Imagine you’re in a crowded conference room at work, ready for the start of an important meeting. Everyone pulls out their notepads and laptops, ready to get going. But just before the start of business, someone comes to the front of the room and begins talking about safety.
“In this room, the nearest exits are located behind you to the left and right,” they might say. “Bob, you’re in charge of calling 9-1-1 in case of an emergency. A fire extinguisher is located outside of this room around the corner. Susan and Cindy are CPR certified if the need arises.”
You might be surprised if a meeting started this way at your workplace, but it’s part of the everyday culture of safety at CPS Energy.
Simple safety messages have always kicked off meetings, with a safety professional usually pointing out exits and stating where attendees would gather outside the building in case of an emergency. Now, the safety team is in the process of rolling out new Safety Tailboards, which will be placed in each meeting room throughout all of CPS Energy’s facilities and filled out with a dry erase marker before each meeting, no matter how many attendees are present.
The contents of the Tailboard include:
- Meeting location (including physical address of the building)
- Nearest exits
- Nearest shelter
- Assigned person to dial 9-1-1
- Direct Emergency Responder
- Location of nearest defibrillator
- List of CPR certified people in the meeting
- Location of nearest fire extinguisher
- Any other present hazards in the meeting location
“Safety is our number one value,” said Andrea Guadarrama, Senior Manager of Safety and Health. “Starting a meeting with that mindset already puts you in the right position. It also creates a heightened sense of awareness, since usually if there’s something going on, chaos could ensue and you might forget what you’re supposed to do.”
Eunice Lopez, Manager of Health and Safety, said the Tailboards are especially helpful in standardizing the safety process across all the different buildings and environments CPS Energy employees work in.
“It helps us create that engagement and that dialogue with people in the room,” Eunice said. “It should be something that you own because you care about the people in the room. Everybody has a different evacuation plan and a different environment and you might take it for granted that you know what’s going to happen. But this will bring that awareness.”
Andrea and Eunice said it will especially help align the safety-heavy culture of employees out in the field with those working in an office setting.
“People in the office are aware that safety is important but they might not feel that they’re in as hazardous a situation as those in the field,” Andrea said. “But we are trying to educate everyone so that they’re aware of those dangers, no matter where they work.”
In the end, it’s all about making sure everyone goes home in the same shape they came to work.
“Our people are the most important asset that we have at this company,” Andrea said. “It’s important that they stay safe.”