Best Article Series (Electronic)

“WWWTP” articles tickle, educate, motivate employees to create safety awareness

Ferguson wanted to bring its workplace accident rate down, and make employees more safety-conscious everywhere at work. They found a remarkably clever way to do both.

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Employee safety is a top priority at Ferguson, the largest distributor of plumbing supplies (pipe, valves, and fittings) in the United States. But safety training is not always the most exciting topic at many organizations, so the team came up with an ingenious idea –  a feature on their intranet titled “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” (WWWTP). For the wit, variety, and ingenuity of their WWWTP intranet series, Ferguson has won the “Best Article Series (Electronic)” category of Ragan’s 2015 Employee Communication Awards.

WWWTP features use photos taken by Ferguson’s Risk Assessment team during site visits all over the country. Each photo contains obvious and not-so-obvious safety infractions. Ferguson keeps readers reading with unique photos, short stories with catchy headlines, and humorous teasers. Employees who paid attention in Safety Ed classes have fun detecting safety oversights and infractions. 

The direct results and indirect benefits of WWWTP are impressive:

  • WWWTP gets more than 5,600 views on average; the 50 most-read articles of 2015 got an average of 5,314 views.
  • Seven WWWTP features appeared in the top 25 articles for the year 2015.
  • The most-read WWWTP article got 7,697 views. That’s 38 percent of Ferguson’s 20,000 employees. The other feature stories in 2015 averaged 2,322 views.
  • >WWWTP series proved so popular that workers began commenting on safety issues on any feature photo posted on “Pipeline,” the company intranet.
  • Risk Management now reviews all stock photos and removes those violating safety rules.
  • WWWTP got significantly more engagement than even the most popular stories; the 50 most-read averaged 20 comments; WWWTP features averaged 34 comments.
  • Ferguson saw a two percent reduction in its accident rate and a six percent reduction in the dollar value of “incident” claims.

Congratulations to Courtney Anderson, APR, Emma Julian, Tyra Vaughn, and Katie Wickizer of the Ferguson communications team for their imagination, humor, and superior editorial judgment in this series!



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