Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company

3E Company Helps LG&E and KU Electrify Its SDS Management Program

Background

Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company (LG&E and KU) are regulated electric and natural gas utilities, based in Louisville, KY. A member of the PPL (NYSE: PPL) family of companies, the utility serves 394,000 electric customers and 319,000 natural gas customers in Louisville and 16 of its surrounding counties, an area that covers roughly 700 square miles.

Challenges

Jeff Gilbert, Health and Safety Coordinator for LG&E and KU, has been responsible for managing the utility’s Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) since he joined the company back in 2000. When he first joined the company, LG&E and KU was managing its SDSs in an Excel spreadsheet, then printing them and storing them in binders. With nearly 6,000 SDSs, the utility quickly accumulated more than 50 volumes of three-inch binders.

“It goes without saying that the binders were a lot of work to maintain. When I first started working for LG&E and KU, I was tasked with identifying and deploying an electronic SDS management system. At that time, our biggest challenge was getting sites to send SDSs to our Health and Safety group for new products when they were brought on site. A couple of years before I came on board, the company had purchased an SDS management tool with hardware, but it was unable to meet our requirements. I recommended that we use an online service,” said Mr. Gilbert.

Solutions

An extensive research process lead the team to MSDS Solutions, now part of 3E Company. The team originally deployed MSDS Solutions’ e-Service tool but since migrated to 3E Online® - MSDS in 2008.

With an easy start up process and extensive customer support system, 3E Online – MSDS made it easy for LG&E and KU to start managing its SDSs electronically. LG&E and KU simply submitted its inventory to 3E’s team of experts, which then contacted the suppliers to obtain the appropriate SDSs. From there, the team indexed its nearly 6,000 SDSs and created a custom database that could be accessed by any of LG&E and KU’s 3,200 employees.

“Initially, our managers were reluctant to invest in a new system because of our previous experience with the old electronic system, but their reluctance quickly faded when we saw how easy it was to manage our SDSs and maintain our inventory information using the 3E solution,” said Mr. Gilbert.

LG&E and KU employees can run reports and update, add or delete products from the database through 3E Online’s easy and intuitive Web browser interface. Materials inventories are available in real-time and can be created in both summary and detail format. Custom fields can also be added at any time and are visible to all employees.

Results

Since implementing 3E Online - MSDS, LG&E and KU has greatly improved its SDS management and maintains a more clear and accurate chemical inventory, which has assisted the utility in improving its compliance activities through the identification of associated regulations, training, handling, storage, use, and disposal.

“Managing our SDSs is much easier with 3E Online. And because the inventory now gets entered electronically, maintaining it has become much more efficient,” said Mr. Gilbert.

The deployment has also enabled Mr. Gilbert to focus his energies on more strategic initiatives, as LG&E and KU employees no longer need to contact him to access an SDS. They can simply log on via the Internet and gain access to the most current hazardous material inventory and SDSs.

“Prior to deploying 3E Online, we would regularly have to review and update SDSs and ensure that each location that used the product had updated their site SDSs binders. Giving our employees the ability to access the SDSs they need, when they need it, without having to worry about whether they had the most up-to-date information has been invaluable. In addition, the 3E Online interface is very user-friendly, so little training is required to use it. When we do have questions, we’ve been extremely pleased with the level of customer support; we view our 3E team as an extension of our own internal team and rely on their counsel and expertise as such,” said Mr. Gilbert.

Mr. Gilbert has also found 3E Online’s labeling feature to be extremely beneficial. He leverages the tool to create secondary labels for product containers that conform to the myriad of regulations impacting the company, including OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard 2012.

“We recently had several of our larger sites resurveyed by 3E to ensure the accuracy of the chemical inventories. 3E’s personnel were very professional and efficient. We are also planning to use 3E’s Authoring on Request Service to bring our own SDSs into compliance with the revised Hazard Communication standard,” said Mr. Gilbert.

“I would definitely recommend 3E to any company searching for an EH&S solution provider,” said Mr. Gilbert. “Not only are their solutions top notch, but they provide a very high level of customer support. We look forward to continuing to work with them to achieve our compliance goals.”


Location:  Louisville, KY
3E Services: 3E Online-MSDS
Industry/Market: Utility
Company Web Site:   http://www.lge-ku.com