Guelph Hydro lands ZeroQuest Sustainability award for safety excellence
By Anthony Capkun
October 18, 2013 – Guelph Hydro Inc. says it has received the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association’s ZeroQuest Sustainability award for safety excellence, which recognizes the utility’s efforts to sustain and continuously improve its safety performance, health & safety management systems and safety culture. Congratulations!
“Safety starts with people… people who take safety seriously and watch out for each other every day. Back that up with established safe work practices and procedures, training programs, and investigations into near misses and you have the makings of a safe workplace,” explained Kazi Marouf, Guelph Hydro’s COO.
This is the highest level of recognition a company can achieve in the ZeroQuest program, says Guelph Hydro, adding it is one of only two electricity distribution utilities in Ontario to have achieved this award level.
As the name implies, ZeroQuest’s ultimate goal is the achievement of zero injuries. It does this by helping companies build a sustainable health & safety program using a four- level process: Commitment, Effort, Outcomes and Sustainability.
IHSA conducted annual reviews of Guelph Hydro’s health & safety documentation and performed onsite verification interviews. The utility also had to successfully meet the requirements for the Outcomes level for five consecutive years before being considered for a Sustainability award.
One of the key reasons for Guelph Hydro’s safety excellence, explains the utility, is its comprehensive safety management system, which consists of four components:
• Regular workplace safety inspections and site visits.
• A Loss Prevention Program that incorporates root cause analysis of any incidents or near misses.
• Material and work standards for job planning and the purchase of tools and equipment.
• Safety training for all employees (including contractors).
“To be one of the first electric utilities in Ontario to achieve the Sustainability level in safety is a great achievement,” said David Steinschifter, COR Safety Group Consultant, Zeroquest auditor. “Behind the scenes, Guelph Hydro clearly has effective policies and work procedures in place. But, it is the safety culture that has been engrained in the company that really sets you apart.”
Guelph Hydro says it extends its commitment to safety beyond the work environment into the communities it serves by providing:
• Electrical safety training for elementary school students
• Electrical safety advertising and radio spots
• Public safety announcements outlining the hazards associated with overhead powerlines
• Specialized safety training for first responders, highlighting new hazards presented by rooftop solar panels and electric vehicles
PHOTO: Paul Drone (left) and Colleen Pearce (right), members of the Guelph Hydro Joint Health & Safety Committee, accept the Zeroquest Sustainability Award from David Steinschifter, Zeroquest Auditor for IHSA.