Leveraging Technology to Keep Companies EHS Compliant and Mitigate Risk
Environment, health and safety (EHS) management is critical for businesses to mitigate risk and keep workers safe. At Harvey Building Products, a window, doors and building products manufacturer, an outdated and underutilized legacy system was in place to manage and track health and safety issues and incidents. For a manufacturing company with 2,400 employees operating seven manufacturing sites and 50 distribution centers across the East Coast and Mid-West they were feeling the pain of poor visibility and management of incidents while paying out thousands of dollars annually for worker’s compensation.
In order to better track compliance incidents and maintain EHS records, Harvey Building Product’s EHS Director Frank Matyoka found Quick Base to address various EHS challenges. Since implementing Quick Base earlier this year, Matyoka has built applications to help simplify safety reporting, enhance visual management,standardize work policies, centralize data and implement and track job hazard assessments. With these updates they were able to reduce reportable safety incidents by 31% year to date and lost time by 70%.
There are also plans for future applications to track workers compensation costs and compliance. The impact of these applications has been improved efficiency and a significant reduction in reportable incidents and workers compensation costs.
- The company’s EHS Management Software was too rigid, expensive and difficult to manage
- Record-keeping was siloed, inaccurate and affecting the bottom line for compliance regulations
- There was a high volume of reported EHS incidents and substantial workman’s compensation payouts
- Built a comprehensive EHS application that manages recordable incidents, first aids safety observations, outside audits, property damage, motor vehicle accidents, job hazard assessments and workers compensation
- Built a compliance calendar to identify all required EHS tasks by location to meet all OSHA, city, state and federal environmental regulations
- Significant time and manpower saved on reporting in OSHA templated forms
- 30% reduction in reportable safety incidents from more than 100 recordables a year
- 70 % reduction of lost time days from more than 100 recordables a year
- Saved an estimated $300,000 to $400,000 on workman's compensation payouts from reduced incidents
- Established a common language to improve efficiency and communication across the organization
One-Stop Shop Platform
Managing and continuously improving EHS performance is a high priority within the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing companies like Harvey Building Products must deal with challenges like machine and equipment hazards, trips and falls, and fire hazards, among many others.
Studies have shown that technology and platforms like Quick Base have transformed the way EHS is managed, allowing organizations to use management systems to streamline data collection and reporting, centralize information, improve compliance and enable mobile capability to collect data anytime, any place.
Before Matyoka joined Harvey Building Products in August 2018, the company did not have an EHS manager and was inconsistently using SAP for most of their processes. One of the biggest problems Matyoka identified was that there were health and safety incidents and known hazards that were not being managed, which were reflected in the workers’ compensation.
As part of his role, Matyoka realized he needed a better system to manage lagging indicators, recordable incidents, lost time cases and restricted cases for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) record keeping.
“We were really looking for a one-stop shop for all our environmental health and safety needs,” he said.
He needed something he could quickly implement himself that was also cost effective. That’s when he found Quick Base. In working with the Quick Base team, Matyoka said he has streamlined the system by creating standard work polices that have been implemented across the organization.
He has also written formulas into Quick Base to calculate recordable rates, Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR), Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) and Lost Time Incident Rates (LTIR), which is needed for OSHA record keeping and benchmarking against the industry.
Even with a minimal tech background, Matyoka said he was able to build out these applications.
“If you can Google, you can use Quick Base,” he said.
The company is also currently using Quick Base to implement and track job hazard assessments in two of the company’s seven manufacturing plants with plans to introduce it in others next year.
Compliance is Key
The company has plans for additional Quick Base applications including one tracking workers compensation costs.
Compliance is one of the primary responsibilities of Matyoka’s job. There are many rules and regulations set by OSHA, city, state and federal regulations that must be met in order to stay compliant and keep workers safe.
Matyoka said many manufacturing companies use spreadsheets and handwritten documents as a primary tool to compile data for incident reporting, which was time-consuming and no longer sustainable. Quick Base has helped to automatically generate those forms.
“The time it had taken to manage OSHA documents has nearly disappeared,” he said. “When attempting to manage OSHA recordkeeping standards across numerous locations with a small staff without a management system is very difficult and time consuming, not anymore.”
Reactive to Proactive
Prior to implementing Quick Base, Harvey Building Products was stuck in a reactive cycle having to put out fires as they popped up. Having Quick Base as an EHS management system has allowed them to move forward.
“Now we can properly manage and understand what is happening so [that] we can proactively put measures in place to mitigate or eliminate risk,” Matyoka said.
So far, this has been very effective. Harvey Building Products has seen a 31% reduction in recordable incidents, or 33 less people that were seriously injured year over year. Additionally, there has been a significant reduction in workers’ compensation ranging from $300,000 to $400,000 for the year.
Matyoka said having a simple and configurable system management system is crucial to a successful organization. Without having a system that is dynamic enough for employees to use, they can’t get the information needed to make the most informed decisions.
“Conceptually if you have a basic idea, Quick Base allows you to create the format and process flow of your liking,” he said. “Features such as filtering what people see provides a clean product that makes the tool very user friendly.”
Features like drop down menus have also helped to facilitate a common language within the organization, something that can help eliminate organizational silos and improve communication.
“You can be pretty specific and by doing so you get better data in, better data out,” he said.