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Safety Success Stories: Integrating OSH Information Management Systems

Nov 28, 2023

Closeup of workers in a semiconductor facilityOrganizations and safety professionals depend on good data to operate efficiently and effectively. If that data is mismanaged, it can create confusion and additional work for teams.

This is an issue Travis Kruse, Ph.D., CSP, CHMM, senior director of safety and sustainability solutions strategy at Grainger, experienced firsthand when he worked in the semiconductor industry.

The Problem

Two semiconductor companies merged, each with separate occupational safety and health (OSH) information management systems. These management systems were vastly different but had two things in common: They were inefficient and unscalable. The companies were working from 37 different spreadsheets and databases that were decentralized and required a lot of manual manipulation.

These spreadsheets were used to track data points such as KPIs, inspections, root cause analyses, corrective actions, natural resource usage, recordable injuries, first aid injuries and near miss events. With this structure, each OSH team member was spending 10 hours per week managing and reporting data.

Following the merger, the new organization had multiple physical locations around the globe, an increased number of products and services, and the employee headcount had doubled. These facilities and services had a unique risk profile with high-level hazards. They were also subject to U.S. and international regulations, as well as customer requirements.

“We knew very quickly that we had to get smarter and do better with our information management to be more effective in our roles,” says Kruse. “We needed an integrated management system as well as an information management system to help us execute against our customer, regulatory and internal requirements.”

The Solution

The team developed an integrated OSH management system built around the ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and ANSI/ASSP Z10 standards as well as guidance from OSHA recognition programs. The system consisted of four major pillars:

  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Validation
  • Rapid problem solving

Prior to the integration, the organizations had primarily site-specific policies and procedures. The new management system allowed them to enhance and globalize business processes, policies and procedures. It emphasized management engagement and risk mitigation.       

The Outcome

The integration led to new initiatives. For example, the organization began conducting risk assessments during regular walk-throughs of facilities and communicating with team members about lessons learned through root cause analyses. Employees were also given the authority to stop or continue work based on risk assessments.

Other measures included annual compliance training, an OSH event tracking system, a site incident prevention plan, a chemical information management system and an audit system designed to check against internal OSH management system requirements.

An online portal contained each of these digitized elements, providing streamlined and scalable OSH business processes. This allowed for greater data integrity and compliance assurance. The data was then used to drive positive change, provide greater transparency and build customer trust. 

The OSH event tracking system recorded incidents and events such as injuries, spills, regulatory inspections, property damage, near misses and corporate audits. Performance metrics were tracked for business groups and physical locations across the organization, which were held accountable for leading and lagging indicators. All this information was accessible on desktop and mobile devices.

With this structure, business leaders were able to make more informed decisions based on data and increase worker participation. The organization saw a decrease in incident rates, as well as improvement in its preventative action.

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