ZeroQuestr is designed to assist companies in building a sustainable health and safety program using a four-level process-Commitment, Effort, Outcomes and Sustainability. In order to be awarded the ZeroQuestr Outcomes award, Guelph Hydro was required to assess efforts to maintain and sustain its health and safety systems, while checking and identifying areas for improvement and correcting any deficiencies.
The ultimate goal of ZeroQuestr is the achievement of zero injuries. Guelph Hydro reached the safety milestone of 750,000 hours worked with no lost-time incidents in 2010.
Guelph Hydro employees work in varying environments - offices, construction sites and on the streets of our communities - each of which poses its own set of health and safety hazards. Emergency crews responding to power outages, for example, not only have to cope with the dangers associated with working with electrical equipment but also often have to deal with harsh weather conditions that add to the challenge of ensuring worker safety.
Behind the scenes, Guelph Hydro has a comprehensive safety management system in place that 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.
o Safety training courses conducted in 2010 included: Confined Space Entry Retrieval, Bucket Evacuation, Pole-Top Rescue and Fall Arrest, First Aid, CPR and Automated Defibrillator Use.
o Contractors also receive safety training to ensure they meet the same high standards of safety.
Guelph Hydro extends its commitment to safety beyond the work environment into the communities it serves by providing electrical safety training for elementary school students. During these sessions, children from Kindergarten to Grade 7 learn about the hazards posed by outlets, appliances, substations, transformer, hydro poles and overhead electrical wire.
"Guelph Hydro has made amazing progress in workplace health and safety, progress that is easily measured through the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association's ZeroQuestr program," says Chris McKean, Manager of Prevention Specialty Services of the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association. "This accomplishment demonstrates the commitment and effort made by Guelph Hydro employees. The result is that Guelph Hydro is performing among the top dozen Ontario utilities in our ZeroQuestr program."
"We are incredibly proud of all of our employees for doing what it takes to work safely, day after day," says Barry Chuddy, Chief Executive Officer of Guelph Hydro Inc. "Our number one priority in delivering a reliable supply of electricity to our customers is to ensure the safety of our employees, contractors and the public. This accomplishment is a clear indication that each and every one of our employees has made a personal commitment to follow established safe work practices and procedures, identify hazards and work safely every day."