EDPR NA Energy Insight
The Importance of Health and Safety in the Energy Transition
April 3, 2023
The health and safety of our team, the communities where we operate, and those we collaborate with are a top priority for our team at EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA). From a team member’s onboarding process to their first step onsite at a project, we work to confirm all health and safety protocols and guidelines are followed. In many instances, we’ve also gone above and beyond expectations, providing industry leadership on how standards are devised, implemented, and ultimately tied to saving lives.
As the Director of Health, Safety, & Quality at EDPR NA, it is my mission to ensure health and safety are visible and prioritized companywide.
Five years ago, EDPR NA’s Executive Vice President of Asset Operations, asked me a simple but thought-provoking question: “How do you make Health and Safety visible to the entire company?” I penciled that question on a post-it note and pasted it on my computer and that one question has become the founding principle upon which EDPR NA’s Health, Safety, & Quality Department builds on every single day.
Raising visibility through the utilization of technology
Back in 2018, as I was driving home, I tuned into an NPR podcast, gravitating toward an episode centered around China’s foray into a social credit system. While in the U.S. we utilize the credit score system to essentially trust someone to pay back borrowed money, China was delving deeper into trustworthiness scoring. Aside from the political and social implications, I was intrigued by two key themes from the discussion – trust and technology – and how they applied to my daily work.
Here begins the journey of the Hero Score – a simple arithmetic equation that looked at two key indicators in terms of safety, our Good Catch program (a leading internal indicator) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Recordable Incident Rate (a lagging indicator). At EDPR NA, the objective of the Good Catch program is to enable quick reporting using your mobile device, to keep everyone safe and prevent downtime by catching issues before they occur. On the other hand, Recordable Incident Rate calculations reflect the number of medical treatment injuries per 100 full-time workers during a one-year period.
To garner a more holistic safety indicator, we developed an inverse scale between the two indicators and assigned a scoring rubric to provide a fleetwide score and a site-specific score. Next, we developed an innovative approach to presenting this information via the dashboard within EDPR NA’s operational workspace for maximum visibility. The team also implemented a robotic process automation to deliver daily notifications to the field Operations teams located across North America.
Overcoming failures to create a successful and dynamic companywide communication method for health and safety
During this process, we had multiple failures, primarily the score was two-dimensional and negatively impacted sites with fewer employees or didn’t account for additional efforts made to improve safety. The team added more metrics around open work orders, fatigue potential, field inspections, and training completion to build a holistic score and enhance our safety culture via transparent communications. If a site has a lower score, they are assigned ownership projects to help build accountability. Furthermore, we dedicated one team member to reading and grading the good catches, and the best ones lead to tangible changes and are highlighted in the daily notifications sent to the company. The Hero Score evolves annually updating to the dynamic context.
Fast forward to the present, the field teams believe that the score is a mechanism for change. The Hero Score is distributed daily across the company, with all departments seeing it as the first message of the day – we have visibility! In 2022, the companywide Climate Survey, with a participation rate of 94%, rated “I am comfortable reporting a safety issue” as the number one response and “EDP provides a safe working environment” as the number three response among participating employees. It makes us extremely proud that we are enabling people organization-wide to engage in the journey, progress in their understanding, and build a culture of organizational excellence.
The post-it is still pasted on my computer with the ink barely legible; however, the concept of using quantitative metrics to make qualitative changes is core to everything we do. We are currently working to develop the Construction Risk Ratio for our active construction sites, and it’s gratifying to know that our team has worked together to do our part to impact how we do business at EDPR NA.
Prashant Krishnan | Director of Health, Safety, and Quality