Serious Precautions: Ensuring a Safe Work Environment on Every Level

By Nataline Lomedico

While the equipment and technology used in the glass and glazing trade has become increasingly sophisticated, and glazing techniques have continued to advance, there’s one element of this business that has remained constant: the importance of safety.

Ensuring that our workers can complete their jobs safely is of paramount importance, not only from a business standpoint, but from a personal one, as well. Together, both office and field staff, we are invested in the overall wellbeing of our team.

A Safety Program That Works

It’s important to practice safety from the top down, and to implement protocols that ensure company-wide adherence. These include mandatory bi-weekly safety meetings, regular inspection (and replacement, if necessary) of all safety equipment, daily on-site task hazard analysis of the day’s agenda, and weekly tailgate meetings at all jobsites to review adherence to safety protocol. If employees demonstrate a lack of awareness regarding correct safety procedures, train or retrain them before they return to the jobsite.

Safety is an ongoing topic in all we do. It’s also important to educate employees on the cost of workers’ compensation—including the experience modification rate, and how it affects the cost of insurance.

Employees should never compromise their safety or hold back on reporting incidents merely for the sake of saving the company money. Informing supervisors of an incident creates an opportunity for the entire company to learn.

Bingo!

A fun, engaging and potentially lucrative way we promote company-wide adherence to safety protocol is our Safety Bingo program. Each round of Safety Bingo starts with every employee receiving a Bingo card with their paycheck. The cash prize amount increases with every incident-free workday, and new Bingo numbers are drawn daily. When an employee wins, a jackpot prize is awarded, but unlike most Bingo games that re-start the prize amount after a win, ours continues to grow as long as we are incident free. All employees—from those in the field to those who process invoices—watch the game closely and keep safety practices in mind.

A Successful Safety Program

After seven decades of business, our company has learned a thing or two about safety. Here are the strategies we find to be the most effective:

1. Start from the top: Company executives, managers, superintendents and foremen must set a good example when it comes to safety. If supervisors aren’t diligently following safety protocol themselves, they can’t expect their subordinates to pick up the slack.

2. Invest in continuous improvement: Keeping up with new developments in safety equipment and implementing them in the office, in the shop and on jobsites is key.

3. Communication, communication, communication: It’s imperative to recognize the specific risks associated with each job and team member. Project managers and on-site supervisors must address the unique safety challenges associated with a given project, and take into account each employee’s limitations before assigning them to the job.

Providing a safe working environment for employees is never up for debate. By implementing best safety practices on all levels, you ensure your company stays healthy, both literally and figuratively.

Nataline Lomedico is the CEO of Giroux Glass, headquartered in Los Angeles. The company has been in business since 1946.

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