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XL Industrial Services: Safety Culture Shift After Six Months

May 6, 2016
 / Safety / , / construction safety / , / safety culture / , / world class safety / 

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When XL Industrial Services, Inc. implemented HCSS Safety, the company’s main goal was to eliminate some frustrating paperwork issues.

But within six months of implementation, Ryan Pollack, the XL’s Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager, said the software has completely changed the mechanical, electrical, and coating contractor’s safety culture.

“This application has helped us manage safety to a degree I couldn’t comprehend when we were going through implementation,” Pollack said. “The ability to address real-time issues from hundreds or thousands of miles away has turned us from reactive to proactive in less than six months. Our folks have really taken their use of the mobile app to another level, and our employee engagement for safety activities is better than I’ve seen anywhere I’ve ever worked.”

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XL Industrial Services, based in La Porte, Ind., bought HCSS Safety in June 2015 because they needed better reporting of safety information from the field and easier data analysis.

Pollack said they were receiving all safety information on paper, but with an average of 15 different jobs running at once across the country, he would get huge packets of information at the end of each month.

“If we have five equipment inspections and do a JHA and a toolbox talk daily, that is seven pieces of paper for one day on one job,” Pollack said. “Multiply that by six days a week times four or five weeks on one job, and you’re talking thousands of pieces of paper. To be frank, all we were doing was throwing that the safety paperwork in the job file.”

But within weeks of getting his field workers up and running on HCSS Safety’s mobile application, which can be used on smartphones or tablets, Pollack said he was getting information he never even received on the paper reports.

“In six months we got three near misses reported – which is three more than we’d had in the previous five years – and close to 1600 inspections submitted,” he said. “Of those inspections, we had 80 items identified, safety issues reported, and corrective actions assigned and all closed out in about eight days.”

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The software and application have continued to provide a significant return on investment for XL. The company even won the Indiana Department of Labor’s Governor’s Workplace Safety Award earlier this year for its innovative approach to safety management.

It’s the first safety award XL has received, and Pollack credits that to HCSS Safety.

“There are not many 65-employee companies that have safety managers, and a large part of my job is being out in the field and also shoring up administrative safety items,” he said. “To be proactive is huge. Previously, if we were having an equipment issue, by the time I was able to identify the issue, that equipment had been off the job for two weeks. Now I can work directly with the equipment manager and know how many inspections to expect on a weekly basis.”

XL has a weekly safety audit during which the foremen identify issues in the field. HCSS Safety allows them to document those issues and helps Pollack follow up on the information.

It also helps them stay in compliance with OSHA regulations and customer requirements.

“Every job requires a third-party inspection, and rather than having to give them all this paperwork, now we simply send it to them by email,” Pollack said. “The field guys love it because they don’t have to manage paperwork – all they do is drag the attachment into their email and send it.”

XL heavily uses the skills and certifications features because of those third-party inspections.

Whenever a new employee is sent to a job site, the customer automatically wants to verify their training. The foreman can simply pull up the employee’s certifications on the HCSS Safety app and either show the inspector on the spot or export and email the PDF.

Pollack said the app has changed XL’s safety culture in every way, allowing the company to be more proactive despite working in 30 states.

“Before, we were basically chasing our tails,” Pollack said. “Now there is so much data coming in on a daily basis that if I want to pop in and see how a foreman is doing, I can almost audit the job site without actually being there.”

Pollack encourages his employees to find issues in the field and report them using the app. He said the ability to have leading indicators reported and issues fixed on the same day is jaw-dropping.

“When you’re finding issues to fix, it shows customers that you’re engaged in the safety process,” Pollack said. “When they have a tool like HCSS Safety to be able to report that info and relay it back to the customer, that’s what the customer wants to see. Those are leading indicators. If we’re finding things in the field, we’re preventing issues from happening.”

And the ability to showcase XL’s safety culture to potential clients is extremely important to Pollack.

“We’ve been using it in business development opportunities, and it has certainly made a difference,” he said. “To be able to use the HCSS app and show them what we’re doing and how we pull information is great. Since July of last year, we had 1579 equipment and 139 job site inspections, and our guys in the field are doing those. It’s more or less a way to show current and potential new customers what our culture is like.”

“Our guys are saying now, ‘Safety is cool,’” Pollack said. “That’s the comment I get from the field. Our safety culture is being driven by our employees using the software.”

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