In 2009, TransAlta introduced decentralized safety management to provide a more hands-on approach and ensure shared accountability. The intent is to embed safety responsibilities in all jobs, at all levels.
Through 2009, all TransAlta departments documented and published their safety goals on the company intranet. In 2010, a campaign to refocus employees on safe work practices is being introduced. Additionally, we are reinvigorating existing programs such as:
- Safe Start – an internationally recognized program that trains employees to be safety-aware
- Hazard assessment – our approach has been enhanced and standardized for all locations. Before the start of any job, a Field Level Hazard Assessment card is completed
- Near-miss reporting – renewed focus on identifying near-misses increases safety awareness and addresses potential hazards prior to an incident occurring
- Work management program – an online system that standardizes and centralizes work permits and processes across the company; the automated process ensures that when safety-sensitive tasks are entered, the applicant addresses appropriate safety steps
All safety programs will be expanded in 2010 to include the facilities and staff acquired from Canadian Hydro Developers in 2009.
Near miss / hazard reporting
Employees and contractors are required to report hazards and near miss incidents to improve safety awareness, ensure mitigation of safety hazards, and prevent incidents from occurring. This is one of several leading indicators TransAlta tracks to improve safety performance. In 2009, 21 per cent fewer near miss and hazards were reported than in 2008.
Since 2001, in-house certification has been mandatory for vendors performing high risk tasks for TransAlta. In late 2008, the company also implemented a system that qualifies vendors for all safety-sensitive work before it is awarded. Vendors are assigned a level of certification; employees know from their assigned level how much supervision is required.
TransAlta routinely investigates any safety-related incident or near miss. In 2009, our approach was standardized using Taproot, an industry-recognized best practice for investigations. This tool allows for a systematic approach to determining the root cause of any occurrence. The safety portion of the tool was introduced at select sites in 2009; remaining sites will receive it in 2010.
TransAlta is examining its electrical safe work procedures to ensure they meet industry best practices as part of a consistent Electrical Safety Program. The goal is to reduce the potential for incidents and is in response to new Canadian electrical workplace safety standards. The processes will be developed and implemented in 2010.