Construction Safety Week 2022: Universal Safety Programs to Empower Employees

by Shayne Stevens

Often when we consider workplace safety practices, our minds are immediately drawn to the physical dangers of the job. At electrical contracting company Rosendin, safety is non-negotiable at every level of our organization. Our commitment to well-being extends past personal protective equipment and preventing physical injuries. Safety includes supporting mental health and providing safe welcoming work environments for all.

Building a Culture of Safety

It is critical that company leaders in all industries prioritize safety in the workplace. Letting employees know you are looking out for their best interest will help with retention and recruitment, especially if it is engrained in the culture. At Rosendin, helping workers recognize and prevent harm of any kind has been an ongoing mission as we rely on thousands of craft workers to successfully build some of the largest projects in the country. In 2020, Rosendin committed to the Associated General Contractor’s Culture of Care initiative to take a holistic approach to our programs. Initiatives like these hold each employee accountable, ensuring that everyone feels empowered to make sure others around them works safely, from the CEO to the field electrician.

Every company can implement best practices with ongoing training, whether that includes tool and ladder safety at construction firms or mental and wellness practices that anyone can adopt. At Rosendin, we recommend that our leaders consider every aspect of safety — from simple mistakes and distractions to an innocent fall, to an intentional act of hate toward a co-worker. Our corporate policies and training have helped significantly diminish job site hazards and involve employees and subcontract employees in every aspect of safety.

Safety Training Ideas

Every company can provide training to assist in employee growth and advancement using universal programs like LinkedIn Learning’s series on Safety Leadership, Hazard Recognition and Pre-Task Planning. Rosendin is fortunate to have a Training Department that helps create internal training programs, and in 2021, Rosendin developed the Craft Empowerment Program to give craft employees a voice and provide timely feedback on improving field operations in safety and production. The CEP has been a great model for organizations in all industries to encourage a safe space for open and honest dialog. CEP allows our safety professionals, field management and project management to openly discuss safety concerns in a bi-weekly safety auditing program that provides real-time feedback. Rosendin’s Safety Teams send out weekly corporate summaries to all operations showing the past week’s safety results from each region and division. As a positive incentive, and to recognize our teams, Rosendin also has a quarterly trophy that is presented to the division with the best record.

Simple Tips to Reduce Risk

Under the leadership of our qualified safety managers, ongoing safety training is conducted weekly via Toolbox Talks and monthly on specific topics that promote all levels of wellbeing. Simple measures like these lower a company’s risk by promoting a positive safety culture that includes everyone.

Rosendin’s safety team is always available to answer any questions, educate employees, onboard new employees, write site safety plans and shutdowns, perform job walks, and participate in company committees. Understanding that anxiety, depression, stress, anger and financial concerns are significant factors in many workplace incidents today, the safety team sends out a Toolbox Topic once every two weeks focusing on positive habits to support mental health. To date, 15 Rosendin Superintendents have completed mental first aid training.

Inclusivity Matters

Construction is undoubtedly one of the most diverse industries, providing jobs to people of all walks of life. Even still, diversity, equity and inclusion remain elusive goals in the industry. Rosendin frequently explores these challenges on our podcast, “Construction DEI Talks,” where we explore new ideas to best support our people. Topics covered in the past include advocating for women’s safety and health, leadership and accountability, and developing a culture of care with intention. While our focus is within our industry, these topics extend to all organizations looking to create a safer, more inclusive workplace.

Rosendin is committed to providing a safe work environment for both minds and bodies so that every team member can do their best work and return home safely to their families each night. We consider this mission in every action we take, and safety is emphasized in daily job-site meetings and ongoing training. Alongside other A/E/C firms nationwide, Rosendin is an annual sponsor of Construction Safety Week to stress the importance of creating safe work environments by focusing on a shared topic each day related to holistic safety.

Shayne Stevens, CSP, CHST, CMSP, is the senior corporate safety director at Rosendin, the nation’s largest employee-owned electrical contracting firm, and works out of the company’s regional office in Tempe, Ariz.

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