While lagging indicators continue to trend positively, moving into 2023 there will be a major push into more proactive metric reporting and analysis.
Potentially Severe Event (PSE) identification and remediation will allow the organization to identify events with potentially severe outcomes, regardless of actual injury or property damage.
Identifying these types of incidents, investigating thoroughly, and developing manageable corrective actions and mitigation steps will allow us to focus on prevention of incidents, rather than managing incidents.
TRIR is calculated as the number of incidents, multiplied by 200,000, then divided by the total number of hours worked in a year. The number 200,000 is used because it is the total number of hours 100 employees would work in a year (100 workers x 40 hours x 50 weeks).
Safety is a core value at VLS. We are committed to the health and safety of our 1,000+ employees, clients, contractors and communities. The VLS board of directors holds executive leaders accountable for establishing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace. Our Chief Executive Officer (CEO), General Counsel and Head of Environmental, Safety and Governance (ESG) and other executive leaders monitor our safety performance weekly and participate in an annual ESG strategic planning meeting to discuss safety initiatives and review results
We provide a variety of resources to give employees the knowledge, tools and procedures they need to do their jobs safely. Safety expectations are covered in our employee handbook. All personnel working at a VLS location are required to follow the VLS Safety Policy guiding principles of shared responsibility, foreseeable hazard elimination, established procedures and operating philosophies, regulatory compliance and continuous improvement. They must also adhere to our EHS Management System and EHS manual, which describe the primary processes that support safe work.
To prevent incidents and injuries, VLS provides safeguards, training and PPE, and investigates accidents to determine the root cause to prevent reoccurrence. Safety is a topic of discussion at weekly meetings of all vice presidents and directors and at biweekly meetings of the Director of Health and Safety and their direct reports. Required daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly safety activities, including safety training and compliance, are outlined in our Site Manager Playbook.”
VLS complies with all applicable OSHA workplace requirements and maintains health and safety standards that meet or exceed industry best practices. Compliance with regulations and company policies for training, incident reporting, corrective actions and other metrics is tracked in our online e-compliance system. Current metrics are accessible to EHS employees via the system dashboard.
Due to our continuing expansion, VLS employees drove more than 6 million miles in 2022. General guidelines for safely operating company cars, forklifts and other motorized vehicles are covered in our Safety Essentials. In addition, employees must comply with the driving-related policies in the employee handbook, including having a driving record that meets the strict guidelines set by our insurance company if they drive a company vehicle.
The VLS transportation safety program is aimed at preventing vehicle incidents and accidents and complying with DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations. To encourage safe driving, we deploy a third-party system to track predictive and preventive driver behaviors. Any job-related automotive accident must be reported as soon as possible to the employee’s supervisor, an EHS representative and local law enforcement.
If incidents or injuries occur, employees must report them immediately to a supervisor or safety representative. The VLS CEO and all executives receive and review incident reports. Senior leadership and responsible parties investigate incidents thoroughly, determine the root cause, develop corrective actions and take mitigation steps. Incidents and corrective actions are tracked to closure in our e-compliance tool to help us reach our goal of zero incidents and injuries.
We share lessons learned in Safety Flash communications that review incidents, regulatory issues, near misses, hazards, corrective actions and best practices. Incident specific Safety Flash documents, as well as scheduled issues highlighting our policies and practices, are available in English and Spanish.
Internal and third-party inspections and audits are a primary method of identifying and addressing issues to continuously improve safety and compliance. EHS representatives perform 10-12 walkthroughs annually at each location to find and eliminate unsafe working conditions, control health hazards and comply with all applicable OSHA requirements. Comprehensive EHS audits performed quarterly by different EHS leaders to assess potential hazards, safety essentials compliance, housekeeping and other health and safety issues. We also conduct undocumented visual inspections, daily forklift and heavy equipment inspections, and OSHA-mandated scheduled equipment inspections. We track inspection and audit action items in our e-compliance database and review progress in EHS staff and steering committee meetings to drive improvement.
In addition, we maintain constant readiness for announced and unannounced audits of our operations by clients who use our services.
We expect our contractors to maintain health and safety programs and we require them to have OSHA logs relevant to the work they perform before they come to our sites. Contractors who work on-site must complete a safety orientation checklist daily at the beginning of each work shift and submit it to the VLS project manager. The checklist helps ensure that contractors are aware of their obligation to adhere to our policies, stop work authority, reporting procedures and other safety and health requirements. In 2023, we will roll out additional weekly safety requirements for on-site contractors.
To learn more about what VLS service is right for you, or to speak with someone to customize a program to help you achieve your environmental goals, contact VLS Environmental Services.