Hawaiian Electric Company

What does a shift in safety culture look like? It starts with a change in attitude, but manifests through very visible commitments to zero-incident performance. Ken Morikami, Manager of Hawaiian Electric Company’s Heath, Safety and Security Department, sees culture change happening throughout his organization every day. As a result of employee-driven safety programs and activities implemented in 2011, performance is improving steadily in measureable ways.

“Each and every one of us must take ownership in this safety journey,” said Morikami, who pointed to a specific milestone marked this quarter. “In years past, our Safety Division would present goals to the entire corporation in an annual safety kickoff, but this year each department is leading its own safety kickoff with information, activities and programs unique to the type of work it does.”

As part of its strategy to develop a good safety record into a culture of safety excellence, five of HECO’s process areas are now fully engaged in the Caterpillar Safety Services Zero-Incident Performance (ZIP™) Process. The mission kicked into overdrive this year under the guidance of Caterpillar Safety Services newcomer Charles Doane, whose 25 years of experience driving safety culture excellence in Fortune 500 companies primed him to share with HECO proven techniques for sustainable incident reduction.

“I’ve been really impressed with Charles’ facilitation, his good ideas and his past safety experience,” Morikami said. “He shares a lot of valuable stories with us that lead to good, meaningful discussions about the areas in which we can improve.”

Three Continuous Improvement Teams in HECO’s Energy Delivery process area have been formed and are currently identifying action items to improve upon processes and programs. Meanwhile, Doane is guiding some 1,275 employees in the delivery, generation, customer service, system operations and corporate service areas through Safety Culture Excellence Workshops.

“The steering teams at HECO recognized that success in this journey was contingent on everyone throughout the organization understanding the value and importance of a strong safety culture,” said Doane. “The HECO leadership is demonstrating tremendous dedication to this effort - it’s not easy to commit everyone in your organization to six-hour training workshops.”

The commitment is born from HECO’s goal to reach the top tier of safety excellence in the electric power industry. “It’s exciting to work with Caterpillar Safety Services on this program that has a track record of helping other utilities accomplish world-class safety records,” Morikami said.

“This group is fully engaged and absolutely on board with making safety a way of business,” Doane said. “They recognize that safety and productivity aren’t at odds - the most successful companies integrate the two. I’m positive that HECO will see great improvement as we move through this process.”

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