A simple question: Why are you in business? Not a simple answer. There are countless reasons businesses exist; and the reasons are found in a company’s mission or vision, stated or not.
Regardless of the reasons, past, present or future, any businesses success is built around core resources---money, time and skills. The tension between optimizing conserving them is the primary challenge every business must address. While no one can predict the future, there are strategic actions that can be planned and implemented that provide insurance that effectively mitigates changes that will occur in each of these resource areas.
So, what is the connection between optimizing and conserving resources and the title of this blog? In particular, the construction industry can optimize and conserve resources through strategic safety planning. Activities undertaken to maximize dollars, time and skills---significant investments to minimize accidents, employees’ time out of work, and dollars spent on lost wages and work comp claims.
Although training is associated with significant cost, it yields big benefits, short and long-term. As noted in recent blog, insurance company’s pay out billions of dollars for work-related injuries and worse, fatalities. Although the work-injury rate has decreased over the years, the associated costs have increased. Going above and beyond what is required by OSHA will involve more resources to plan, assess, document, train, communicate, implement and enforce, but the cost benefits are enduring.
In construction, building occurs from the ground up; however, a Safety culture is built from the top down: It begins with a company’s leadership and management. This was evidenced at the 2018 Safety Leadership Conference where 13 winners of America’s Safest Companies were presented with an award, in conjunction with The Environmental Safety and Health (EHS) magazine. Winners included four (4) construction companies. Each had to demonstrate “support from leadership and management for EHS efforts; employee involvement in the EHS process; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that the prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; good communication about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.”
All of the construction company winners, Bancroft Construction Company, Denark Construction Inc., Graycore Industrial Constructors and The Great Lakes Construction Company went “above and beyond”. Each company embedded Safety in their culture. Lakeside Construction Company’s safety director says, “We make it our goal to send all employees home at the end of each day safe, injury-free, engaged and educated.” In 2017, Denark Construction Inc. had a lost time injury rate of “0”, compared to the injury average of 1.2.
Denark attributes this to a safety process that tracks injuries and identifies and addresses patterns of bad habits or a lack of training. The goal of Bancroft Construction is that “every one of their employees goes home to their families every night unharmed.”
The core of these and other companies who make Safety the centerpiece of their culture is that leadership, management and employees are all accountable for safety from the start.
Go above and beyond. Make OSHA REALLY happy in 2019.