Implementing an Effective Company Program
by Darin Douglas, CEO, Lowe Roofing, Inc., & president, Merge 3 Technology, Inc.
(Editor’s Note: Darin Douglas began roofing in 1997 after graduating from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. Lowe Roofing, Inc., is a family-owned roofing company that has been in operation since 1975 in South Dakota and Wyoming. Merge 3 Technology, Inc., helps contractors track and control their safety processes and efforts on a daily basis. Douglas also served on the WSRCA Board of Directors for nine years and was the chair of the Safety and Health Committee and Low-Slope Committee.)
Roofing is a hazardous job and requires a company-wide, coordinated effort to keep everyone safe when working. Involving all team members in safety planning and implementation will further instill the safety culture you are working to build within your company and gives everyone a sense of ownership in your safety program. Commitment to the health and wellness of team members is highly essential and must be backed and driven by the highest levels of company management.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to include your team members in your safety program is to start a safety committee. Although OSHA does not require your company to have a safety committee, some state plans do, so make sure you check with www.OSHA.gov to see if your state requires your company to have a safety committee. Regardless of requirements, a safety committee is the right decision for everyone involved. It allows for input from all levels of the company and the data collected through a committee will be vital to growing your safety program and keeping everyone healthy.
The team members who serve on your company safety committee should represent the different departments and divisions within your company and are vital to the success of your program. Committee members should be dedicated to company safety and have shown an adherence to safety through their actions at work. Safety committee sizes can vary by the size of the company, but in general, a small committee is optimal for passing and enacting safety protocol within your company. Having defined roles on the committee and a consistent schedule will go a long way to the continued success of your committee.
One of the first things on the agenda after creating a safety committee is to establish preliminary goals that committee members can attain. Start with doing a company assessment of your safety needs and decide what areas you need to concentrate on first. Maybe your company struggles with field inspections and a change is necessary. Your safety committee can develop and implement an inspection program that includes your entire team and provides actionable data to keep team members safe. Make committee goals achievable and straightforward so you can gain some traction and develop the committee agenda as you grow.
Once you have a solid safety committee up and running, you will have to expand the committee footprint to promote safety growth within your company. Meetings will eventually include agenda items, such as safety program review and revision, inspection review and expansion, updating training protocols and requirements, OSHA compliance reviews and education, and much more. Leaders need to make sure that as your committee grows and time moves on, you are not stuck in a rut of the same agenda items every meeting. If it all becomes too similar, you will lose buy-in with your team.
The more you include your team members in developing these checks and balances, the safer your company will be. If you begin to see everyone in your company focused on the goal of being safe every day, most likely your safety committee is working and thriving.