DTE Energy

Implementing a Safety Action Plan dramatically boosts DTE Energy’s safety scores in six key areas.

The Challenge

DTE Energy is a diversified energy business based in Detroit, Michigan. The company is involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services, including an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan.

The company’s aspiration is to be the best-operated energy company in North America. Safety is a cornerstone of this goal. DTE Energy contacted Davey Utility Services to help develop a plan to enhance overall safety standards.

The Solution

Davey began by benchmarking the internal perception of safety, surveying key DTE employees. The survey results revealed several areas for improvement. Using this information, Davey developed a 2017 Safety Action Plan that involved a comprehensive strategy to focus on measurably improving safety scores. The plan was multifaceted:

  • Add an additional line clearance coach to mentor and train crews.
  • Conduct quality circles to reinforce standards.
  • Increase communication to strengthen union relations. This involved a weekly conversation as well as labor management meetings.
  • Have line clearance coaches perform live field demonstrations to continue to improve field worker training in areas such as aerial rescue and precision tree felling.
  • Upgrade equipment to decrease the average age of the overall equipment fleet.

The Results

The results of the 2017 Safety Action Plan were overwhelming. Based on a follow-up survey, scores improved in all of the key areas that concerned DTE Energy.

  • Employees rated the availability of a safety manager to provide assistance 46-percent higher than the previous year.
  • Employees rated management’s ability to stress the importance of safety in communications 39-percent higher than the previous year.
  • Approximately one-third (34 percent) more employees noted awareness and adherence to proper lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Employees rated the frequency of detailed and regularly scheduled inspections 32-percent higher than the previous year.
  • Employees rated the occurrence of emergency response procedures testing 12-percent higher than the previous year.
  • An equipment upgrade was implemented and over only 8 months, the average age of the fleet was decreased by 1.5 years.
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