a Summit Materials company
www.cornejocorp.com 316-522-5100 SAFETY TALK Developing a Safety Culture From the Bottom Up NOV 2018
crews aren’t just listening to me every time. A few years ago, we brought in a trainer on ergonomics. She taught our teams stretches and movements and got everyone out of their seats. By the end of it, we were all laughing and having a good time. We aim to bring in training that benefits our employees from work life to home life. I’d like to think we’re at the forefront of safety initiatives at Cornejo & Sons. From time to time, we get calls from other construction companies asking what we’re doing about an OSHA change, and I’m happy to talk safety with them. If we can collaborate to make construction safer and keep our people safer, then we should. seriously. At the end of the day, whether it’s climbing out of the truck using three points of contact or placement of equipment at a job site, if someone gets hurt, it’s going to mean missed time from work. I drive home that it’s in an employee’s best interest to be safe, not just for the company or the rules, but for them and their families. Yes, my title is safety director, but at the end of the day, when we ask any employee who’s the safest person You’ve probably noticed I’m just a little passionate about safety. I take my job
Since HR and safety work closely together, my HR background helps me out in having conversations with our crews. I build trust by visiting our job sites and physical plants. Obviously I’m there to talk safety, but at its core, safety is about looking out for one another. I’m not there just telling them what needs to get fixed. I ask how the crew is doing, how the project is going, how their kids are, and use that as a segue to mention, “Hey, I was driving into the plant and saw these safety concerns. Can we do something about it?” I was in their position at one time, and asking about someone’s day goes a long way toward making them feeling open and receptive to concerns. I want every employee to feel good about coming to me with safety issues or concerns and having those conversations. We have a large Hispanic population within our company and community, and being bilingual also helps me make sure messages are getting across to everyone in the crew. There’s a level of comfort there when I can speak with an employee in their own language and address a safety concern. At every level, training focuses on safety. We put everyone through the Speak Up Listen Up training through Caterpillar, which teaches how to communicate and give feedback if safety concerns arise. Our annual trainings address changes to OSHA, MSHA, and DOT and cover topics related to safety. It’s not just me leading these — we bring in internal and external speakers so our
I started with Cornejo & Sons in 2011 as a ready mix dispatcher before moving into a safety position on a wind farm project. Since then, I’ve gone wherever I’m needed for the company, from field work to admin and HR to safety. After taking on an HR assistant role, I transitioned to assistant safety director. When my director moved to the corporate office, I filled in until I was appointed to full- time safety director, where I am today. I’ve been in the office and the field and learned how both sides work, something that gives me a leg up in my approach to safety. If my experience is any indication, Cornejo & Sons provides opportunities for employees to grow. Starting from the bottom and working my way up put me in a good position to understand what our teams are dealing with when it comes to implementing safety, and I don’t take that for granted. Something we pride ourselves on at Cornejo & Sons is having a good safety culture. If you ask employees where we are now compared to five years ago, I’d like to think they’d all say we’ve definitely improved. Management has been a big part of this improvement as well as encouraging more employee buy- in. Employees are involved in committees and bring up topics on how to eliminate safety issues and mitigate hazards. Each crew has a safety ambassador who the crew can feel comfortable talking to. We want to engage employees with safety so they take ownership of their safety and recognize it’s in their hands. At the end of the day, I can’t be everywhere and see everything, but they can.
they know, they should all say themselves. The work we do is serious, and we have to take it seriously. Omar Franco
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