles that log more than 20 million kilometres annually take workers and equipment to various sites.
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“To meet our goal of keeping all of us safe all the time, we hold everyone accountable for using safe practices and procedures,” says health, safety and environment manager Tyler Smith. “The company also works constantly to provide employees with a safety net of proper work facilities, up-to-date equipment, efficient practices and procedures and hands-on support.”
This has paid off in 13 years without a lost-time incident and declining total recordable incident frequency (TRIF) rates. Over the past three years, the overall TRIF average has been 0.49, while vehicle rates have declined from 0.90 in 2011 to 0.74 in 2013.
According to Smith, president Derek Polsfut’s passion for safety permeates the company. Polsfut demonstrates his belief that safety leadership must come from the top by staying current on safety regulations and codes — and even attending safety meetings. This also reflects the company’s philosophy of using face-to-face meetings for relaying information to employees. However, the latest technology in tracking, training and communications reinforces the corporate safety net.
“Techmation’s safety culture did not happen by accident; it was executed by hard work and dedication,” adds project manager Kurtis Kimball.
Many initiatives that contribute to the safety culture rely on innovative technology. For example, Techmation’s trucks are equipped with the latest GPS monitoring systems that not only track the location of every truck at any given time but also report the speed at which they are travelling. Workers in remote areas have satellite phones and must call in every four hours to let their supervisors know they are safe. The company has also introduced “world-class” e-learning modules for orientation and ongoing training that are well-received and effective, says Smith.
“Both employees and management recognize that a safe workplace is a successful one,” he says. “And that’s the bottom line.”
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