Protecting Our Workers – A Business Perspective (President and CEO of BrandSafway, Bill Hayes)

Protecting Our Workers – A Business Perspective (President and CEO of BrandSafway, Bill Hayes)


[Music]>>The National Safety Stand
Down is born out of the Construction Falls Prevention
Campaign and the campaign came to be because among the goals
for the second decade of the National Occupational
Research Agenda, NORA, there were 15 goals related to
construction safety and health. The first goal has to
do with preventing falls in the workplace, falls in
construction in particular. And among the intermediate
goals there is an issue related to having a national campaign.>>The timing of the first
campaign could not have been better. We, unfortunately, in my
first six months at Safeway and in this industry,
in 2012, we had a fall that resulted in a fatality. It shook me personally,
it shook our company; we had not had a fatality in
many years and it served really as a wakeup call
at the end of 2012. What more can we do
within the company and several months later
the first Safety Stand Down and Fall Protection Week, as we
referred to it, was launched. And it was just absolutely
perfect timing for us to focus the company on
ways we can get better. When you send more than 30,000
workers to height every day, obviously fall protection
is critical. We, upon the first stand
down, we implemented at the same time a 100% tie off
policy even if that did not fall into published or OSHA
procedures for given heights. We made the rule
within the company, if your foot leaves the ground
you’ll have a harness on and when you get to
height you’ll find a place to tie off safely. Clearly, the company
had to invest heavily in additional personal
protective equipment, fall protection gear. We worked with suppliers
to customize gear that would fit scaffolders
and would be comfortable for scaffolders, the
proper length of lanyards to conduct work efficiently
and productively, so we customized the
gear to facilitate and enable our workers
to wear it 100%. So that was a major step
for the company and safety and getting better at
safety is a non-stop effort. And so you have to take
advantage of every opportunity and this Safety Stand Down
Week is yet another opportunity to highlight and bring
attention to fall protection, preventing falls, and rallying
around getting better at safety and protecting our people. It may seem counterintuitive that your most experienced
workers sometimes are the riskiest. And that’s because they actually
have done it the same way for decades many times and these
are really good, experienced, well meaning, driven workers who
do a great job for us every day. But when they’re in a pattern of doing something the same way
sometimes that’s more difficult to train them on proper safety
procedures and safety techniques and safety behaviors than
it is a brand new worker. It’s obvious they come
in and, for decades, they’ve done something
the same way and they’ve never had an injury
and all it takes is one change in condition that
they didn’t recognize and doing something the
same way as they’ve done for decades could result in
a serious injury or fatality and Stand Down Week and the
campaign gives us an opportunity to point these out and wake them
up and have them, for a moment, look at it and say, you
know what, maybe I ought to challenge the way that
I’ve been doing something for all these years
in this industry. When we made a commitment
companywide to get better at safety and improve safety
and prevent fatalities, prevent serious accidents, we
told our workers, number one, it’s a basic human right
that we owe every single one of our workers that we can
keep them safe every day. And everyone talks about making
sure that that worker goes home to their family, friends,
loved ones every day in the same condition he
or she came in that day. We put our money
where our mouth was. We invested in the right
personal protective equipment, additional fall protection,
additional training. We trained our 1600
frontline leaders on creating the right culture. How do you talk to workers
so that it resonates? So there’s a massive
human element to safety and fall protection. So that’s number one. We also articulated to our
employees getting better at safety has an economic
value to the company. Yes, it’s an investment
but the return on that investment is great
because you’re either going to win new customers,
you’re going to keep your current customers, or you could potentially
lose current customers if you don’t get
better at safety. And, of course, there’s
the other economic element, which is constantly improving
safety helps increase and improve productivity
and efficiency on the job. You’re following rules,
processes, procedures. People think in an orderly way. They’re aware of
their surroundings, they’re looking out
for each other. So there’s a human element and
there’s the economic element and we believe very strongly
in that and we support it. And if you’re the worker,
workers want to know that the company that they’re
working for care about them. It improves morale. It improves teamwork. It improves communications. It improves customer relations. They feel that the
customers are watching as well and we help our customers,
we win business because we’re helping out customers create
the right culture of safety on their worksite. [ Music ]

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