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8 Key Strategies to Deliver Safety Excellence in Project Logistics

How DHL Industrial Projects achieved 5 years without lost time injury 

From transporting time-sensitive oil and gas components for offshore operations to supplying all necessary materials for constructing a new wind farm or semiconductor fabrication facility and relocating equipment for power plant upgrades, the paramount consideration is safety. DHL Industrial Projects, boasting an impressive track record of 5 years without a lost time injury (LTI), outlines 8 key strategies to deliver safety excellence in project logistics.

A Core Value: Safety

An industrial project is challenging. It necessitates large-scale freight forwarding and transportation activities and a combination of project planning, contract and vendor management, transport engineering, procurement, HSQE compliance, and many other related services.

DHL’s Lost Time Injury-Free Milestone

Exceptional safety performance is achieved in the relentless pursuit of safety-measure improvement and innovation. Project logistics experts also recognize each step towards minimizing risk is a step towards operational perfection.

A significant LTI-free milestone has been achieved by the DHL Industrial Projects team. Based on their knowledge and experience, here are 8 key strategies to deliver safety excellence in project logistics:

1. HSQE Management System

The foundation of safety in project logistics an integrated management system that seamlessly combines HSQE (health, safety, quality, and environment) principles. At DHL, this system is pivotal in cultivating a culture of safety excellence that permeates every level of the organization, fostering a sense of empowerment among employees and subcontractors, making them active participants and strategic partners in enhancing project logistics safety.

2. Risk Management in Operations

Systematic risk management and planning are fundamental to maintaining controls and mitigating risks to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) across all operational activities. DHL’s comprehensive approach involves identifying potential hazards in all aspects of project delivery, including engineering, load planning, complex lifts, and port operations. By proactively identifying these risks, the DHL Industrial Projects team can implement controls and mitigation strategies to manage them effectively, ensuring safety throughout the end-to-end process. 

3. Training and Competence Program

A robust training and competence program is required, encompassing the training needs of not just employees but also subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers. The DHL program is designed to create a learning culture focused on the core operational activities, emphasizing continuous knowledge sharing, mentoring, and support.

4. Empowerment and Proactive Safety Culture

To achieve safety excellence, it is essential to prioritize a proactive safety culture, empowering every team member, stakeholder, and subcontractor with ‘Stop Work’ authority in response to any safety concerns. This empowerment ensures operations are planned, assessed, and executed with a safety-first approach. DHL’s commitment extends to supporting anyone who exercises this authority, reinforcing the collective responsibility. A culture of empowerment and engagement is the cornerstone of the DHL safety mindset, encouraging vigilance and proactive measures across all operations.

5. Project Documentation

A comprehensive package of project documentation is required for safety excellence, including HSQE plans, method statements, risk assessments, transport management plans, and more. Technical engineering and assurance are a key addition to how DHL manages operations, and this adds another professional element to ensure capabilities are maximized and operations are fully planned. All of this must be pre-approved by DHL’s customers and distributed to all parties with clear and documented management-of-change processes and controls.

6. Subcontractor Management Strategy

Another essential component is a robust subcontractor management strategy. During subcontractor onboarding, the DHL Industrial Projects team assesses each organization’s management systems, capabilities, and commitment to safety excellence, identifying opportunities for improvement. The approach emphasizes strong partnerships from outset and working together to strengthen systems and commitment. Ongoing spot audits ensure subcontractor safety standards are maintained throughout project execution. 

7. Collaboration and Communication

A culture of transparency and teamwork is vital to enhancing safety excellence and ensuring seamless operational execution DHL champions open communication and active collaboration across the entire workforce, encompassing employees, contractors, and visitors alike. Fostering an environment where every individual is encouraged to share insights and work collectively strengthens the organizational commitment to safety and operational excellence globally.

8. Continuous Improvement Cycle

Commitment to a continuous improvement cycle is essential, including a willingness to set clear, measurable, and achievable targets for performance and development. At DHL, this commitment is supported by a robust verification program, including audits, inspections, and reviews, to ensure compliance and operational excellence. By involving all stakeholders in this process and implementing clear improvement plans, the organization fosters a culture of proactive change management. This helps to maintain high safety standards while continuously improving operational practices.

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