4 steps to creating a culture of workplace safety

Authored by: Brian Fitzpatrick Published on: May 05, 2015

Safety has always been a core value at Haley & Aldrich. Based on our culture of looking for new ways of doing things to achieve the greatest value, we were inspired to take a critical look at our performance and embrace a more comprehensive safety culture – one which empowers all employees to assume responsibility for safety.

Below are four key ways Haley & Aldrich is implementing a reinvigorated and comprehensive safety program:

1. Implementing new training programs – at all levels of the organization

Corporate health & safety staff training for OSHA, First Aid/CPR, new miner training Haley & Aldrich’s Corporate Health and Safety department provides all the typical training programs such as OSHA 40 hour, OSHA Construction, First Aid/CPR, and New Miner Training. We also go beyond the typical in order to incorporate safety into “everything we do.” To achieve this, we have joined forces with our HR team, Human Potential, to include safety in staff training at all levels within the organization. 

It begins with training new staff members during their on-boarding process. This training provides an introduction to our safety culture, and creates awareness of safety expectations and safety protocol. Similarly, staff managers and project managers undergo training to better understand their roles within the company, including how they influence safety in what they say and do as well as in how they act. Safety is also part of each performance discussion, making it clear that Haley & Aldrich values safety as much as it values quality and productivity.
We also conduct monthly safety meetings, with attendance required of every staff member within the organization. During these sessions we review near misses, provide awareness training, and conduct group discussions about safety.

2. Establishing new environmental health and safety management systems, and continuously evaluating them

Establishing new environmental health and safety management systems

Haley & Aldrich continues to develop systems and revise documentation required to ensure compliance with our safety programs and support our safety culture. We strive to understand where weaknesses exist in our systems and make improvements. Some key tools in our management system include reporting, root-cause analysis, corrective action tracking, and audit and assessment tools.

Reporting is a valuable learning tool and a good indicator of the health of a system, providing visibility into system activity as well as monitoring trends in unsafe acts/behaviors, near misses, and reported incidents. Haley & Aldrich staff is expected to actively participate in stopping unsafe acts – engaging the person involved, correcting the issue, and recording the event so that others may learn from it. Near misses are reviewed, addressed, and used to develop training for our monthly meetings. Additionally, root cause analysis of incidents and higher risk near misses helps us better understand, learn from, and address the underlying causes of these events. We conduct corrective action tracking to avoid problems and close the loop, ensuring that responsibility for corrections is assigned and followed to closure.

3. Supporting our staff at the local level 

Supporting our staff with local health and safety coordinators

We have identified local health and safety coordinators who work in each Haley & Aldrich office. These are individuals from each business group who have been designated as safety representatives for their respective offices. Not only do these coordinators serve as valuable communicators of information to and from the locations they serve, but they also help us develop a higher level of safety awareness among our staff and help align project performance with safety. 

Our required monthly safety meetings are also hosted locally, and often led by our local health and safety coordinators. The opportunity to come together in offices to discuss and analyze our safety efforts often leads to new ideas and opportunities to improve our health and safety program based on staff input and experiences. 

4. Engaging our leadership

Safety In Everything We DoOur CEO, Larry Smith, is a longtime advocate of ensuring that safety is a key focus in everything we do. Under Larry’s leadership, safety is articulated as the first of our five core values. He focuses on safety each month in his communication to all staff and presents a “Courage in Safety” award to staff members who exemplify our safety culture.

Haley & Aldrich’s commitment to safety truly sets the standard for the industry and underscores our commitment to protecting our most important resource – our staff. We accomplish this through safety systems, tools, and training; by improving the ability of all staff to see unsafe systems, processes, situations, and behaviors; and empowering them to intervene to improve safety in our underlying systems, processes, and behaviors.

We work continuously to improve key performance indicators and outperform our industry. We know we are successful when each day, every person returns home as healthy as they came to work.

We'd like to know what you think. Share with us your innovative health and safety program ideas in the comments area or contact the author.

Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick, CHMM, is the Director of Health and Safety for Haley & Aldrich. He is passionate about seeking innovative ways to build a strong safety culture and to integrate safety into “everything we do.” Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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