It is easy to call “safety” a core value. But the truth is, safety as a core value is hard to live every day. It takes dedicated leaders who are willing to sacrifice time from production to constantly re-train. It takes employees willing to wear extra layers of clothing in Oklahoma heat to stay visible. It takes a team committed to making sure everyone goes home from work to their families in the same condition they showed up in. It is our Special Sauce.
At Ellsworth, we take pride in the fact “safety” is our number 1 core value. We take the basics and are committed to improve on them any way we can. We know by doing this, we will continue to be successful and stand out.
But we aren’t keeping our Special Sauce a secret. Take the basics – continue to build. Simple, right? Here are a few strategies we embrace every day:
- Use Personal Protective Equipment Every Day AND get feedback from the field on what they want to wear. When I started junior high, all I wanted was an Izod polo, well, because everyone had an Izod polo. After months of complaining, my parents finally bought me an Izod NOT a polo – a long sleeve dress shirt with paisley print purchased off a sale rack. I.Was.Mortified. and changed in the bathroom as soon as I got to school. Our crews always wear required PPE, but we care about comfort and fit (and the cool factor). Hard Hats are a must, but if they are uncomfortable, the day is miserable. High Visibility vests are great, but when Ellsworth Logos are on the back, they wear them with pride. Ask what they want to wear. Make sure they wear it.
- Start Each Day with A Safety Meeting AND make sure it is relevant to the task at hand. Every day, our leaders start the day with a safety meeting on their iPad. And, it is applicable to what tasks the crews will be performing that day. We invested in specialized construction safety software that provides us access to over 1200 topics, so each morning, we can cover what obstacles we might encounter that day. Besides, who doesn’t love an iPad?
- Make Sure a Key Person at Each Site is Responsible for Safety AND make sure you give them the training they need to be successful. Every Ellsworth Foreman is OSHA 30 Certified and First Responder Safety Certified. Why? Because they can’t enforce and they can’t teach what they don’t know. Set them up for the win.
- Control Traffic Flow/Traffic Control AND make sure you check it each and every day. The most significant risk to construction workers is the dangers of getting hit by oncoming traffic. Yes, after years in road construction I still cringe when I pull up on road construction. But I know if its an Ellsworth job, our leaders checked every single piece of traffic control and made sure it was in place exactly where it is supposed to be. Oh, and it helps when we onlookers slow down and obey the flagger.
- Document, Document, Document AND make sure you investigate and create corrective actions when applicable. Of course, every single company can and should document when something happens out in the field. But if those forms just go in a filing cabinet (file 13), we all wasted our time and effectively set ourselves up for another accident. Here at Ellsworth, our leadership team goes over every single accident and near miss, creates Corrective Actions, and (Special Sauce) follows up on them to make sure we follow through. No, those meetings aren’t fun. But they are meaningful.
Food for thought: Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.