Archives for March 2015

Establishing Safety as Everyone’s Core Value

Consider these two safety vision statements:

  • “On every project, at all times, safety is our top priority.”
  • “We make no compromise with respect to morality, ethics or safety. If a design or work practice is perceived to be unsafe, we do not proceed until the issue is resolved.”

Both sound great on the surface, yet they reflect two distinctly different safety cultures that are then reflected in the firm’s overall safety performance. The company that considers safety a “top priority” has a total recordable incidence rate (TRIR) twice the national average for a construction company of its size and work type. In contrast, the TRIR for the company that won’t proceed until safety issues are resolved is 0.20. That’s 95 percent below the industry average.

The simple reason behind such vastly different performance metrics lies in how the companies’ leadership and, as an extension, their employees, perceive safety. When safety is perceived as a priority, it means that other priorities—such as schedules and cost overruns—can move to the top of the list. The emphasis on performing work safely, every single time, without exception, is at risk of lagging or being shunned completely. When this type of inconsistent climate is established, safety is only important when things are going well.

A true world-class safety culture—one where a near-miss, let alone an incident, must be remedied immediately—designates safety as a core value upon which every decision, big or small, is based. The foundation of that culture is leadership’s uncompromising commitment to achieving a zero-incident jobsite and their unwillingness to waver from safety as their core value. The structure of a world-class safety culture comes from the belief that not only is every incident preventable, but also that all employees are responsible for their safety and the safety of those around them.

This sounds great in theory, but what about when there are 150 employees on five different jobsites and superintendents with three distinctly different leadership styles? Or what about the prospect of implementing an uncompromising approach to safety with 4,000 employees worldwide?

Transforming a corporate safety culture isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Again, it all starts with the CEO and senior leadership’s commitment to sending every employee home in the same, or better, condition than which they arrived, and exhibiting that commitment to all employees. That causes a trickle-down effect: Regional managers and superintendents see this commitment to safety as the core value and begin to use it with their crews.

Leaders should reward individuals who stop work when they recognize a hazard or who help a fellow employee safely tie off, rather than basing awards on the number of hours worked without a lost-time incident.

When Paul O’Neill took over as CEO of Alcoa in 1987, he stated unequivocally that his core value was a zero-injury workplace. He needed to change the culture.

Because of O’Neill, the automatic routine at Alcoa became that whenever an injury occurred, the unit president had to report it to the CEO directly within 24 hours and present a plan to ensure that the type of incident never occurred again. Employees who embraced the system were promoted. Floor employees became supervisors, supervisors became directors and directors became vice presidents—if they committed to zero injuries and to learning everything possible from incidents to prevent a recurrence.

What happened next was astonishing: Not only did Alcoa’s safety program change from reactive to proactive, but its entire culture shifted. The keystone safety habits O’Neill instituted resulted in new corporate habits that streamlined the company’s manufacturing process and increased profits (as well as employee salaries).

Transforming a safety culture from one where safety is a priority to one where safety is the core value doesn’t have to be difficult; it just takes commitment and instilling the importance that each team member performs their duties safely and watches out for their coworkers. It means building relationships among employees so that everyone understands that safety isn’t about individuals, but rather the people they work with and their families. It’s an interdependent effort and can be achieved regardless of the company’s size.

Article by Chris Williams, who is the Safety Director for Associated Builders and Contractors.

Employment Opportunities – Truck Drivers

2015 Truck Drivers for Construction Season

Open Date:  3/13/15
Close Date:  5/15/15
Positions Available:  4

Work Type:  Belly Dump, End Dump, Straight Truck Drivers

Work Days:  Weekday, Saturday, Work Varies; 50 hours per week

Benefits:  Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Health Savings Account, Paid Time Off (PTO), Holiday pay, Davis-Bacon Fringe Benefits

Required Skills:  Must have a Class A CDL with Air Brake endorsement and be able to pass a DOT required physical exam.
Experience Required:  18 months

Preferred Skills:  Tanker and Hazardous Materials endorsements preferred

The successful candidate for this seasonal position will possess a Class A CDL with a good driving record.  They will be able to travel to our projects throughout the area.  Some overnights are required, but will mostly be home nightly.

Salary Offered:  $14.00 to $16.00 hourly, dependant on experience.

Interested parties must personally stop into our company office in Wells to submit a job application.
Address:  964 Highway 109 East, Wells.

Contact Crystal Dulas with any questions at 507-553-3938.

Employment Opportunities – Heavy Equipment Operators

2015 Heavy Equipment Operators

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Open Date:  3/13/15
Close Date:  5/15/15

Positions Available:  2

Work Type:  Heavy Equipment Operator

Benefits:  Health Insurance, Paid Time Off (PTO), Holiday pay, Retirement

Work Days:  Weekday, Saturday, Work Varies; 55 hours per week

Required Skills:  Prefer a Class A CDL with Air Brake endorsement and be able to pass a DOT required physical exam.
Experience Required:  2 years

Preferred Skills:  Experience operating equipment such as excavators, dozers, loaders and skid loaders is a must.  Underground utility experience is a plus.

The successful candidate for this position will possess a Class A CDL with a good driving record.  They will be able to travel to our projects throughout the area.  Some overnights are required, but majority of time will be home nightly.  This role must have a strong work ethic and have the ability to work in a construction environment.

Salary Offered:  $16.00 to $20.00 hourly, dependant on experience.

Interested parties must personally stop into our company office in Wells to submit a job application.
Address:  964 Highway 109 East, Wells.

Contact Crystal Dulas with any questions at 507-553-3938.

Uncompromising Leadership: The Foundation of a World-Class Safety Program

At the start of 2015, Dulas Excavating Inc. sat down with management and created the goals for the year.  At the top of the list, was to up the ante on our safety program.  As we work through the difficulties to create a world class Safety Program, direct connection to the construction industry is realized.  We start by looking at our management to lead by example.

What terms come to mind when thinking of the world’s greatest leaders? Strong. Visionary. Motivational. Committed.  Uncompromising.

Good leaders are liked by their subordinates because they maintain peace and calm. However, great leaders are respected and adored. People will change their lifestyles and their philosophies to achieve their vision of success.

In order to motivate a group of individuals to achieve a common set of goals, great leaders understand that they must lead by example and never compromise on their beliefs. Great leaders foster a culture of excellence, where everyone not only believes in the organization’s core values, but also practices them in every facet of their work.

So, how does great leadership relate to construction safety? Quite simply, it is the foundation upon which all world-class safety cultures are built. Without a leader who truly believes that every single injury and incident is preventable—and expresses that heartfelt belief through his or her daily actions—a culture cannot be built where all employees believe they will return home safely and in the same (or better) condition than which they arrived on the jobsite that morning.

Without a leader who refuses to compromise on safety as the core value upon which all decisions are based—be it with corporate management, the men and women in the field or the clients who pay the bills—the systems and processes that make up a company’s safety program and the actions of those on the jobsite become poisoned and ineffective.

Leadership commitment means the president or CEO not only believes that every single injury and incident is preventable, but also works tirelessly to reinforce that belief among all employees.

One letter from an insurance carrier explaining how a company’s experience modification rate (EMR) had increased due to a serious injury stated: “While the primary goal is not to have accidents, some incidents are unavoidable.” When statements such as these invade a company’s safety philosophy, it’s a clear sign the culture is flawed. In this instance, leadership has accepted the perceived inevitability that one of their employees will be injured on the job. They may be committed to a zero-incident jobsite, but they don’t truly believe in it. That works its way through the company and becomes accepted by employees and management, and the results can be fatal.

Uncompromising leadership means a leader refuses to bend his or her core beliefs for the sake of profits or schedules. Great leaders believe and reinforce that safety isn’t a priority, but rather a core value of the company. Priorities change; core values do not. It is the fundamental basis on which a firm operates and for the decisions it makes. Uncompromising leadership manifests itself in many ways:

  • expecting employees to stop work when faced with a potentially hazardous situation and rewarding them for protecting themselves and others;
  • pulling employees from a jobsite if they believe the owner or general contractor has emphasized delivery dates over the safety of their people; and
  • walking the jobsite in full PPE so employees see that even the CEO must follow the policies and procedures that he or she has helped create.

Leadership is critical when transforming a safety program from good to world-class. Without the commitment of senior leadership to achieve a zero-incident workplace, jobsite conditions and attitudes will not change.

This excerpt was taken from Construction Executive, Workplace and Safety, written by Joanna Masterson.  Follow @ConstructionMag; @DulasExcavating;