With nearly 50 years of experience, Faith Technologies has remained focused on safety. That includes winning the 2020 Willis Towers Watson Construction Safety Excellence Award from the Associated General Contractors of America.
We’re proud of this honor, but along with it came the charge to educate our industry colleagues on how they too can redefine their team’s safety programs and turn them into something that ties the entire team together. The initiatives we’ve undertaken have proven to significantly reduce safety-related injuries and have made safety a cornerstone within our company’s culture.
A strong safety culture is a system consisting of attitudes, beliefs, values and principles that encourage safe behavior in the workplace. All the moving parts need to come together to maintain this system. This includes worker involvement, hazard analysis, control, communication, and training and evaluation. Each of these pieces is necessary to create and sustain a safe work environment.
In 2015, 64 percent of Faith Technologies’ job site injuries came from new employees on the job, specifically, those who had been with the company between six months and one year. Faith took a look at the cause of injuries, talked with employees and implemented our short-service employee program. In this program, new employees, even those who have been in the construction industry for many years, are paired with experienced team members who mentor them on safety and overall company procedures. By 2020, injuries to new employees made up just 6 percent of Faith’s total job site injuries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction and manufacturing jobs are among the top 10 most dangerous occupations. To address the dangers of these industries, it’s important to understand that safety is a catalyst for rethinking policies and processes and re-evaluating how you do everything within your organization. In the past, the belief was that you had to compromise productivity to be safe and that the two were not connected. At Faith Technologies, we have learned that the two are absolutely connected. You can’t have a productive hour without having a safe hour.
To have a safe hour, consider the following actions:
- Place safety at the center of your culture by integrating it into everyday conversations and communication. At Faith, this includes our daily planning meetings and company-wide emails.
- Engineer the hazards out of the work before you put employees in the work environment.
- Implement frequent and effective safety audits to identify issues and trends and correct them proactively.
- Showcase your company’s willingness to learn by listening to and implementing changes recommended by your team. We know that the people who are doing the work are the most knowledgeable about it, and we encourage participation in our safety programs from team members at all levels of experience.
- Plan and design everything with safety at the forefront. Safety begins at the first project planning meeting, long before anyone steps onto a job site.
- Encourage workers to stop work if they have any safety concerns. At Faith Technologies, we call this “stop-work responsibility,” where every worker is not only allowed to but is required to stop work at any time if a safety issue is presented or perceived.
- Keep all necessary tools and materials in close proximity to where your teams are working to increase productivity and decrease the risk of injury. We refer to this as our “Strive for 5” effort, where materials are within 5 feet or 5 seconds of where work is being performed. This contributes to productivity and supports a safer job site.
Safety is a continuous improvement process that requires engagement. There is no safety culture in an organization without the participation of its workers. Workers become owners of the safety culture when they participate in the occupational safety and health initiatives of their organization, which is pivotal to establishing a culture focused on safety. The objectives of these initiatives are to promote worker engagement, raise awareness of potential hazards and implement preventive measures to make work processes safe.
Safety culture is something that evolves. It will be influenced and altered by factors including the implementation of new safety regulations, the introduction of innovative materials and equipment, and medical findings that identify previously unknown hazards. The one constant component is the people who are doing the work each day. If you keep their safety as your highest priority and involve them in your safety programs at every level of the organization, you are on your way to creating a safety culture that benefits them and your company.
If you want more information, watch our CHARGED! video series to see how Faith redefined what it means to work safely and how you can too. Safety is not a competition between which company can do it better; it should be treated as a universal goal to better the industry and the communities we serve.
As the vice president of safety, Rocky Rowlett is responsible for maintaining the overall culture of safety and occupational health within all branches of Faith Technologies Inc. This includes planning, developing and coordinating safe practices and processes of personnel, materials, equipment and environments. He joined the organization in 2014 and has more than 20 years of hands-on safety leadership experience, including establishing processes and procedures that comply with local, state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.