I enjoy the nuggets of wisdom that employers share. One employer who comes to mind is Brian Fielkow, CEO of Houston-based Jetco Delivery. He does a great job when it comes to addressing workplace safety. I recently heard him say, “Safety shouldn’t be listed as a priority, because then you are saying things can compete with safety. Safety is foundational. Safety is non-negotiable. Nothing can compete with safety.”
When I hear this, I envision a house of cards. Safety is the foundation that holds up the structure. When safety is missing from that foundation, the structure crumbles.
I genuinely appreciate safety leaders who “get it” and when I hear them speak there is meat behind what they say, not fluff. This truly makes me appreciate them. What leaders! We have all heard the expressions, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” And, “Do as I say but not as I do.” A workforce that respects those in authority tends to be more connected and more likely to follow company policies.
Do your policies address driving?
One of the riskiest parts of anyone’s day is driving. I’m talking about those who drive to-and-from work, those who occasionally drive on the job or drive as their primary function. Yes, I am talking about you. Safety is needed to reduce risks we encounter on the roads every day. Employers who incorporate driver and transportation safety in the workplace and encourage what is learned in the workplace to filter into the home let their employees know that safety is more than words in a safety manual.
Driver and transportation safety is vital for so many reasons. Whether your company has a fleet (think beyond trucking), your employees drive personal vehicles, rental cars, non-owned vehicles or are riding as passengers, they all can encounter risk. Those who are considered occasional on-the-job drivers or are out running errands after work often present the most risk. Why? We don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe they don’t get the same education and training as others. Caring about the safety of 100% of your employees should be the rule, not the exception. Co-workers who care and share the safety mission help develop the safest companies.
Leaders, influencers? Who are they? I encourage you to look beyond your executive and management level and look throughout your company. It might surprise you who employees view as influencers and leaders. They can be everywhere. Hopefully, they permeate all levels and areas within your company. They can be and should be invested in your company because your foundation is strengthened by safety. It may be the fleet mechanic or the risk leader. Both can lead and influence others.
Employers who make safety a driving force and let employees know their safety matters demonstrate they care about workers and are more likely to retain those workers, saving on costs associated with high turnover rates.
I encourage you to surround yourself with leaders and influencers at all levels, and I encourage you to listen to what they have to say. You may not always like what you hear, but you will grow to appreciate the honesty that comes from an engaging discussion.
Safety isn’t a choice. It’s a non-negotiable part of a successful company’s foundation. To that end, I would like to invite you to join me for the beginning of a four-part series that Brian Fielkow will be leading over the coming days, weeks and months in conjunction with the National Safety Council and the Our Driving Concern Texas Employer Traffic Safety Program: Safety Breakthrough.
Fielkow will talk with professional drivers, as well as operations, safety and upper-management personnel on how to weave safety discussions into all aspects of the business, from recruitment and retention to daily dispatch and senior-level strategy meetings. Register now and join us beginning Tuesday, March 9.
– Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council