The Alexandria (Va.) Fire Department was founded in 1774. One of its early members was the nation’s first president, George Washington. Today, the Alexandria Fire Department employs more than 250 firefighters, paramedics, fire prevention staff, and administrative support. A network of 10 stations protects 15-square miles and serves nearly 140,000 residents.
Using IndustrySafe, aka Vector EHS Management, Alexandria FD can turn safety management data into insightful information to reduce workplace industries, identify trends and reduce worker's compensation issues.
Years back, Alexandria Fire Department was running into a problem familiar to many fire departments. They simply did not have enough insight into the injuries and incidents that were being reported. Leadership didn’t know what changes and training would have the highest impact on safety.
“I had no data,” said Jeffrey Merryman, former Deputy Fire Chief, Health, Safety & Risk for AFD, when thinking back on life before IndustrySafe. “I can’t address issues moving forward if I don’t know where we were in the past. You can only look at an excel spreadsheet so much to identify repeat offenders, or certain shifts (where issues occurred).”
With IndustrySafe’s innovative software program for safety management, Alexandria Fire Department can easily identify when and where incidents occur. Using this, they can take proactive measures to prevent them in the future and keep employees safe.
“The software was broken down for us in tiers the way the fire department operates, from the fire chief down,” Merryman said. “Battalions, stations, units; so when we run reports we can identify a certain shift at a certain station. We used it to identify incidents that happened while en route. Non-emergency, emergency, fire or EMS emergencies, as well as the root cause.”
With this type of data at its fingertips, AFD was able to take action to prevent future incidents or injuries.
“When I had the data from IndustrySafe to show repeat offenders, we had the ability to deal with them,” said Merryman.
As an example, AFD would identify repeat offenders and pull them from driving, and assign them remedial driver training to prevent future incidents.
While using IndustrySafe, AFD uncovered a major discrepancy with the data from their worker’s compensation third-party and actual days of work their employees were missing.
“Our OSHA logs (tracked in IndustrySafe) were more accurate than our workers' compensation third-party administrator,'' said Merryman.
Using IndustrySafe, AFD was able to identify that some of its personnel were off duty much longer than the 180 days that OSHA tracks. They started using IndustrySafe as the “true data” and identified people who had been off work, or on restricted duty longer than 180 days. They were able to take that true data to City Hall, HR and Risk Management and paint a picture that was previously unseen; people had been off of full duty for up to 19 months, holding up a position at the department that couldn’t be filled until they were reassigned or returned to full duty.
Merryman did not have an issue getting buy-in from his fire chief to purchase IndustrySafe.
“It was easy, it was not an expensive proposition,” Merryman said. “Nobody batted an eye to it, especially when you can show them what the data is capturing, Our fire chief thought the world of it.”
To learn more about how to manage workplace safety, please contact us today at (800) 840-8046!