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Improving Working Skill, Perfecting EHS Procedure--EHS Academy Business Case Sharing

Improving Working Skill, Perfecting EHS Procedure--EHS Academy Business Success Story

Yang YU, an EHS manager working for Fortune Electric (Wuhan) Ltd, faces many challenges in improving the EHS performance of Fortune's manufacturing facilities. Fortune produces large-scale transformers used in power stations and sizeable industrial plants, supplying its products to local Chinese firms as well as international firms like General Electric (GE). As demand for EHS performance has increased from government, multinational buyers, financiers, and the public, competition in the global marketplace has required such improvement. Accordingly, Fortune began putting more and more emphasis on EHS management. When Yu Yang first began at Fortune in 2005, his primary responsibilities were related to human resources management. At that time, his understanding of EHS was limited to the use of simple personal protective equipment and addressing work-related injuries. After becoming the EHS team leader, he discovered that in order to eliminate EHS hazards, improve their 5S (industrial hygiene-related) performance, and address problems found during EHS field audits of his clients, and so forth, required a sophisticated understanding of how to identify and manage EHS issues effectively, whereas such aptitude could not be achieved through passion and basic knowledge alone. He needed to acquire significant specialized knowledge and understand how to develop an effective, comprehensive EHS management program.

On a recommendation from GE, Yu Yang sought out ISC EHS Academy (Guangdong) at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. The EHS Academy offers comprehensive instruction for EHS managers looking to improve their technical and management skills. Over a period of 15 days in 2009 and early 2010, Yu completed all 11 courses in the 3 core training modules offered by the Academy. This level of investment in time and energy shows not only a strong personal commitment to EHS management, but also strong support from Fortune's management team.

"The courses totally changed my mindset regarding the value of environment, health, and safety to overall business sustainability," Yu says. "The Academy curriculum systematically gave me a comprehensive understanding of EHS management, starting with entry-level courses and then moving on to skill building and more advanced courses. I am much more confident than I was before."

During the training, Yu learned how to conduct assessments and routine inspections by engaging the leadership teams of each key department within the enterprise. This EHS evaluation program is now conducted on a weekly basis, led by department managers, and all findings and corrective actions are communicated with plant employees via public bulletin boards. Yu says that, "because all the departments have ownership of their EHS performance and it is now tied to their overall performance evaluations, the company overall now and is much better able to mobilize its resources to achieve EHS improvements." Yu not only made full use of the training time to strengthen his own EHS expertise, he also brought the training materials themselves back to his workplace, and customized them to the needs of different departments and colleagues, from entry-level employees on up. In cultivating a comprehensive understanding of EHS management across staff, he put into practiced all the theory he learnt from training, and greatly strengthened Fortune's expertise and leadership in EHS management. Some examples of specific actions include strengthening protection equipment on the punching machine, and regularly replacing water supplies in the fire-fighting facilities.

The efforts of Yu and his team have been paying off in terms of worker safety. From 2005 to 2008, the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate was 55 points and peaked at 84 points in 2009 (where larger numbers indicate poorer performance). Beginning in 2010, this rate fell until, in the first half of 2011, it was only 5 points.

As to environmental protection, Fortune has increased its emphasis on sewage and solid waste management within the plant, raising employee awareness of environmental health, and investing in facility upgrades to enable separate treatment of different categories of solid wastes. They also enhanced the storage of transformer oil in order to reduce occurrences of leakage.

Finally, Fortune has also increased its energy efficiency and reduced emissions through energy conservation measures and facility upgrades. Between 2009 and 2011, its carbon emissions fell from 752 tons to 610 tons, an improvement of 19%.

Fortune's commitment and performance have been so exemplary that GE chose them to present at their annual Supplier Summit as the model EHS factory of 2010.

In 2011, Fortune has actively pursued compliance with ISO14000 and OHSAS18000 standards, with the goal of being awarded the Environmental Protection Green Certificate by the Wuhan Municipal Government.

"Our most recent client EHS audit," Yu says with pride, "showed a reduction of findings, particularly repeat findings, compared with previous audits. I'm now in the process of launching our next big initiative - a top to bottom Job Safety Analysis for all job sites. The 12-member EHS team will continue to work hard to consolidate and improve company-wide EHS work. I look forward to engaging the EHS Academy further in supporting this effort and providing supplemental training for our employees."

Note: Information was summarized based on the interview with the EHSA trainee, Yang Yu, who can be reached with sea@wuhan.fortune.com.tw

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