In Case You Missed It: Week Two of the Open Table Conference

OTC Landing Page

VelocityEHS recently hosted the second gathering of our three-part Open Table Conference series. During the first three Thursdays of November, we're bringing our customers, partners, and VelocityEHS subject matter experts together to discuss trending EHS topics, best practices, and innovative technologies to help support our fellow EHS professionals during this critical and challenging time.

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what happened during our Thursday, November 12 event.

Getting the Most from Your Safety Management Metrics

VelocityEHS Domain Leader, Rick Barker, CPE, CSP, delivered an informative session about how to select and use metrics to increase manager involvement and support of any safety management process. Barker provided a description of several common types of metrics that most organizations track:

  • Lagging indicators are consequences of an event. They include metrics like injury and illness rates, days since last injury, lost workdays, and costs. Lagging indicators provide meaningful and directly-observable insights into performance, and often have a direct impact to the bottom line. But, they are also avoidance-based, slow to change and reactive in nature.
  • Leading indicators provide insight into EHS program performance prior to an event happening. These can include risk assessment findings, BBS observations submitted, inspections completed, near misses and process audit results, just to name a few. On the plus side, leading indicators are action-focused, proactive, faster changing and directly manageable. However, they aren’t always clearly linked to outcomes, and can be time-consuming to track.
  • Activity is often a leading indicator and is event-based (e.g. training sessions or number of improvements and corrective actions completed).
  • A blended or composite approach involves tracking multiple lagging and leading indicators, and deriving an overall composite score.
  • Return-on-investment (ROI) figures assign concrete monetary values to otherwise abstract EHS performance concepts, like what it costs to keep workers safe. Unfortunately, ROI metrics can create confusion if the value of safety is quantified only in dollars. For example, if no accidents occur, safety activities wouldn’t be justified by ROI. When there is no readily-visible ROI, safety professionals still need to be able to demonstrate the value of protecting workers. Furthermore, quantifying EHS performance based on monetary value alone can actually send the wrong message and negatively impact your safety culture. It's important for safety professionals to track multiple metrics and to "roll up" the activities (outcome, risk, value, and activity) into a balanced scoreboard.

Barker concluded the session by offering five steps to follow and the questions to ask yourself when initiating a safety management process:

  1. Establish a common goal: Where do you want your process to be?
  2. Get stakeholder input: Who requested it, who ranked it, and why?
  3. Display results in a familiar format: How and where is important information at your organization displayed/communicated?
  4. Provide visibility: How can you best display the information that matters to the people you present it to?
  5. Measure and report: Are you meeting your targets?

Industrial Hygiene Case Study - INEOS

During the day’s second session, we were joined by Barbara Pope, CIH & CSP with INEOS. As a leading global manufacturer of petrochemicals, INEOS is comprised of 34 distinct businesses with a production network spanning 183 facilities in 26 countries throughout the globe. With her more than 30 years of experience managing Industrial Hygiene programs, Barb provided attendees with valuable insights into how INEOS leverages VelocityEHS IH Solutions to maintain and drive their IH program performance.

Barb was also joined by Dave Risi, CIH and Director of Industrial Hygiene at VelocityEHS. Dave also boasts more than 30 years of experience in IH working for companies like Exxon Mobil, and is the creator of VelocityEHS IH Solutions. Interestingly, Barb and Dave are long-time colleagues, and during the session they reminisced about some of the challenges they faced as fellow CIHs.

The Problem

Prior to implementing the VelocityEHS IH solutions, INEOS managed their IH program using legacy database software that dated all the way back to the 1970s. The materials, data, and metrics, according to Pope, “were a mess.” “We had a file cabinet full of old hard-copy data, and the database was full of job categories and old chemicals that didn’t get monitored because the company worked with many different chemical companies,” said Pope.

INEOS determined they needed to update their IH program, but faced with limited internal IT support, lab interface difficulties, staff training challenges, long software update cycles, budget constraints and recent reductions in the number of IH professionals on staff, INEOS realized that an online system to manage the process was necessary.

The Solution

VelocityEHS IH solutions simplified the process and have provided INEOS with enhanced visibility into their qualitative exposure assessments (QEAs), similar exposure groups (SEGs), sampling plans and other critical IH program activities. Technicians (safety personnel) now have a better understanding of where to focus their efforts, which has helped INEOS establish a more efficient IH program. “The reporting features in the tool are great. I am pleased to be able to show the percent of employees’ exposures to a chemical,” says Pope. “This knowledge helps our workers understand when and where to wear a respirator.”

Barb also noted that, “It used to take months to manage SEGs and QEAs using spreadsheets, and I was the only one who saw them. With VelocityEHS, it’s all very quick and easy, and I can easily share that information with management and other stakeholders to help effectively communicate risks.”

“What I’m really excited about now is that I can use a local lab to sample our chemicals. I can drop them off on my way home from work. It’s convenient and less costly,” says Pope. INEOS currently works with HIH Laboratory, Inc., an IH analytical service provider located in the center of Texas’ Refinery Row. By integrating VelocityEHS IH solutions with their laboratory information management system (LIMS), HIH is now able to provide customers like INEOS with faster sample turnaround times and more accurate sample results that can be directly imported into customers’ sample databases.

At the same time, lab integration allows customers like INEOS to instantly access HIH’s sample analysis guides (SAGs) to quickly select the correct sampling methods and protocols, dramatically reducing sampling errors and eliminating the time spent mapping their unique workplace stressors on to HIH’s LIMS.

Dave sums up the value of VelocityEHS IH solutions by adding, “We wanted to put all the complexities of IH program management in the background, and let IH pros focus on what’s most important. It’s technology that’s easy enough for anyone to use, and saves you tons of time and effort in the process. This gives you the ability to move past the stats and technical language to better communicate IH program outcomes and value to both management and production staff.

“I second that,” said Pope.

Watch the full on-demand recording and download the session Q&A.