Safety Culture

I’m pretty proud of the safety culture in our company.  Not to speak arrogantly on the subject, but we have a proven safety program that has been extremely successful.  You know what, I’ll brag a little bit! We actually have zero recordable injuries. We have an extremely low EMR that has afforded us compliments and accolades from our insurance company.  And we’re in a fairly risky industry class code, certainly as noted by our astronomically high monthly insurance premiums…

But how have we been successful keeping everyone safe?  My opinion on the matter is that aside from our written safety policy that the insurance companies, attorneys and corporations love so much, we have built something I feel is far more effective.  We’ve developed a safety culture. This culture is not a rule book as much as it is a continually trained thought process. A reliance on our talented team and their intelligence and discipline. We’ve encouraged our team to think about what is actually safe.  Our team pursues a continuous investigation into:

    • Why is this the ‘safest method’?
    • How could we be safer?  
    • What are the actual risks?  
    • Is the corporately perceived risk accurate?
    • Does the corporate risk resolution actually mitigate a risk?  Does it create more risks than it mitigates?
    • How can we better prepare ourselves?  What do we need to do this safer?

I’ve used the word ‘continue’ in some context above.  This was deliberate. Safety management has to be managed and practiced consistently and continuously.  It’s imperative. Just when we think we’ve performed well from a safety aspect, someone shows us that it’s time to step up our safety performance again.  And we raise the bar again. Back to our training. Back to additional investments. Back to new certifications. Back to more in depth safety management.  

But beyond all that, when I personally perform a safety meeting, I remind the meeting participants about what safety means to me, as the business owner.  I explain to them that my genuine motivation for safety isn’t what bigger corporations display in their safety programs. My motivation for safety isn’t so much about the economics.  I illustrate how small of a business we are and remind them that our team is only 10-20 employees and that they are all key employees. Some are my family. Some are my friends. Some I have known and worked with for almost 10 years now.  All of them have families. Some have young children. All of them have mortgages or rent. Some have kids in college. These are all the reasons I care about safety. These reasons are why I care about managing our safety.

I remember I asked a customer of mine once, what scared him?  His response was ‘someone on his team getting hurt or killed on one of his jobs’.  He said he expected he’d quit and shut it all down if that ever happened. I understand.  I believe our jobs can be done without anyone being injured. And if that’s not the case, I don’t really want to be involved.  Our jobs can be done safely and I’m so grateful to have a team that gets that and lives it!