It’s been more than 1,000 days since a GeoEngineers employee missed time due to a work-related injury. Wayne Adams, corporate health and safety program manager officer, credits this streak to an ongoing emphasis on safety throughout the company.
While GeoEngineers has always prioritized workplace safety, an unusually high number of OSHA-reportable incidents in 2012 prompted the company to reevaluate practices and implement a new, holistic approach to workplace safety. Workplace incidents put employees at risk and can threaten business, as many clients evaluate contractors based on safety records.
At the end of 2012, the company adopted the industry-leading DuPont STOP for Supervision system, and put all managers through a comprehensive two-day course preparing them to take the safety principles they learned and take responsibility for the safety of the employees that report to them.
As a part of the new system, each manager completes a formal safety observation of a task or project once a month. The observations include focused discussions with employees and documenting those areas of safety that are done well and those that need improvement. In 2015 alone, managers performed nearly 500 safety observations.
“We wanted to always keep safety up front,” said Adams. “It’s easy for us to become 100-percent focused on our work and clients to the extent that we aren’t thinking about the risks to ourselves and others. Leadership and managers took the lead to show the importance of safety, not only to each of us personally, but to the success of our business as well.”
The new safety framework also included a no-fault reporting system that encouraged employees to report near-miss safety incidents. Highlighting close-calls illustrates potential risks both at work and at home, and how employees might reduce risk in the future. Safety officers encourage staff to include Safety Moments in meetings and presentations whenever possible, taking a minute to highlight a near-miss or other safety issue relevant to the group. To encourage and incentivize staff to be safety-conscious, spot bonuses and special recognition are awarded to employees who demonstrate an outstanding attention to safety procedures in their daily work.
“The company’s commitment to safety is not just about avoiding hazards,” said President Kurt Fraese. “It’s also about adjusting our behaviors to continually see safety considerations and potential for improvement. We strive to create a work environment where any safety observation or discussion is not only welcome but actionable. In this way, we remain focused on the most important safety goal of all, that is to have each employee return home every day as healthy as when they arrived at work.”