Knife River Corporation, a construction / aggregate company, contacted Caterpillar Safety Services for safety culture solutions in 2006. That is when the journey of sustainable change began for Knife River. The culture change initiative was kicked off with the Caterpillar Safety Services Zero Incident Performance (ZIP™) Process.
Through a Leadership Roundtable session for internal buy-in, Caterpillar Safety Services ensured the executive team was on board and engaged. Knife River also conducted the Caterpillar Safety Services statistically valid Safety Perception Survey to get a baseline for the current culture and determine major perception gaps throughout the organization. The results of the survey provided clear areas for improvement, and at that time, Caterpillar Safety Services led a strategic planning session to build a plan to move toward a sustainable culture of safety excellence.
Since Knife River really wanted to take ownership of this process, Train-the-Trainer sessions were requested. In response, Caterpillar Safety Services consultants trained Knife River trainers on how to conduct and lead Continuous Improvement teams through Kaizen events. Multiple Continuous Improvement teams throughout the organization worked to develop, implement and check new processes for their safety observation program along with other areas in safety.
With the tools and processes learned from Caterpillar Safety Services, Knife River employees started applying these principles to solve problems in areas other than safety. They proudly took ownership of these principles and made it a part of their culture and how they work.
Over the course of two years, Caterpillar Safety Services engaged with and supported Knife River on their road to safety excellence. In 2010, Knife River marked a safety milestone by reducing their recordable-incident rate by 19 percent from 2009 and 50 percent lower than the national industry average.
Their commitment to safety has drastically improved Knife River safety metrics, reduced costs, but most importantly, saved lives. Having a solid safety record has also created a competitive advantage for Knife River.