Large environmental disasters like the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill have helped raise the issue of safety to the forefront of today’s industry talk. Companies constantly strive to prevent injuries to their employees and promote a safe work environment in the office and at project sites. Health and safety are important because GAI wants all of our employees to be healthy and safe. EHS Manager Michael Anderson states, “We want employees to go home in the evening, just as healthy and safe as they were when they arrived in the morning.”
According to OSHA, a recordable incident is “an injury or illness … [as] an event or exposure in the work environment [that] either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.” Companies gauge safety by several industry standards. The two most common are the Experience Modification Rate (EMR) and The Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR). Many of these injuries can be prevented through safety awareness programs.
The EMR compares a company’s workers’ compensation claims experience to other employers of similar payroll size and service. The TRIR is the number of recordable incidents multiplied by 200,000 divided by the total labor hours worked. The 200,000 in this calculation equals work-hours for 100 employees working 40 hours per week for 50 weeks.
In addition to the moral imperative, safety makes sound business sense. Between medical costs, lost earnings, workers’ compensation, benefit payments, rehiring, and training new employees, a single accident may cost much more than a higher recordable incident count. There is also the political fallout associated with accidents, especially within industries that are considered high risk. Compounding those costs, the more accidents a company has, the more difficult it is to win work. Safety conscious clients often keep tabs on the safety records of the firms that they hire.
Many workplace injuries can be prevented through safety awareness programs. GAI Consultants seeks to better our safety performance through programs such as the “Lessons Learned” bulletins sent after a recordable incident, weekly safety topics emailed throughout the firm, an automated tracking system on our internal site totaling days without an incident, and numerous other internal communication programs throughout the company. Offices and Business Units that reach certain milestones, such as a five-year stretch of zero recordable incidents, are recognized for their achievements.
Educational programs also help reduce accidents. And with programs like our “Leading Indicator Program,” where employees are encouraged to identify potential accidents before they occur, and the Safe Driver Program, which teaches field staff how to drive defensively both on and off the road, GAI seeks to reduce the annual number of incidents to zero.
GAI’s Health and Safety Program Vision begins with this sentence: “Safety is the foundation of our success and a core corporate value.” Compared with other engineering firms, Mr. Anderson believes GAI is exceptionally proactive in communicating safety awareness. GAI’s policy on safety is “We inspect what we expect.” It is this kind of passion for safety that keeps our clients satisfied that we are taking their safety records as seriously as our own.