In 2003, Occidental of Elk Hills, Inc. (OEHI) developed several tools to help manage safety proactively. These tools included the "Contractor Scorecard" and the PDA-based "Self-assessment" Program. In 2005, Thums Long Beach Company (THUMS) a subsidiary of Occidental of Long Beach, Inc., reviewed these innovative technologies and collaborated with OEHI to transfer them to the THUMS Unit. The PDA-based program in particular has been instrumental in improving safety compliance and overall performance.


The "Self-assessment Program" (the Program) developed is dependent on PDA technology to provide a simple means and method to capture data, analyze the information and confirm HES compliance. The Program developed is highly automated allowing for quick, easy data gathering while still providing report capability that is simple, direct and informative. The crux of the Program is the PDA which provides the convenience, flexibility and speed unlike most paper-based systems.

The PDA originally selected was the Palm Zire-71 because it was user friendly, MS-Access compatible, easily programmable and durable. This PDA included camera capability which was helpful for facility audits, incident investigations and similar activities where photos could be stored in e-file format; transmitted and/or incorporated into reports. Data gathered in the field could be easily downloaded daily into an MS-Access dB using the standard PDA cradle and "thinkDB" software. Once the data was downloaded trending, analysis and reporting was easily performed.

Safety or compliance "checklists" provided the foundation for the "field data" gathered and analyzed. These were initially written in "Pendragon – Forms 4.0" because it was flexible software and provided easy programming capability. The compliance or "self-assessment" checklists developed and programmed into the PDA's covered some 70 subject. These were derived from OSHA regulations, company policies, procedures and similar requirements. Checklists subjects included, by example, hot work, lock-out/tag-out, confined space and spill prevention. These checklists or inspection sheets provided a uniform means and method for any interviewer to ask a series of questions or observe a number of activities and record objective answers systematically.

The PDA checklist also provided a list of causal factors that the interviewer could input for those answers to questions that were non-compliant. This was intended for later analysis of the data to determine underlying causes of non-compliance where improvement efforts could be focused. (See Figure 1.0, Lock Out / Tag Out Checklist)

Realizing the benefits of such technology and the proactive means of managing contractor safety compliance, the THUMS' organization decided to adopt the process for their Unit.

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