Corporate Safety Initiative Breakfast Update

Corporate Safety Initiative Breakfast Update

February 13, 2019

Greenville Utilities is committed to safety and that was evident at the breakfast meetings held on February 6th. “I’ve always said that our employees are our greatest asset,” said Tony Cannon, General Manager /CEO. “Making sure that we are doing everything we can to keep our employees safe is our top priority.”

The Corporate Safety Initiative (CSI) Steering Committee was created in 2007. They are tasked with overseeing how GUC goes about improving safety. Their efforts include improving safety performance, setting goals, drafting policies, and creating employee exposure awareness to reduce and prevent injuries.

Current Steering Team members are Jason Manning (Wastewater Treatment Plant), Ryan Hardee (Electric), Ken Wade (Electric), Julius Patrick (Water Treatment Plant), Kevin Keyzer (Finance), Carl Smith (Gas), and Debra Miller (Legal). Members of the team gave updates during the breakfast.

So far, operational leaders have learned the foundations for leading with safety, how to understand and influence behavior, and how to conduct “Safety Contacts.”  A Safety Contact is an interaction with a frontline employee, initiated by a supervisor or manager, in which behavior is observed, feedback is provided, and a discussion is held to strengthen understanding of exposure. All levels of leadership conduct Safety Contacts, from Crew Leaders to our most senior leadership.

The CSI Steering Team responded to feedback from supervisors who wanted more time to make sure they were conducting Safety Contacts effectively before moving to the next step in the SafeAlign process. As a result, the Job Safety Briefings were pushed back from March to May.

In June, leaders who have not yet attended SafeAlign workshops will begin receiving training. This will bring leaders from all across GUC into the process, since everyone at GUC is exposed to hazards.

The Lighthouse process and SafeAlign complement each other, and one does not replace the other. Lighthouse involves peer-to-peer conversations about safety, while SafeAlign fosters supervisor-to-employee interactions around safety. 

In 2018, observers conducted 3,042 observations, during which they identified 33,321 safe behaviors and were able to reinforce them. Observers discussed 73 at-risk behaviors that led to the removal of seven barriers to working safely.  You can find out more about Lighthouse barriers (and more) at in the Safety section.

CSI (Corporate Safety Initiative)
The CSI Steering Committee has been hard at work implementing SafeAlign and continuing with Lighthouse. They’ve also been busy with other initiatives.

  • Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIFs)
    We participated in a study that allowed us to compare our safety data to other companies. One of the major take-aways from that study is that our highest exposure that could lead to a serious injury or fatality (SIF) is motor vehicle incidents. Because of this, the CSI Steering Committee has focused efforts on reducing motor vehicle incidents. You’ll hear more about this soon, but one thing you may have already noticed is an increase in Lighthouse driving observations.
  • Water Hazard Brochure and Guide
    We are implementing a new Water Hazard Safety policy after a fatality occurred at a fellow North Carolina public utility. The new policy focuses on how employees can stay safe around water hazards. A brochure and more details will be coming from the Safety Office soon.
  • General Safety Policy:

The last time the General Safety Policy was updated was in 2006, so it is due for an upgrade. The revision will include our efforts to create a culture where it is each employee’s responsibility to create a safe work environment, as well as give employees the empowerment and accountability to identify and reduce exposures for themselves and their co-workers. It will also include SafeAlign and Lighthouse.

Be sure to visit the Safety tab at for videos and updates on all our safety initiatives.