United Stationers identifies safety trends 99% faster, reduces employee injury costs and lost time

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Courtesy of IHS

In 2004, United Stationers Supply Co. made a commitment to become a world-class safety organization. United Stationers is North America's largest broad line wholesale distributor of business products, with 2005 consolidated net sales of US$4.3 billion. The company offers approximately 50,000 items – office products, technology products, office furniture and other products from more than 600 manufacturers – through a wide network of regional distribution centers.

As part of the company's ongoing commitment to operational excellence, a 'High Performance Team' was formed to launch the new safety initiative. The team established goals to change the safety culture, as well as reduce both the number of incidents and the severity of those incidents.

The team recognized that one key to achieving these goals is better information management. Each month, safety incident reports were sent by email from each of the 64 regional distribution centers. Data had to be compiled and summarized in order to provide any measurement related to safety performance. In addition, OSHA regulatory reports had to be produced at each facility. This manual process took time away from the safety team for analyzing incidents and taking corrective action. It typically took three to four weeks after the end of the month to see results. The evaluation team quickly realized that a centralized incident tracking system was needed to eliminate non-value added work and to provide timely, consistent data for analysis. Company managers conducted a software selection process and decided to purchase and implement ESS Compliance Suite™ software.

Compliance Suite was quickly installed and configured. Starting in 2005, all incidents were reported through the system, which is hosted centrally in the corporate data center and is used by staff at all of its facilities. All OSHA regulatory reporting and corporate monthly reports come directly from Compliance Suite.

Compliance Suite has enabled United Stationers to identify safety trends and implement new procedures 99 percent faster – within 24 hours of an incident instead of significantly later. Turnaround on monthly reports improved to less than a week.

United Stationers uses Compliance Suite on a daily basis to monitor safety incidents. As incident patterns are identified, new safety procedures are developed and rolled out. This proactive approach and cultural focus has resulted in fewer incidents.

'Using Compliance Suite, United Stationers has seen an improved Safety First Culture and the company has been able to lower its OSHA Recordable Index, Lost Time Severity Index and Workers' Compensation costs. Our return on investment was less than six months,' said Steven Cole, Director of Corporate Safety and Security for United Stationers. 'Working closely with Compliance Suite allows us to focus on our safety goals, because the information is easily available when we need it.'

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