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Your Culture Is Your Brand

January 31, 2019

“Your Culture Is Your Brand.” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com is well known for this quote and one thing I am sure of is, it is absolutely correct!

In our firm’s industry, there are many hazards which can injure employees as well as occupants of any facility on which our firm works. For this reason, our company focuses relentlessly on safety. And over my many years in this business, I have heard from so many facility managers, engineers and roof consultants that Standard is actually most known and respected for our focus on the safety of our employees and the occupants of facilities on which we are working. So, because of this focus on a safety-first culture, safety has become OUR brand.

When building a company culture, written policies are an important part of the process. And while having professionals on staff to enforce those policies is perfectly acceptable, the CEO must not allow a “buffer” to exist between the leadership team and the rest of the company. This means the CEO must be the leader in driving the culture throughout the organization - from the CEO down into the organization through every member of the leadership team, they must all walk the walk AND talk the talk.

For our organization, I have always considered one of my primary responsibilities as CEO to ensure that all safety measures are being undertaken to protect workers, building occupants and the general public. For this reason, we have developed a checklist over my 34-year career with Standard that helps our team leaders and supervisors evaluate the safety of every jobsite we visit. Below are some of the things we look for:

  1. Evaluate ground operations: Are ground personnel wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? Is equipment operating on the ground-level in proper working order? Are equipment operators properly trained and certified to operate ground-level equipment? Do all employees have a ready source of drinking water and ice?

    During hot weather, “cooling areas” for employees should be provided in the form of small tents or canopies to provide shade. Under these shade canopies, several chairs should be in place, as well as a large industrial fan. And when projects require personnel to spend extended periods of physical exertion in especially hot weather, the site supervisor should keep several cold sports drinks as well as several frozen cold-packs on hand in the event that a worker becomes overheated.
     
  2. Evaluate roof access: Is roof access provided in a manner that meets or exceeds OSHA requirements? Are properly-staged fall prevention and fall protection measures in place? These measures include perimeter warning lines, a designated perimeter monitor and each employee being equipped with a fall protection harness and proper PPE.
     
  3. Evaluate rooftop personnel: Are rooftop personnel wearing proper PPE including long-sleeve shirts, long pants extending over the top of steel-toe work boots, eye protection, an OSHA-approved hard hat, and cut-resistant gloves with elastic wrist bands? The long-sleeve shirts should extend over the top edge of the gloves, and proper hearing protection is also required. In addition, all employees should have access to dust masks and OSHA-approved dark safety glasses.

    If abatement of hazardous material is part of the work scope, all employees in the work zone should have additional PPE, including respirators and full-body abatement suits. Also, during the first three days of work with hazardous material (typically asbestos), a third-party air monitoring service should test the level of hazardous dust being generated. The vacuum filter should be tested after three days at a designated lab to determine if the air quality is at levels acceptable to OSHA and state regulations. If both tests reveal no or very low levels of hazardous materials, the use of respirators and bodysuits may be discontinued.
     
  4. Evaluate rooftop equipment: After observation of rooftop personnel, we then assess if all rooftop equipment is being used according to manufacturer recommendations and is in working order. This includes:
    • At least two fully-charged fire extinguishers for every 10,000 square feet of roof area
    • All tools and other equipment requiring electrical power should have the attached extension cords inspected
    • Cords displaying cuts or abrasions should be discarded, and all electric power equipment attached to an extension cord should have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) attached
    • Any rooftop power generators should be in proper working order
    • All gasoline containers should be OSHA-approved
    • All rooftop and ground equipment should be stored neatly and safely at the end of each work day

Cutting corners or moving forward without proper procedures in place is too often a recipe for disaster that can add additional costs and delay project completion. Ensuring the safety of personnel, contractor personnel, the occupants of clients’ facilities, as well as the general public is central to a job well-done. And Standard's relentless focus on safety is one of the main reasons our clients have the utmost faith in our ability to meet their needs in a safe manner.

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