2020: A Record Year for All the Right Reasons - Thompson Industrial Services

2020: A Record Year for All the Right Reasons

There is scarcely a person in the United States who didn’t experience quite a number of unusual challenges in 2020. Amid the tough circumstances, though, there were some good things happening as well, and here at Thompson Industrial Services we were actually reaching some very important goals as the year went on. With a very unusual year in the rear-view mirror now, here are a few of the safety and automation goals that we were proud to achieve in 2020.

Zero SIF Actuals

If you don’t know what “SIF” stands for, that claim isn’t immediately striking. To every employee of Thompson Industrial Services, however, it represents a hard-to-believe victory on the part of our company and also highlights the genuine care that the Thompson family has for each other. SIF stands for “serious injuries and fatalities,” and we couldn’t be more pleased to attach that big fat zero to it for 2020!

The truth is, our technicians regularly work in environments with hazards such as high temperatures, enclosed spaces, caustic chemicals, and many others. In addition, many of the applications they use to do their work, from ultra-high pressure hydroblasters to solutions of incredibly powerful chemicals, pose additional risks. Over the years, Thompson management has worked very hard to understand these risks and implement policies, procedures, and especially technologies to protect our workers from them. Our perfect SIF record in 2020 indicates that those efforts have been very effective.

0.11 TIR

Another important acronym, this time referring to “total incident rate.” Our 2020 number, 0.11, is extremely low and a significant improvement over our 2019 number of 0.66. It continues a five-year trend of recording fewer and fewer total incidents every year. But the dropping number of incidents only tells part of the story. Combined with that trend has been an increasing number of total hours worked year on year, making our TIR rate an even more impressive achievement.

Other Important Safety Points

There were a few additional numbers in our 2020 statistics that round out our record safety year. The first is zero water blast incidents–the first year that we have been able to make that claim. Hydroblasting is a huge component of Thompson Industrial Services’ comprehensive service offerings, and our researchers have spent decades refining this service line with customized equipment and advanced automation.

Which brings us to the other significant number for us in 2020–namely, that across the board we doubled our use of automation compared with 2019. For many years we have based our research on the philosophy that the more we can automate our chemical cleaning, hydroblasting, and other services, the safer and more effective our teams will be. By relying more on automated technologies than in any past year, we really put that philosophy to the test–and it passed, of course, with flying colors. 

Our SIF prevention program provides detailed metrics on every job.
Our SIF prevention program provides detailed metrics on every job.

Our SIF Prevention Program

In partnership with our automation research, our SIF prevention program is the biggest contributor to the incredible safety numbers that we saw in 2020. Our system is incredibly broad-based yet also incredibly detailed, collecting metrics from our teams on the job site and passing them on to the safety councils in each of Thompson Industrial Services’ 20+ divisions.

As an example of the power of our SIF prevention program, we use it to do more than simply analyze incidents and strategize about how to avoid similar incidents in the future. The program also gives us the ability to see every “near miss” incident, which we address the same way we would an actual incident in order to prevent future SIF events from occurring. By identifying the root causes, taking action, and having thoughtful safety conversations around all types of incidents, we are proactively ensuring our systems and procedures are good, not lucky.

Looking Forward to a Safe 2021

One of the guiding principles of our safety program is to never be content with where we are. While we are extremely pleased with the safety that our teams enjoyed in 2020, we are committed to continuing to increase our use of automation, scrutinizing the data generated by our SIF prevention program even more closely, and carrying on the trend of increasing safety that we have maintained for years. It’s all about making sure that each Thompson employee has the resources and knowledge necessary to do a great job and get home safe at the end of every day.