Hello from Southern Saskatchewan

DF SafetyHSE Compliance, Management and Leadership, Workplace Safety

Wind farm

Hello from Southern Saskatchewan! You might be wondering what we are doing here, and to answer that, we are performing a Safety Systems Review on several renewable energy projects for one of our clients! Incredibly exciting work for a few reasons: 

  1. We are working for a great client who displays a commitment to safety excellence and are always a pleasure to work for. 
  1. Renewable energy (solar and wind) is a new area for DFS and one we have always found remarkably interesting. 
  1. We have a new employee, Alyssa, who just graduated from a University OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) Program and is getting her first taste of field work. Alyssa will be introducing herself in one of our upcoming blogs, stay tuned! 

What is a Safety Systems Review?  

If I had to classify it, it would be somewhere between an inspection and a formal audit. We review the physical site, actively engage personnel and review documentation. It is less formal than an audit as it would not utilize a score sheet and set criteria, nor would it involve formal interviews (with predetermined questions) of a set percentage of workers, supervisors, and managers. We come in, evaluate, and then put together a report of what we observed.  

What are the advantages of a Project Safety Review? 

The first, and most obvious, is that it is done by an individual or small team that is not associated with the project. This gives the evaluators an advantage when it comes to hazard assessment. When you see things for the first time, you notice things that are unusual or out of place. When you are on a site every day, these things often become part of the background.  

Another advantage of a Project Safety Review is that is it not restricted to a certain scope. Formal audits are designed to evaluate a set criterion, often a set industry group criteria for example. This type of audit might be particularly good at seeing if you have required systems in place, but an informal review can be more easily targeted. We focus on anything that you want us to! This is a wonderful way to identify known or suspected problem areas or to confirm that an element of your program is working as you intend it to. Of course, we can also go in and do a general review of an entire operation. Flexibility is a key advantage! 

The last major advantage is that an informal review causes truly little disruption to the project in comparison to a full formal audit. For example, workers and supervision are not taken away from the workface for formal audit questions. Instead, workers are spoken to on site while the work is in progress causing minimal disruption and down time. This, and the reduced amount of formal documentation generated, also results in a time savings for the review team. An informal review is quicker and less expensive than a formal audit. 

How could it benefit my organization? 

There are several benefits that an organization could receive from an external Project Safety Review. You will most certainly receive recommendations for improvement that could be applied. A multi-site review will tell you how consistent your program is between projects and may also identify best practices or initiatives on one project that could be applied more universally. In sort, it is an efficient way to identify potential improvements.  

That is all for this week! Stay safe out there, and if you are in Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, try to stay in the shade and keep well hydrated. The truck thermometer has read 37C here two days in a row! Got to love the Canadian Prairies!