The Safety Management Show
The Safety Management Show

Episode 7 · 1 month ago

Why Getting Safety Buy-In From All Levels Is So Important w/ Jeff Larson

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The key to making safety a priority is having a top-down approach. When field crews see that all company representatives - from the CEO to the supervisors - are adopting a culture of safety, they will feel more accountable to perform safely.

Jeff Larson, Director of Health and Safety at Electric Conduit Construction, joins the show to share how to get buy-in for a safety culture from all levels of an organization and why it’s so important.

Topics covered:

  • Safety needs buy-in at every level
  • What committing to safety looks like
  • The importance of holding people accountable

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You're listening to the safetymanagement show where safety professionals share engaging storiesabout their time in the trenches and the hard earned lessons they've learnedalong the way, let's dig in hi. This is jacqueline with the safety managementshow. Today my guest is jeff larson. He is the director of health and safetyover at electric conduit construction and we are so pleased to have them today welcome down by jackie. How are you i'm good? I'm good, so you know just alittle bit about what you guys do, so you are in the wireless in a fiberoptic area. Is that correct? That's correct, yeah, we're utility contractor.We install fiber optic cable and do a little bit of elect electrical work aswell, a very cool, very cool. So a couple of things that i kind of wantedto go over with you a little bit. You know i noticed that you went tonorthern illinois university, so go has skis for you guys absolutely, and youknow you've been in the industry for ten years, so you know you're a littlebit fresher in the industry. I, like that more young people are turning tosafety as a career. I'm trying to starting to see it more and more and alot of the schools are now offering most universities. Local universitiesare offering courses in you, know environmental, health and safety orocean classes. I know here, as we have the irish school engineering and theyoffer ocean courses. I myself was lucky enough to go and it's a really coolprogram, so super excited about that. You know what made you decide to choosea career in so so my you know it was actually interesting. My career pathtook me this direction because i went to school for a corporate andorganizational communication, so nothing safety related at all. I kindof fell into the position you know i came to the company. I was working as alaborer in the field for a couple years just to pay off. You know student loansand all that, and then they knew i had a degree and i was educated and capable.So they offered me a job in safety and gladly accepted winter. We were righton the verge of another cold winter and i didn't want to be working outside asmuch as you know as much as the pay was nice but yeah. So i got into safety andtook a kind of a unique route to get here, but i took it and ran with it andi'm loved. I love it. I'm passionate about it and it's been a greatopportunity to this point, an tastic it's great to see that you're sopassionate about it, and you have an interesting few interesting things inyour background right, so you're a bar horse, a certified evaluator. I deal alot with prequel account, so i'm super familiar with that, but you know forfolks say they don't have that knowledge. What was that like? That wasa good opportunity? The company had so i started off in the oil and gas fieldand they were in need of a trainer, an a valuator for ver force, so they sentme to take the class and become certified, and so now yeah i was i'vebeen able to evaluate people in mouth for quite a while. So i've had thatcertification, probably eight or nine years now, and don't need it so much onthe utility side that i'm on now, but with the oil gas side. I definitelyutilize it often with with all of our employees, just depending on whatcustomer we were working for. We had you know different requirements forwhat okes and all that were required- nice, nice and then i also noticed theother thing that you're in a specter for soil erosion and sediment control.Reading that you're doing some utility work now it does that play a big rolein t when it comes to your pros yeah, it does, and i mean more and more,customers are going that direction where they're more environmentallyconscious and asking us to. You know, perform work with environmentalexpectations in place. Where we're you know having having to filter bags andeverything before we just dump in a in a sewer drain, or anything like that.So it's definitely something that that's helped me and and more so youknow, when oil and gas side we had jobs that, were you, know, kind of in wetlands and other areas and the work we're doing now is primarily in thecity, but still definitely a concern and we and we definitely take take careand want to protect the environment and have as little impact as we can on theenvironment as we do our work. So awesome awesome, it's great that youknow you can incorporate. You know the environment and keep me in safe intoyour program. So koto see you guys for that. Just a quick question: what isone you know your upper coming up and comer in safety right, which i love,and i want to get your take on a belief thatyou found that people hold in safety that you would disagree with. So iwould say you know the accountability factor the you know having having buyinfrom every level of management. So you know there's a a perception, someplaces and at at the company that i was with previous. That's you know. Safetyis the responsibility of the safety coordinator, safety, director safetydepartment, they're, the ones that are holding the employees accountable forsafety, and that's it. I think it's important to take the approach you knowit has to have buying at every level or the culture is going to fail right ifthe first line supervisor for those...

...employees isn't you know as engaged asevery other. You know level of management. It's not. The employeeswon't feel the accountability and they're not going to perform as safelyas they could had. They, you know been held accountable. You know for theduration of their their career at the company, so i definitely think it'simportant to have the top down approach where you know use the ownership as tobuy and they have to they have to live it. They have to be ready to spendmoney on it. The you know the there's. You know safety's expensive right. So alot of these a lot of smaller companies that are up and coming may have aharder time to develop that culture early on, because it's financially, youknow constraint on them. So i think it's good to have commitment from everylevel and i think it's important that each level of management is, you knowit is preaching it living it, breathing it and leading by example, with safetyfor sure yeah, and that's one of the interesting things that you know. Youhad told me previously about your company right that the owners reallyare invested when it comes to the safety, culture and incident management.When something does happen, yeah yeah, we always had you know wehave to respond a safety personnel in our department. We are the ones thattypically respond to an incident. If we do have an incident and we you know-and we have this- you know we usually have a follow up with the crew. Webring them in. We do a root cause analysis and then usually you know ifit's something that's worth sharing with other crews and kind of gettingthe message out to all to everybody else, because if you know we want toprevent it from happening again right, a reoccurrence, but we have safety,stand down, we'll bring everybody in we'll kind of talk to them and go. Youknow, go through the incident and you know any findings that we had anythingthat could be learned from it. So it doesn't happen again in the future. Wewant to share that message with everybody so that they can all know,take that with them and apply it to their own work that they're doingthat's fantastic o you hear about companies doing stand downs, but it'susually when it's an official safety week on something you know we recentlyhad the stand down for fall crowd a couple months ago, which was kind ofinteresting because i just finished my fault for class. So i was all aboutthat. I now you i promoted that a lot, and so itwas. It was really cool just to see the people that body it on that fromdifferent industries yea, because it really is it's something that happenseverywhere when the companies do the sand downs and really take a stance onyeah area, so we actually yeah, we bring up. We try to find a differentrelevant topic. Each month we have a full every employee we have at thecompany comes in. We have a safety stand on what we bring them all in andusually review an important relevant safety topic just depending in then.Obviously, after an incident you know we want to have that, follow up to sothey're periodic and then they're after an incident. We also bring everybody in.We want to and talk to him and address the crew so and again that goes back toownership and and their commitment to it right because that it cuts intoproduction. You bring everybody in for an hour the whole company's you know,standing here and and on the clock and they're being paid, but they're notbeing productive. There's, no, you know for a contract or company. These guysare what the company needs to be able to be profitable right them, thenperforming the work so for them to take that time and allow for it to shut downand take a second and get in front of everybody and kind of address. Thecruise is is great and much appreciated from my end, for sure absolutely i cansee where it would be in so many companies. You know i find or when,when we discuss, you know their whatever they're doing for a trainingprogram. For example, you know what why i got to pull my guys off the field andyou know it cuts into prut production like you said, and i think there needsto be more of a mirror, but when it comes to production and safety workingtogether, you know agreed yeah. We had kind of talked about that. You knowgiving safety and production equal weight and how do you get there? Youknow when you have. You know we call them superintendents there, likegeneral foreman who are in charge of the cruise and how do you get them to their their production driven rightthere? Their mindset is always production, they want it. They want tomake come the company money and and perform and they're not doing that ifthey're taking time for safety and usually with most companies and fromwhat i've heard and seen, you know when, when you start pushing guys the firstthing to go. The first easiest corner to cut is usually safety right andthat's usually the first thing to go so to get to get guys in the mindset ofnot allowing that to happen and in what kind of met what you know, you got tobe really careful with your message to the crews. To that's that's another bigthing like if a guy hears you say hey, i don't care what you do just get thisjob done. It's got to get done. You know you may not mean duck corners, doit on safely, but as the crew, the guy at the form and who's receiving themessage he may hear like by any means necessary. I just got to do it and hegets. You know that that has a psychological effect on a guy, so toget guys kind of away from e that and...

...just to be careful with their messagingand obviously you know we never want to sacrifice safety because you getsomebody hurt or there's we have a major utility hit or an incident. Youknow all the profits that we just had for the last two weeks wiped out right,they're all gone, so i think you know to get to get people to see the valueand safety is, is really important and definitely a hurdle for some people.Absolutely, and you know one of the things i found interesting in our lastconversation. You know we talked a little bit about something that youknow more people are trying to do when it comes to safety, and you mentionedkind of trying to have a safety effect. You know the pay skill or the bonusstructure when it comes to polite completing a project. You know i reallylike to take on that, and i think our listeners would like to hear a littlebit about it. So yeah just it was it's an idea. We're throwing around we'retrying to figure out a way you know some sort of mechanism to trackproduction and safety equally and right now in most companies and what i'veseen in my experience is that it's just production driven right, the safety.You hope you hope the safety results are there, because you need them to.You know for a lot of these cust, the new customers that have safetyrequirements for mr and and incident rates, and things like that, so youhave to have a safety performance, but really it's the bottom line that mostpeople are focused on right, so to try to find a way to integrate dose andmake it relevant. You know to the superintendents who are directing thework and controlling the work. Hey. You know. If you have a job, you know yougot six jobs done and you made all this money great, but here we had twoincidents that cost us a hundred grand on the back end of it and now that'sthat's some cost that you can't. You can't recover so trying to find a wayto to make it impactful, and then i think you know money is a motivator soto try to find a way to integrate that into the bonus structure. Like you said,i think, is a great idea and theory: it's just it's hard to get there. Youknow it's hard to figure because, and you know we also try to incorporateauditing to we've talked about like how well are your crews performing? Are youchecking up on him? Are you you know to make that a meaningful site visit andperform an audit and are the results there or are they falling short as ourequipment out of date? Are there you know dangerous, unsafe tools on theirtrucks, like things like that too? So it's really good. In theory, i like theidea, a lot we're just we're still trying to get there ourselves so yeahdefinitely a great concept. I really like the idea- and you know that kindof leads me to you know. We had also talked about things that people shouldstop doing when it comes to safety right, and you know, one of the thingsthat you mentioned was that we need to not assume that our employees know whatsafe, just because they take the training. So what does that look likein your company? So i think just just to follow up you know and making surethat that a crew understands their actual hazards that they're facingright because complacency we all know in the industry. Complacency is a huge,huge problem right. So i think you know that the more we can get away from froma you know. Just we think we train this guy he's got the knowledge we did theclassroom training. He should be able to go to the field and perform his work.You know we're a union company, so the the union halls have their trainingcenters and all that and and we assume confidence and if a guy's competed inthe classroom, okay, he's going to go out there and be able to perform hisjob. He understands what he's doing he knows, but that may not be the caseright. So there has to be some follow up and we have to you know, challengeourselves and whether that be you know, job shadowing or something like thatwhere it's, where you know, given the guy a chance and kind of figuring himout and let him figure out the company's expectations, because in myyou know from what i've seen every company does have slightly. You knowvariation slight variations of safety expectations right, so you may havedone it differently and especially being a union company. We have a lot ofturnover, so there's people that come in with with companies that had nosafety program whatsoever. You know they know how to do the work. They'vedone it for years, they get it, but they don't necessarily they've, neverlooked at it from a safety lens. You know and- and i think getting themgetting them to cross. That bridge is challenging. Sometimes it some guys andsome guys are. You know easily adaptable and figure it out quick, butit's definitely definitely a challenge. I think for us to yeah. I find you knowa lot of fokes have that issue when it comes to you just. You know, makingsure that the employees understand and can utilize what they've wanted rightand you know like. I know my experience. I found that you know close to. Eightypercent of the ocean violations happen within a discussion with an employeeregarding safety and- and so i think, that's another area that that companiesneed to really broach, and you know, get with their employees a little bitmore about how you know see if he really works when you're in the field,as opposed to in a classroom, a hundred percent yeah. So i think that you knowone thing: we've tried to do: we've n!...

We've done this. We have an eightfifteen daily safety call, so every crew calls in every single day. Youknow we talked about a safety topic, so we do the monthly stand out, obviously,where we have a big focus right for that month, we're kind of laying thingsout and we're getting in front of them, but then we have a daily call and it'sfive minutes. You know just to kind of keep it refresh, keep it fresh in theirmind, get them thinking and try to avoid some of that complacency that youknow inevitably sets in with a guy. That's done this work for twenty years,and you know he made. I hope what i always tell them is you know you maynot even know you're doing it wrong, but, and you may get you may havegotten away with it a thousand times, but it only takes one time to do it thewrong way and for it to have a extreme negative consequence. So you know youreally do have to focus on all the little things. Yeah absolutely, and ifind that a lot of people. You know oh well, it takes an extra step and it's apain, and you know and the understanding that as safetyprofessionals, we want to make home make sure that everybody goes home atthe end of the day, with all their fingers and toes and as a whole person.They have families, you know t, and so i'm finding a few companies are leavingmore towards the effect of you know: hey you get hurt, you're gonna lose pay.You, your family is going to be jeopardized. Maybe you can't play withyour kids anymore. You know and really focusing on the extenuatingcircumstances when it comes to a workplace, injury or a fatality. Youknow where get ara right, i mean that's, that's that usually brings it home forpeople, so we we are definitely in line with that. We focus on that a lot youknow and we try to get the message across. So you know we want activecaring in the field right, so we try to get our employees to. You know, watchout for each other care about each other right. If you see somebody doingsomething unsafe or you know, they're doing it wrong, you know say somethingright speak up it and it's not easy right. Some people have a different.You know different comfort levels, saying things to their peers, but ityou know to get them to care about each other and to make it meaningful, and ithink that's that's the culture we're trying to create so that it's easier.You know when you, when you care about somebody to say, hey man, i don't wantyou to get hurt. I don't want you to do it that way. You know you're going tohurt yourself you're going to get killed whatever we got to focus on thatand- and i think we get there just trying to push guys to you- know theseguys work with each other every day. Right you work with somebody every dayfor a couple years. You become friends, you know you see him on social media.You know what their families look like, so it kind of starts hitting home withthese guys and they start realizing. I oh yeah, you know something i alwaystry to focus on is like you know you guys it's dangerous. What we do everyday, there's something there's always something that can can bite you, andyou know you really do have to get to. You know, focus on the little thingsyou know make a safety a priority. Every day get your j sa filled out. Youknow, walk the job, so i look for hidden hazards like these things allhave a purpose. We're not just telling you to do it. You know just to fulfilla requirement or check a check box. It's literally employed to protect you,you know from from these hazards, and potentially you know an incident or aninjury that could be significant to your life, so yeah definitely want tofocus and kind of change. The focus from you know we're we walking throughwe're doing an audit, we're checking all the boxes. You know it's check backsafety culture is is no good. I that's one of the that's one of my petpeeves is the check box safety culture, where everything is just meeting arequirement. Okay, we did this okay, we did this. Let's move on, you know backto the production and i think guys lose focus of of what's really important atthat point. Yeah and you know interesting with the with the check boxof scenario right. I know we recently also talked about you know differentresources and tools that companies can now use it to kind of bring alongsafety, and you mente, like sms tracking training type of thing. Areyou implementing any of that right now or playing to in the future? Yes, wejust implemented last year. Hc ss is the name of the the software and it'sbasically a safety management software system that tracks. We do everythingbasically in there. So all of our tool box talks are training. We any training,certifications that a guy comes with. You know when he starts starts workingfor the company. It's all tracked there we do our j sss on the system. Whatelse does it do it? Does? It does literally everything? So it's beengreat. You know it took some time and kind of getting it built up on thefront end, but it's now that it's kind of running smoothly. You know we'rejust working out little kinks here and there, but it's it's been a big success.So definitely a big fan of that absolutely, and you know you hadmentioned about how you're able to kind of track. What happens you know, is a athere more injuries when it's cold and or in the summer right getting the dataout of it. That that's a huge thing for me is is not. I know how to direct mysafety ccommunications based on you...

...know the trends that i'm seeing youknow we got. You know i don't give you any kind of graph. You want an ow, youallow you to manipulate the data anyway you want to so i think that's a that'sa huge help, because usually there is you know you see, there's there'susually a point where there's factors that are are making a bigger impact sotime of day or something of things of that nature. The day after return towork from a holiday. You know we do see an uptaken incidents in some of thosescenarios, so definitely good to get out in front of it and kind of use thatdata to help us help us direct our communications. For sure. You know it'sinteresting that you mentioned, you know return to work after a holiday.You know: we've got fourth of july, coming up e, it's the middle of thesummer. You know, as you know, i'm in arizona.So it's a hundred plus degrees way, plus you know,and and it's warmer in other areas of the country too right now, and so youknow, i think that what people do on their downtime over a long weekend. Itkind of changes from a regular weekend. But do you think that has to do withsome of the incidents that you're finding yeah for sure so yeah? Wealways try to have a safety staying down on a return to work after aholiday, because you know if it's a four or five day weekend or whatever.It's definitely you know most people are you know having drinks or you knowjust sitting around laying around her it's their off time, so totallyunderstandable. But you know it's. We always try to start the day with a goodstretch. You know we've been, we have our stand out and bring everybody backin just like try to get them refocused. We stretch out, we get loosened back up.You know try to avoid his soft issue, injuries that may that may bite us andthen that day seems to be. You know a great opportunity for a soft tissueinjury if you've been sitting around and things you know are kind oftightening up on you so yeah. I definitely agree with that approach.Interesting that you mentioned you know the stretching and and soft tissue, somost of phoenixes the roads are always always under construction. Here i don'tknow if it's like that. Oh yeah, you nicklin, where you are, but i don'tcare what rot i'm going down it's under construction and when i'm on my way inin the morning, i see one of our utility cruise. You know and they're amajor national contractor, and i see the crew on the side of the road andit's like four thirty five o'clock in the morning and these guys are outthere doing stretches on the side of the road which i just think is isreally neat. You know. Is it something that you guys do on a regular basis, oris it just like standdown holiday alignment? How we do it every morningguys that start in our yard. We lead a group stretch, and then everybody thatstarts on a job site or whatever that they're expected to stretch as well.That's part of the the part of the daily safety obligations that they havefor us, so yeah, that's, definitely something we focused on and we did have.We did have kind of an uptick and soft issue ingers a few years ago and thatthis is what you know. This is kind of what necessitated us to implement thestretching and try to do as much as we can on the front of em to startreversing that negative trend, we were suing yeah. Definitely you know. I justrecently finished one of my ose certifications and we had a whole. Ithink it was like ten days on ergonomic and i didn't even i didn't have a clue.You know i mean you stretch before you. You know you gowork out or you know if you dance or whatever you know. I remember as a kiddoing, softball and gymnastics, and all this other stuff- and you stretchbefore you do those things, but you don't really think about you knowstretching before you go to work because you might turn the wrong wayand be star. So i think it's really great that you guys are incorporatingthat yeah, the other, the other thing we we did to address that we actuallybrought on a it's like a a he's, a doctor he's like a chiropracticphysician and he does work. He comes into the yard on tuesday mornings andhe will work on any of our guys. Adjust them stretch him out whatever they needan. He has like a total wellness program associated with his businesstoo. So you know to stop strown replacement and other things is theaging work force. You know they becomes a problem as they get older. You knowhe helps address that with them to and tries to keep them as is healthy andlimber as they can as a into their older age and enof their careers. So its it's been. It's been really good. It's been a big success. Everybodylikes him. There's a little hesitancy at first yeah. You come it's actually,a pretty cool he's got a mobile physical therapy like office that hedrives in a in like a party bus. So i go. Wow he's got all his equipment inthe bus, it's all hooked up and then guys go in and get treatment, and youknow they're a little apprehensive at first. But now that he's been here fora couple of years, it's it's been a big success and we've definitely seen aversal in our soft issue. Injuries. So the goal, i would say, has beenachieved so far, so definitely good, nice, nice, that's really cool areathat you know you incorporated in o your safety culture,and you know- and i say that- because...

...really your company, you know you'vebeen really part of implementing a lot of it- is that it is a culture. It'snot a program. It's not! You know, hey we're going to do these little two boxtalks and we're going to do. You know quick training, it's really a way oflife for your companion, and i really just think that that's the way thatcompanies need to move going forward. Yeah, it's got to be a commitment, andit is it's a fine even that you know, that's a that's a cost to the companyand we provide that as a service to our employees to keep them healthy. Youknow, and it's ultimately to benefit them in their life and and keep themhealthy and going until they're into their later years. So definitelydefinitely takes a commitment from from the from the owners for management fromevery level. So it's good to see it's de. It's easy, you know, i do feel likesorry for people that have a company that's just kind of having a safetyprogram developing and its infancy stages, because this kind of thingisn't available. You know e h and for for a larger company that has you knowbig revenue and everything else that it's a lot easier for them to implementthis than it is for an up and coming company. That's just trying to getstarted so definitely appreciate. You know where i'm at right now for sureyeah and it's so the difference in you know, like you, said some of thesmaller companies. You know some are very hyper focused when it comes tosafety. You know i'm going to follow this and i you know this is what i needto have. I need to have everything that i need and they need to make sure myguys are trained and, and then you know you have other companies that are justlike man. You know i got to get it done. I don't worry so much about that. Youknow osas never come out to my job side. Well, you know the new administrationjust hired like a thousand new ocean inspectors, ether coming for i exactlyyeah, it's interesting. You know, and i think that that's kind of you know.Another interesting thing is how the different administrations are makechanges or don't make changes to you know when it comes to ocean and safety.So you know, i think it's kind of just neat that this administration isfocusing on that yeah for sure the last one didn't so you know it kind of itall. It has its difference. You know everybody has a difference of opinionon it, but it was just you know striking to me yeah it it seemed likeit was. You know, focus more on the you know. Worker safety in relation to thepandemic, right, like that was kind of their emphasis at first, was like wehave to protect the workers. You know people are taking advantage and abusingthe workforce and working through a pandemic. So i think that was that itcould also be a big revenue, generator right, i for being and being realisticabout it and having more people in the field. You're, probably going to findmore things and have more, you know, revenue generated from osea fines andthings of that nature. So definitely definitely interesting. It'll beinteresting. Next couple years tell goes, yeah it'll be different to see,and you know one of the things that i think it's interesting and that wetouched on is you know you do some of your work in the suburbs, but then nowyou now you most of your work is focused to the city and inner city.What types of hazards do you find that are like different between the twoareas? What differences are you finding in terms of thinking, so i guessworking first off working in the city, you know and we transition fromprimarily suburb work and we were actually building sell towers andthings like that. You know probably seven or eight years ago and then we'vetransitioned now we've he primarily underground. Now we also do you know wehave a division that hangs equipment on small cell poles, but you know workingin the city and obviously has a very unique set of challenges. So, justdepending on the neighborhood, you know traffic and pedestrians across theboard anywhere you're at in the city. That's our biggest! That's our biggestconcern, that's our biggest problem and challenge, i would say on a daily basis.So we always you know we give guys tons of stuff to protect themselves rightall the traffic control we have cones and come bar set up. We want him to setup a whole perimeter on the job side because we've had. I can't tell you howmany times we've had people drive. You know if we just have cones up mostpeople see colones or i go okay. I shouldn't go that way, but not that'snot the case. Not everybody thinks that way. Unfortunately, so we've had manypeople pull into a trench that we just dug and you know roll their car into atrench. We've had people ride their bikes, you know and end up in ourconcrete. You know wet concrete that we just poured and things like that. Soit's constant. It's always something and then obviously the depending on theneighborhood in chicago there's, there's some nice areas and there'ssome really rough areas with high crime. So you know theft and protecting ourequipment and assets and then obviously no empowering employees to you knowprotect themselves and get out of the area if they feel unsafe in any way, sothat that's been a big, a big push for us as well. You know, thankfully wehaven't had any. You know anybody,...

...rabbit gun, point or anything like that,but we've heard plenty of times where other contractors have had that happen.So we always try to share that message, and just you know, situationalawareness for our guys is is very important, especially in some of thetougher neighborhoods. So and then you know the suburbs everybody likes to goto the suburbs, because it's quiet and it's nice and it's not the hustle andbustle of the city. So most of our crews prefer you know prefer that, butbut that definitely has challenges to so you know being an undergroundcontractor when you're in the suburbs, usually we're trying to find space forutility. You know there's a very small right away and usually in the parkwayor wherever we're in front of the there's, you know water, gas who or boyou know it's chuck full of paint. So we have a hard time finding. You know away to safely install our plight by, i would say, and had some we've had acouple of utility, its directional drilling that were very costly. So itwas definitely a lesson learned for us and we had to figure out some policiesand procedures and do a complete review and kind of overhauler a utility damageprevention program. But when you're in the city you know usually we're sackcutting and it's harder to dig in the city, because it's all concrete right.So we're not we're not really installing pipe and a grassy parkwaylike we are in the suburbs, so definitely more of a challenge just ofavoiding utility hits in the burbs. Definitely you know i lived in thesuburbs before and you know you see the flags all over everybody's, the littleplags all over bes front line. You know- and you know i think it's interestingand i'm sure that you're focused when it comes to safety, is a little bitdifferent between the two areas, like you said, you're doing more digging inthe suburb areas than you are in the city because in the city, a lot of thatgroundwork is already laid for you, so you're just going in and doing someworking. Do you find that you do more like the trenching digging a type ofsafety training for the suburbs and like more confined space for city? Whatdoes that look like? Oh yeah, so yeah i mean we enter man holes, that's usuallywhere, like our job, the pipe terminates into a man whole generally,so yeah we have a man ho entry program. That's really the really. The onlyconfined space that we are ever exposed to is through man whole entry. So wedefinitely have that as a big focus for all of our guys and and everybody'scross trained. So it's not really. You know we train one more than the other.Any underground crew gets training on utility damage prevention program. Youknow why it's important! We've seen we've seen gas hits in the city ofchicago, then of like a led to exploding houses and buildings, andthings like that. So it's definitely you know you show a couple videos and-and you know it's the wild factor there i holy crap. This is why we why we needto you know, protect these utilities, because it's dangerous not only tocompany finances, but it's also dangerous to you, know public andeverybody else in the area. So yeah definitely try to make the effort totrain everybody. You know cross, train everybody and have crews that areversin can do either one nice nice it that's a that's a really great conceptto have where everybody you know kind of, has an idea of the differenthazards, no matter where they are. You know, and one of the things that wetouched on last time was. You know a recent thing that your company hastried that you were kind of surprised on the result, and you know you hadmentioned that for you, it's your safety committee and- and i like your inclusive approach, thatyour company has so would tell us a little bit more about that yeah. So westarted up a safety committee. Basically, this was probably two yearsago. We started doing it and then with the pandim, we kind of it went by thewayside, but we started a back up again, thankfully excited about that. But wehad some. You know different. Each different work group had an employeerepresentative at the safety committee, and then we had a project manager and asuperintendent, and we basically want to allow everybody. You know anybodythat has a position at the company. They have an opportunity to say theirpeace at the safety committee and that kind of helped. You know, i think itkind of helped open up the lines of communication, because there's beenhistorically there's been a disconnect. I think, with you, know, pms and guysthat are actually performing the work in the field pms. In the office he'slooking at his you know, km overhead files to you know he's not actually onthe job, seeing all the different things that a crew may run intothroughout their day, but he's just looking at the production that's comingin and maybe there's a disconnect there so having that opportunity foreverybody to get together and kind of talk through and discuss. Some of thethings i think has been has been a nice thing for us for sure yeah, and youknow it's called that you involve different areas of the company right, adifferent department. I know you know, and it goes across the board, for youguys did you find that there's a particular department that wasinterested in safety that you didn't expect? I yeah you know the aco we had,so we have mechanics working in our in our yard, and i was just you know.Usually i don't know, i guess just it's a reputation. Some people are. I have arepotation of like. Oh these guys don't...

...care about safety. Their attitude isjust you know you get a vibe from somebody, but then i you know. Welcomethis mechanic from our from our shop into our safety committee and he camewith a whole list of things that that he had to bring up and all the thingsthat he saw in the yard. That was going wrong, like all these safety issuesthat he had identified in the yard that were you know that needed to becorrected. So definitely definitely kind of surprised me, and it was niceto see that he actually, you know, took it very seriously and had some reallygood input and feedback for so that was that was cool, very neat, very neat.You know i hear more with different and i speak to you, people throughout alldifferent industries. So i do a lot in energy and oil and gas and construction,and it's funny so my roommate just got a job with you know a huge americanmanufacturing company that happens to have a plant here in phoenix and one ofthe things that they asked her was do you want to be part of our emergencyresponse team and she was like well you just like he just hired me. I don't youknow, and so i think it's interesting that that larger companies are startingto you know, have these emergency response teams and certain teams- andyou know different things in place. Do you have one as well that differs fromyour sake community, not an emergency response team per se, but we mean we dotrain of our people and cpr first aid. We talk about situational issues likethat, where you know you may have to respond and if you're, if you'retrained, we expect that you're able to perform you know and perform a rescue.If need be. We do some additional rescue training for manal entry as well.You know what the fire department is. Basically they come in and they'llthrow all of our equipment out of the way and if they have a guy, that'sasphyxiated or whatever in the mantel they bring their own stuff in andperform the rescue, so just getting guys kind of comfortable and and inthat mindset where they're thinking about it, i think is, is a really goodthing and has value just so that they're not you know what. If the timecomes in the situation, rises, they're, not completely blind, sided andpanicking, and all that that you know if you're thinking about it ahead oftime and you're kind of getting the gears are years, are turning in yourhead about it. You know, usually, if the, if i, if you're faced with thatsituation, your response is going to be much better nice. What do you think isa bothery or maybe a technique that other ct professionals should start toinclude in their program? I mean, i think, like we d kind of mentionedearlier, that the check box you know having having the audit as your guideand in the perception that that can kind of create in the field to get awayfrom that, i think, is a big thing, because, usually you know some people.When i come out to a job side, i don't want guys to be like a crap, the safetyguys here. Ah you know, i don't want him to have the attitude. I want him tobe like, oh, okay, maybe he's gonna, give me feedback and identify somethingthat i'm missing. You know it's just another set of eyes: it's a it's ahelping hand more than anything. It's not somebody! That's out there tryingto catch you and, like, oh, you know, you're going home you're doing this,i'm going to write you up like that that that is that's destined forfailure. I think- and there still is some of that you know and safety, and ithink that that's something that we really need to get away from for sureyeah. Absolutely i hear that a lot. You know the safety guys the bad guy, andit really shouldn't be that way, because it's more that you have everyone's best interestright. You know at hiante an ally i want to help. I want to providefeedback, give a second set of eyes and give you know what i see from a safetystandpoint, because my viewpoint is different from from the guy who's doingthe work right. I'm i want to help him i'm here as a support position. Morethan anything, i that's that's how i feel about it. Yeah and i like that.Take on things have you found that you know? I know you were in the field fora while and that's where you started and you kind of safety kind of fellinto safety, so to speak, and i find a lot of people that happens to you knowevery day, i'll speak to at least one person that you know i'm new to safety.They just they just threw this at me. I i don't know. Is there a process or away of thinking that you feel like people who are new to safety could takeadvantage of yeah? I think you know have it. You have to haveaccountability right. There has to be employee accountability and in our jobis safety professionals. That's a big component of it right. Do you have tohold people accountable? They have to they have to follow the program of theprotocol, and it has to be something in place to you know, identify short fallsand things that guys aren't doing correctly so just to have. I think thatactive caring goes a long way with that, just make sure you're building aculture and by you know, making it meaningful to people they're going tobe much more likely to perform safely and and and do better, and i think youroverall safety performance is going to it's going to be much better if peoplecare about what you're doing and find their. Why right? Why am i doing this?What because, if you just ask somebody, hey, you know, put your cones aroundyour truck. That means nothing right, but if you showthem hey, you knowsomebody backed over a small child and...

...it was you know there was an incidenthere and you and you make it meaningful like that's why we do what we do right.That's why we take the action of doing our three and sixty walk around andchecking all sides of the vehicle and making sure that there's nothing around.You know it's just making it it's not just throwing rules of people, it'staking it the next step and telling them why why this is in place? Whywe're doing it this way? That is, i mean, that's, inevitably going to havea much greater impact on some way. Yeah, absolutely you know you need to knowyou need to tell them the why that they're doing things- and i know likeone concept we have here at our company- is you know our leadership team whenthey engage with you always ask you: what's your wife, you know, and- and soi think, that's interesting. Do you get involved in that area at all when itcomes to? You know why your people do the type of work that they do not sure.I understand what o? What do you mean exactly so, like our company reachesout to us, you know pretty often you know, why do you do eat o? Why do youcome to work? What's your purpose, you know, and it ranges you know from youknow. Oh i want to make sure people get home save to. I want to pay check toyou know i like a limited vacation right yeah. Now we definitely do that.That was a big focus. We had. We do an annual training where we bringeverybody in for a couple days of training and we get everything of our.You know annual requirements out of the way, but that was a big focus for us.This year was like you know, find your. Why? Why are you working safely? Whyare you going to perform? You know your safety duties every day and usuallyit's you know family. I want to go home to my family, i one so just making itrelevant in that way. Yeah! That's that's! Definitely something we didlast year in our in our safety, stand down and and focused on quite a bit so yeah. Definitely youknow the impact that safety can have on a person or an employee and othersright. So, if i don't ask safely, but you do well, i affect your way of liferig and it comes back to the accountability aspect or absolutely ayou know. I think that's a big i can of really needs to play a bigger role inwhen it comes to safety and implementing a safety culture. I, likethat you're young in the safety industry, but you've been here for tenyears, so you're not like you know, fresh off the door, but you know you're.I talked to a lot of people that have been in it, for you know thirty plusyears and sure- and you know so with a fresh set of eyes like yours when insafety you know as in any in area, to take a career, and you know what do you?What are you seeing? That could be the future when it comes to safety? I think,even in the last ten years, even in my career there's been a huge shifttowards safety right, whether that be driven by you know, i frankly, i don'tknow what it's serving by. I know for us. It was trit. We we started to workfor both edison t e, the power company in this area, and they demand a lotsafety wise and they have very high expectation safety, environmental,there's, there's a lot that they go through and they have a very broadprogram, and i think that that has challenged us as a contractor to raiseour game. You know and to do better, and i think that that's that's had abig, a big impact on speaking specifically for my company. That'sthat's, that's been huge for us and help me kind of get new ideas. She knewthings you know and really challenge me to my game as well. So you know thatshift between the shift from the old days where it was just do whatever ittakes its construction. What we know this is what we do. We cut corners. Wedo this and to get that shift to okay, take a step back, you know what are weactually doing here? What stuff we're doing is so dangerous. You know that,were you get you become blind to it over time right you get complaisant,you don't even realize that you know any any of this stuff can be can be.Very hazard is very dangerous to think just and getting guys to kind of take astep back, realize it and take a more proactive approach for sure nine, andyou know, one of the things that i like that we've talked about a couple timesis how your safety, you know, training and talks kind of you know your uniformso that everybody has the same information, no matter what their jobis, but you guys get specific when it comes to training for individual job types and-and i think that's really- you know a new focus that i'm seeing more of durgoand i would be interested to know you knowwhat direction you think that should go in as opposed to just standard trainingfor everybody yeah. I think you know the training component of it is huge,of course, and you know having guys that are trained in in the scope. Ulwork that they're going to be performing. I mean you have to have itright: it's not an option but- and i think that there's you know for us- wehave many different work divisions, there's different people that areperforming different types of work every day. Some guys are in a buckettruck every day. Some guys are...

...underground every day, so i meanthere's a disconnect if you start training the bucket truck guy, shoringand camping, a person, excavation training and things like you're goingto lose them right, but it's still important that they have it because youknow if we get slow or there's there's a situation this guy may have to cross.You know ostrand into this and perform a different scope of work. So i think,having that cross training is important, but it's also, you know you got tofocus on on the real hazards. What is this guy doing? He's probably moreconcerned about you know the guy in the bucket trucks more concerned aboutentering the minimum approach. Distance of are electrical lines than he isabout. You know hitting a high voltage, cable underground, so definitely havingrelevant training and making it meaningful and having guys that they'regoing to they're going to get a lot more out of it. I think absolutely andi'm finding that a lot of the training is kind of changing a little bit. Youknow now a lot of it's more interactive and you know things you know there'smore like you know, you have your system that you know disotto andtraining and your meetings and all that for you. So i like the idea that companies are going more. You knowdigital when it comes to that, but yet there's some stuff that you really haveto focus on your in person. I, like you, mentioned the shoring and you know thethe lifts and and things of that nature. So are you finding that your crews areugali ing digital, a little bit more in terms of safety? Yeah i mean we do wedon't necessarily have you know we still do our our paper tests andeverything at our annual training when we're doing it. But we are, you knowthe tool box talks and all that are all are all digital they're. All on t i hadnow everybody's signing off and going through it and there's and there'ssometimes a quiz or a short short quiz at the end of it that they'll have totake. But it's i mean i think that yeah. No, i don't.I guess we don't really do anything digitally as far as testing or anythinglike that at this point, so i do think that it is better. I think, having that interactive piece ofit is good, because i can tell you you know during our our annual trainingcatch, a lot of guys, sleeping or fading, or you know dozing off, and soi think to have that engagement and a little bit more interaction isdefinitely you know, keeps him keeps him away, keeps him on their toes. Soone of the things i was at the ass p safety conference in las vegas a coupleyears ago, and i took a class on like how to make training more interactiveand more exciting for people, and one of the things was just getting up andmoving right. That was you keep. You can hold your audience a lot longerwhen you got sixteen hours two days straight of nothing but safety trainingyou're going to you're going to lose people, but the information is soimportant. You know you want to keep them engaged and keep peopleentertained as best you can. So it's so getting up. You know doing thingswalking around doing just little exercises in between each thing, ithink is that is actually you know proven to be much. You know a very nicetool and very helpful. So that's something that that we've implumed nice,nice and you know i recently spoke with. I had i had another guest on that itruns a training facility. Here you know, does some fall pro and you know thetower trains, the tower guys and all that kind of stuff and the pandemicreally played a role, and you know how we provide safety trading in thedifferent avenues, and you know he was saying that you know he found a lot ofpeople were hesitant to go the zoom ram or the web xr out. Were you guys ableto utilize any of that? Was it a resourceful tool for you during thepandemic? So yeah? We didn't really do much on zoom or anything like that, butwe did. It did kind of force us we didn't have our annual training. Wedidn't do our normal. Where we have everybody in you know we didn't havesafety stand downs. We didn't bring people together, so i think we didfocus more on on the tool box talks and on our daily safety call. We did haveyou know different the tool box talks. We try to make more relevant to eachdivision, so i can part of css. You can actually control what work groups areassigned with tool box talks, so we sent the tool box talks that arerelevant to them, so instead across training and just giving them all thetrain and throwing it at him, you know we took a. We took a more nuancedapproach to it and you know made the training. Obviously you know morerelevant to what their scope of work is going to be every day yeah, absolutelybecause which is a bomber. I don't like that. I prefer to do it the other way.You know it stinks because it was, i mean it kind of hamstring us a littlebit in terms of the information we could get out to these guys at it. Butagain it was a challenge and we all had to work through it. So yeah- and youknow i don't know you know where you guys are at, but i know here in thephoenix area like you know, life has come better, it's great! It's nice, youknow you. Can you know it's the listed the mask mandate here and you knowthere's a people as is you still have to wear it, but it's not. You know likeit was or yeah almost everybodyy. I...

...know it's vaccinated and you know weworked here through the pandemic and we kind of did some some social distancingwith our desks yeah. You know i kind of made things interesting. How did itaffect how closely you know? Your guys were because you're doing you're doingsome underground stuff right, so you really couldn't avoid that what safetymeasures did you guys have in place to kind of work around that to get youthrough yeah we have, i mean we had the mask mandate like everybody else did,and you know as the social distancing if they were within six feet. You knowwe asked him to mask up and there of course was a lot of push back and youknow i'm at especially in the summer time when it's hot and you know nobodywants to wear a mask, so it definitely had a lot of challenges. And- and so wetry to limit guys like that, were riding together to job sites and trucks,and things like that. We just we try to take as much of the closeness out of itas we could. You know, inevitably, construction you're going to be withinsix feet of somebody throughout the day right for the most part. So, but we didour best to manage it. I mean we like everybody else. We had our fair sharecases and had to to kind of work through it, and you know we, thecompany. Actually, so we wanted. You know we try to encourage guys to reportany potential exposures or anything like that. So i know a lot of a lot ofcompanies didn't like pay their guys or offer any time off or any leave oranything like that in our company. Thankfully, try to protect theemployees, try to you know, keep them from from spreading it. You know ifthey did think they had an exposure, we would keep them home with pay and, andyou know, and wait for their tests or whatever, but we, but we definitely tryto take care of them in the meantime and get everybody safe and healthy andback to work. So nice, nice, well, you know we're almost out of time. What isone thought or idea that you'd like people to remember in terms of in termsof safety, the need for it, the need for safety, culture, yeah, okay, i e. Igot you, so i think that i think you know like we said before. I think justhaving that that top down approach is the key to everything. In my opinion,you know to have by and at each level and do not make it strictly theresponsibility of the safety department to keep everybody safe, and if anincident happens. Oh it's this. You know. Let's look at the safety part andthen we get under were under scrutiny and and people start pointing fingers.I think to have that by and at every level is so important and so critical,and i know for a fact, the crews in the field. They can feel that they know youknow they know if they can get away with. You know not performing up toexpectations from a safety standpoint. If they're superintendent comes out andjust overlooks everything you know, that's inevitably going to be somethingthat they remember. It sticks with him and then you know, god knows they mightskip the same step tomorrow and it may cause an incident. So i think, havingthat approach having that byan is, is absolutely critical. Awesome! Well, youknow jack. It was a pleasure. Speaking with you again, you know i reallyenjoyed talking to you. I'm sure that the folks that are listening were ableto grab a few things, and thank you so much for being here. I reallyappreciate it. That's a tulle, thank you and another episode of the safetymanagement show everybody have a great date and bez in need of a blue print for workplacesafety and compliance safety services company is north america's leadingprovider of safety. Training and compliant solutions we supply customsafety, annuals and policies and on site and online training solutions thatwill enhance the safety of your workplace and our compliance serviceswill save you time and resources guaranteeing peace of mind witheighteen years in the industry we have a proven track record of helpingcustomers achieved better safety outcomes by providing customizesolutions to fit the unique needs of each business to learn more had tosafety services. Companyon thanks for listening to the safetymanagement, show to hear more stories from safety leaders subscribe to theshow in your favorite podcast player. If you enjoyed the show, leave us arating until next time stay safe, t.

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