Contact Energy Implements a Versatile and Scalable Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Program

In partnership with SAI Global, Contact Energy built a new internal process and system that was configurable, intuitive and could be administered with minimal technical skills.

“A major focus for the Management of Change project was user engagement. By seeking initial input and ‘buy-in’ from front-line users, they had the opportunity to shape the solution, and share their knowledge and ideas. This was key to the success of the project and saw adoption rates exceed expectations.”

Sarah Williams
Continuous Improvement Leader, Contact Energy

At a Glance

Contact Energy, one of New Zealand's largest listed companies, embarked on an Operational Safety Improvement Program (OSIP) that included a review of its Management of Change process. The existing process was tracked using an overly-complicated, internally-developed solution. Adoption was low, which resulted in inconsistent and incomplete data, and limited visibility of risks relating to changes across its 11 power stations.

The objective of the Management of Change project was to implement a new internal, user-driven process and system that was configurable, intuitive and could be administered with minimal technical skills. Staff engagement was a high priority to ensure maximum adoption of the new solution, which would, in turn, improve visibility and reduce environmental, health and safety (EHS) risk.

Client Background

Established in 1996, Contact Energy provides electricity, natural gas and LPG products to more than 550,000 customers throughout New Zealand. The company employs more than 1,000 people across its 11 hydro, geothermal and gas-fired power stations.

The company has a strong commitment to its EHS responsibilities — not only to employees but also to the surrounding community. This commitment prompted the development of its 2015 Operational Safety Improvement Program (OSIP), a program focused on improving the company's process safety and ensuring it understands and manages technical risks, and is safe to run.


The Challenge

One of the challenges Contact Energy faced was capturing reliable data relating to its Management of Change process across all sites. From relatively low-risk replacements of existing equipment to high-risk circuit board protection works, accurate data is key to ensuring day-to-day safety. This includes ensuring a change has followed the appropriate process with all necessary steps executed, such as safety-related updates to equipment drawings to reflect an in-field change.

The existing, internally-developed system was complicated and slow, resulting in an approximate 35% user adoption rate and rendering the data incomplete and inconsistent. Without the support of a formal Management of Change process, it was difficult to confirm if all necessary requirements were satisfied, even where the system indicated a change was complete.

This not only had the potential to cause safety issues, but the lack of reliable data also impeded the management team's ability to make informed risk-based decisions relating to potential safety risks arising from change implementation. Complete data would provide insights required to focus and direct maintenance tasks, recognize and mitigate design failures and identify weak points in the plant for strengthening. 

“It was clear the SAI Global team had really taken the time to understand our unique challenges and objectives. They outperformed their competitors at the selection phase, and post-implementation they continue to work with us to refine our systems and optimize the value of EHS Manager 360.”

Gregor Anderson
Senior Business Improvement Analyst, Contact Energy

The Results

Since implementing the new system in December 2016, all technical plant changes are now documented in the new Management of Change process and recorded in EHS Manager 360. Multiple workflows have been implemented, providing the necessary flexibility while maintaining consistency throughout the process. And for the first time, there exists a central, web-based source of truth that provides crucial insights into safety across the entire business.

User engagement is undeniable — by September 2017, more than 600 new changes had been initiated, and unique daily users increased from approximately 20 in the previous system to more than 100 in EHS Manager 360, showing no evidence of the user resistance traditionally expected when launching new software platforms. 

“What’s great about EHS Manager 360 is it’s been designed to meet the needs of the business, and is flexible, simple and intuitive to use.”

Charley Beagle
Geothermal Assets Manager, Contact Energy (Wairakei Plant)


Read our full case study to take a closer look at how Contact Energy leveraged employee input, the features of the EHS Manager 360 implementation, and the impact of our solution. Or, learn more about our EHS solutions.


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