Safety & Health
SGA Awards recognizes companies whose safety & health initiatives have benefited employee and customer well-being.
Excavation damage represents one of the greatest threats to pipeline systems. Atmos Energy created the Damage Prevention Ambassador Program to encourage all team members, such as service and construction technicians, engineers, measurement, and compliance representatives to proactively stop at excavation sites and ensure that locating and safe digging practices are being followed.
As a part of the program, employees stop at active excavation sites, confirm locate ticket requests, visually check to ensure that facilities were located, and then crews that are working safely. If gaps are found, employees are empowered to stop work, distribute 811 literature, and take photos of the excavation site for documentation in a mobile application. In 2021, this app will be expanded to allow technicians to document stops with those working near above-ground facilities as well. Contractors working to remove ice or snow, performing right-of-way maintenance, building demolition, and storm cleanup after hurricanes also run the risk of damage to our natural gas systems.
The mobile app logs the GPS coordinates of the site and allows the user to record 811 ticket numbers, as well as photos of the job site. If no active 811 tickets can be found, excavators are supplied with Atmos Energy damage prevention brochures and state 811 center literature. These brochures explain in detail the importance of submitting a locate request ticket prior to digging.
In 2020, more than 2,000 Atmos Energy Damage Prevention Ambassadors:
2019 Damages: 5,864
2020 Damages: 5,374
As part of NiSource’s continued focus on safety, we organized a Customer Safety Marketing and Communications Team to develop a plan to educate our customers on gas safety inside and outside their home. By developing an enhanced safety awareness campaign, we could educate our customers and encourage them to take steps to protect themselves, their families and their property from unsafe natural gas situations and practices.
In order to develop an education plan, we conducted a content audit of our legacy and current customer safety communications. Through this review, we discovered that we focused primarily on 811 and odor of gas. We also surveyed our customers and learned through their direct feedback that they wanted to learn more about safety in their homes. We compiled this research and decided to focus on three key areas: Do It Yourself (DIY), Appliance Maintenance and Carbon Monoxide (CO).
In an effort to keep all customer safety information under one umbrella that would resonate, we created our Know Your Home brand and service mark.
Once we identified the three key areas of concentration, we developed a list of quick wins that would get information into the hands of customers as quickly as possible. This included bill messaging, website content and customer care center on-hold messaging. This was implemented within the first quarter of 2020.
Once we completed the initial quick wins, we began efforts to launch a more robust marketing and education plan. The full marketing plan, implemented in-house in the third quarter of 2020, added:
Once we completed our marketing plan, we used our data and analytics to develop additional topics to keep the Know Your Home content fresh.
Through analytics reviews, we were able to identify the rooms on the website that had the most to least interest. We took those topics that garnered the most traffic and adjusted messaging, content and placement.
We also identified some additional awareness opportunities including:
These additional topics also added channels to the Know Your Home portfolio, including billboards and brochures.
TC Energy started a program to focus on mental health in the workplace and beyond. The company was hoping to find champions to promote mental in their respective business groups, and April Keatley answered the call. April has been a driving force behind the program in the TC Energy Technical and Operational Services (TOS) group.
When the work from home/quarantine began, April started posting formal communications to the TOS team channels to educate the group on a variety of topics from potential warning signs in others, self-evaluation, communication strategies related to concerns, stress relief, and many other mental health topics.
April has been brave enough to share her struggles with us to encourage and empower others to tackle the often-silent suffering that accompanies mental health struggles. In a particularly personal post from November, she recounted how her mental health issues began to affect her physical wellness as a warning for the rest of us. She recounted the challenges those events brought including hospital stays and surgery. But the thing that cried out to me from her account was the feelings around stepping away from work and co-workers having to carry her workload. This is emblematic of so many of us in today’s world. We feel like we can’t even take a vacation without keeping up with emails or making those “important” conference calls.
April’s communications reach over 550 individuals on a weekly basis, I often see responses and comments from people on those posts. And surprisingly they are almost always from different people. The variety of April’s content has a way of reaching people where they are. That is crucial to the effectiveness of the program. April says “It’s important to me that I can support anyone experiencing a mental health disorder. Whether that be through sharing my own experience, modeling positive behaviors or just being there to listen, help someone find the right resources…” And I can assure you her efforts have positively impacted at least one of us.