What does it mean to have a safety culture? At Southland, it means safety does not get put away with your hard hat at the end of the day. Ingraining an attitude of safety and risk management in all activities for every employee is the goal of any high-functioning safety program.
Through efforts such as pre-task planning, training, toolbox talks, and site audits, our safety efforts go far beyond the minimum of providing employees with a safe and healthy work environment. We all know the value of safety as it pertains to our jobs. No accidents means no pain and suffering for our coworkers, lower costs on workers’ compensation insurance, and more competitive pricing come bid time.
Nothing is more frustrating for those of us in the safety world than hearing about one of our employees getting hurt while off-duty. Consider the recent conversation I had with our service dispatcher, in which I was told one of our technicians would be out of work due to suffering an injury at home. Will that injury count towards Southland’s safety statistics? No. Will we incur workers’ compensation costs? No. However, we still have an employee we were counting on who now cannot work. More importantly, we have a coworker going through some painful recovery. That employee will be missing time, using personal time if they have it, or losing money.
No matter how you look at it, getting hurt is never a good proposition for an employee, their family, or Southland. For this reason, we started sending out general safety information to employees that has nothing to do with our work and everything to do with how we can make safe decisions in our off-duty time. Some people may not see the point or may think it’s overkill, but if we can convince one person to wear safety glasses while mowing the lawn or a reflective vest while riding a motorcycle and prevent an injury, it is well worth it!
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