Digital transformation in EHS – Lessons from 10 Innovation Award Winners

Verdantix EHS Innovation Award Trophy awarded to Transnet Engineering

On 6 June 2017, Independent Analyst Firm, Verdantix CEO David Metcalfe, hosted a webinar that dove how the winners of the 2017 EHS Innovation Award are driving digital transformation in Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) at their respective organizations and the key lessons from each.

According to David, “The EHS function could become obsolete if it does not take advantage of technology advancements.” (Verdantix, Lessons Learnt From Ten EHS Innovation Award Winners, 6 June 2017) He encourages EHS teams to lead digital transformation within their organizations rather than being agnostic or opposed to technology.

Failing to align with powerful technology innovations poses risks to EHS just as much as it does to the entire business. As such, David encourages EHS leaders to remain educated about technological advancements and their relevance to EHS to avoid becoming obsolete. EHS leades can do this “by drafting an EHS business plan which covers people, process, technology and data, and aligning your technology roadmap with corporate IT strategy,” he explains.

How EHS Innovation Award Winners are implementing Digital Transformation:

1. Louisiana-Pacific – Construction & Building Materials

Louisiana-Pacific (LP) is a manufacturer of engineered wood, based in Nashville, Tennessee. They have 24 four mills and 3 900 employees. LP implemented centralized, corporate-wide incident reporting involving frontline workers and expanded their EHS reporting to supervisor level. They achieved a 1 240% increase near miss reporting, 780% increase in reporting injuries and 1 905% increase in assigned corrective actions.

They found that well-designed technology solutions could better engage users in the organization’s safety culture, and dramatically improve visibility into safety and risk. EHS managers can drive engagement by planning to act on this information.

2. Comcast – Consumer Products and Services

Comcast is an American global telecommunications conglomerate, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Comcast has 153 000 employees and revenue in excess of $80 billion pa. While Comcast are relatively low risk in terms of health and safety, they realized that they could get a big return on ergonomics.

Comcast implemented a single centralized system for ergonomics assessments. According to David, Comcast won the award for “engaging so many users with a self-assessment tool that had been designed in a way that people felt it benefitted them.”

They reduced the time spent resolving ergonomics issues by 33%, which resulted in significant cost savings.

In low EHS risk industries, technology can still be deployed to reduce injuries and save money, and Comcast found that self-help resources that drive corrective actions are very cost effective, and allow the organization to track productivity improvements.

3. Kinder Morgan – Energy Services and Infrastructure

Kinder Morgan is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, based in Houston, Texas. They specialize in pipeline transport and oil storage and have 12 000 employees.

Kinder Morgan implemented a new incident management system with EHS data analytics in a project that took 12 months. Automation tools ensured consistency in near-misses management and provided better data visibility for management review.

Kinder Morgan found that technical enablers improve reporting and discipline, and they found benchmarking incident data and risk analysis with customers of the implemented software tool was particularly valuable to the Kinder Morgan team.

4. Nestlé – Food and Beverages

Nestlé is a Swiss food and drink company and is the largest food company in the world, with 335 000 employees and annual revenue of $92.18 billion. Nestlé required a single platform to cover all their non-financial reporting and a means to collect data worldwide for their environmental and sustainability reporting that expanded into incident management and safety metrics.

They were able to log incidents and review incident data at 1 400 facilities across 100 countries, as well as capture energy, waste and water indicators across 500 facilities. More importantly, the system allowed them to report according to country-specific standards with ready-to-use templates.

They learnt that software facilitates certification with OHSAS 19001 and ISO 14001, and they were able to greatly improve visibility of their of performance data at local level.

5. Fiat Chrysler – Manufacturing

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is an Italian-controlled multinational corporation, incorporated in the Netherlands. They are currently the world’s seventh-largest automaker with 225 587 employees. Fiat Chrysler adopted a single EHS platform to manage data across 40 countries using an EHS software platform that included a mobile platform and app.

They experienced an increased efficiency of KPI collection and greater consistency in reporting across enterprise-wide metrics. The software allowed them real-time access to 1 000 indicators and dashboards.

Fiat Chrysler were able to automate alerts and notifications and produce systematic reports in line with a pre-set criteria customized by employees.

6. PotashCorp – flexible platform adapted to evolving EHS processes

PotashCorp are a Canadian corporation and are the world’s largest producer of potash. They have 5 703 employees and an annual revenue of $8.03 billion.

Potash implemented EHS platforms for ongoing coverage of their evolving EHS processes. They achieved the flexibility required for rapid development and time to market, as well as the ability to configure with minimal IT support and maintenance. This gave them higher visibility and control over their business processes.

7. TEVA Pharmaceuticals – Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare

Teva Pharmaceutical is an Israeli multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Petah Tikva, Israel. It specializes primarily in generic drugs and is the largest generic drug manufacturer in the world. Teva Pharmaceuticals has 43 000 employees and $20.3 billion in annual revenue.

Teva Pharmaceuticals implemented an integrated EHS platform that eliminated duplication through the integration of distinct transparency and visibility of data and greatly reduced their reporting workload.

They found that stakeholder engagement was crucial to the success of the project and that user acceptance was aided by blueprinting and iterative engagement of users.

8. UCOR – Public Sector

UCOR is the Department of Energy Oak Ridge, Tennessee Office's cleanup contractor for the Oak Ridge Reservation, where nuclear bombs used in WWII were manufactured. UCOR is primarily tasked with cleaning up East Tennessee Technology Park but also performs clean up at other Reservation sites.

UCOR were commended for having 20% of their 1 400 employees in EHS roles. The EHS data analytics and Virtual relating training RFID tags, which sped up the removal of hazardous wastes contributed to 9 million hours without a lost-time incident. The RFID tags contributed to $15.6 million in savings in hazardous waste management. There was a 26% increase in participation in safety culture programs.

9. Transnet Engineering – Transport and logistics

Transnet Engineering is a subsidiary of Transnet, whose business it is to keep South Africa's trains rolling. Transnet Engineering's responsibility includes the maintenance, upgrade, and manufacture of locomotives, wagons, coaches, rolling stock components and associated transport equipment.

Transnet Engineering implemented a standard EHS framework to automate compliance with ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001 with EHS software and EHS data analytics and dashboards. This resulted in a 59% decrease in their lost time injury frequency rate. Transnet also experienced a significant decrease in hand injuries. Previously the data that led to programs focused on reducing injuries had been hidden in disparate spreadsheets. and discovered that this data was previously hidden in disparate spreadsheets. Transnet Engineering also achieved an 83% cost reduction in external audits.

Transnet Engineering gained significant benefit from automating the tracking of documents, sending notifications for expiry dates and actions, and linking documents to the last person who modified them.

10. Total – Upstream oil and gas

Total S.A. is a French multinational integrated oil and gas company and one of the seven supermajor oil companies in the world. Total has 102 168 employees and an annual revenue of $127.9 billion.

Total adopted drones for geospatial data for site remediation and for inspection of a 220220-acres processing plant.

They were able to use time-lapse imagery and simultaneously collect datasets. This maximized their time and cost efficiencies from two weeks to one day. This project confirms that drones will have a big role to play in future remediation projects because drones allowed them to overcome site access restraints and afforded higher accuracy and significant cost reductions.

Technologies for Digital Transfomation to watch

According to David, the six technological trends EHS leaders should prioritize in their digital transformation strategies in 2017 and beyond are:

  1. Mobile apps for audit incidents and observations
  2. Enhancing EHS software user experience
  3. Drones for site inspection
  4. Virtual reality safety training
  5. Digital safety vests
  6. Fatigue monitors for drivers

He concluded the webinar by stating that “EHS leaders without a vision for the value of data and technology as part of their management systems risk becoming obsolete.”