E Light Electric

The largest solar panel installation contractor uses SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) to train employees and track safety in the field.

5 million man hours with no lost time incident

50% reduction in travel time to job sites

700 employees per site

We use SafetyCulture for

Employees are essentially working within a thousand volt battery, posing a myriad of safety risks to employees. Because solar installations are still a relatively new space, there are many specialized tools that employees have not used before. Additionally, about 80% of the workforce in the field is from the local community. Many of these employees from the local communities have no experience in electrical work or solar installations. This means proper safety training is even more critical to flatten the learning curve for new employees and ensure employees return home safely at the end of their days.

Then, add logistical challenges to those safety risks. Solar is still an emerging industry, one that has garnered a lot of popularity in recent years. Because of the high demand, jobs that had 12-month timelines 5 years ago are now expected to be completed within 3 months. With aggressive schedules, some companies might be tempted to let safety and quality slip, but that’s where E Light electric instead chooses to double down on pre-planning and being proactive. Even one or two days of non-production on these solar installations can cost millions of dollars so getting the logistics right ahead of time is crucial.

“E Light’s a big family, and it’s important for our guys to go home the same way they came to work and enjoy their time with their own families. I want them to succeed. I want to see them grow.”

Jason Wheeler
VP of Operations

For Jason Wheeler, VP of Operations at E Light Electric, his work isn’t just about solar power fields, but more so about taking care of team members. The solar electric company places a lot of emphasis on in-house training, both in safety and in skills specific to career advancement.

Jason cites this commitment to growing their labor force’s skills as the basis for excellence in the company’s deliverables as well. “We’re never satisfied with good enough. We’re always looking for the newer, faster, better way of doing things and being safe.”

This focus on safety, and the desire to improve upon existing processes, is what drove Ted Smith, Director of Education and Loss Prevention, to explore technical solutions to their paper auditing process. That’s how he found and tested the SafetyCulture platform in the field.

Employees used to rely on written reports for communication between the field and the office. The problem was that a lot of times the notebook was left in one location in the field and at the end of the day, the supervisor had to pull everything that had happened that day from their memory, much of which could easily be forgotten.

SafetyCulture has fundamentally changed how E Light Electric employees communicate between the field and the office. Jason, the VP of Operations, spends 50% less time on airplanes now. Thanks to the enhanced visibility that SafetyCulture provides, he no longer has to spend so much time shuttling between various work sites.

He says, “At a professional level, it means I can spend more time developing processes that evolve the way the company does things, the bigger picture stuff, versus being on planes trying to mitigate issues. Personally it means I have more time to spend with my family. It means I sleep in my own bed every night. That’s huge.”
SafetyCulture also helps safety managers spend more time in the field, rather than at their desks filing reports.

“In construction, there’s always a bit of a gap between the main office and what really happens in the field. SafetyCulture helps us close that gap,” says Jason.

On average, SafetyCulture has helped to save an hour to an hour and a half per job, per day, of each employees’ time.

“At a professional level, it means I can spend more time developing processes that evolve the way the company does things. Personally it means I have more time to spend with my family. That’s huge.”

Jason Wheeler
VP of Operations

E Light has field workers who can take snapshots of what’s really happening at each site. For supervisors who aren’t out in the trenches every single day, it gives them the opportunity to make decisions and have important conversations before they become an issue. This dedication to safety and efficiency has led to 5 million man hours without a lost time incident.

5 million man hours without a lost time incident

Adam Richmond, Safety Manager at E Light Electric, says the fact SafetyCulture is so easy to use is as a major reason it was adopted in the company.

“You have a lot of old-school employees who don’t ever mess with a computer. But I’m actually really impressed with how well they’ve taken to it. They fought it in the beginning just because it’s new, but now it’s their go-to thing.”

Adam says that thanks to their safety checklists, the company can track leading indicators to prevent an incident before it ever occurs.

SafetyCulture is now used in many facets of E Light Electric’s business; from daily safety reports, to job hazard analysis, from STOP initiatives to quality control checks. It’s been rolled out through the entire organization for field workers and supervisors alike, to enhance communication between the field and the office, improve visibility and ultimately keep employees safer and projects wrapping up on time.

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