Safety Summit 2022: Better Together
Our yearly East & Westbrook Safety Summit was once again a huge success. Safety is a core value here at East & Westbrook. We remain laser-focused on providing safety excellence for our team and our customers. Every year since 2014, we have brought our team together to celebrate our safety accomplishments, look at how we can improve going forward, and work to set the stage to communicate our goals for the future as a community. This year’s summit consisted of serious conversations about safety, performance goals from last year, setting goals for next year, and some of the programs that we will use to meet those goals.
Our initial Safety Summit in 2014 was brought about due to the rising number of incidents occurring. We adamantly wanted to work together as a team to get this under control. Our initial meeting took place down in the training room of our office building. Although we have come a long way, eight summits later, we are still coming together as a team to continue putting safety first in our organization.
Since our initial Safety Summit, we have created programs like the Good Catch Program and our Task Performance Plan. We have enjoyed having some fun engaging our team along the way. We have used wrestlers to present the Good Catch Program Championship Belt, performed skits, and shared photos of safety fails from around the world. We have also told a few corny dad jokes. Our favorite dad joke, hands down, is, “What does the construction worker hear when he takes off his hard hat and puts it up to his ear? The OSHA, of course.”
This past year we also worked with our marketing team and developed the hashtag #EandWSafeAF, which OBVIOUSLY stands for East & Westbrook Safe and Fun!! Now, rolling out this hashtag did not come without some feedback on what A.F. stands for. One of the suggestions was AND FANCY. We’re all about having fun! Here’s the intro video to this year’s Safety Summit. We might not win an award for dancing, but dang! Our team has some moves!!
Since 2018 we have intentionally designed our Safety Summit around a theme. Each theme is a big idea that we hold all year long to help remind us what we are trying to do here at East & Westbrook and why. Our past themes have included, Good to Great in 2018, We Own Safety in 2019, We Care in 2020, and Do the Right Thing in 2021. Each of these themes has helped us move the needle forward and get us where we want to be when it comes to safety. We understand that it’s important to recognize where we have come from. This year we handed out hard hat stickers to each of our employees for the years that they have been a part of the Safety Summit. We wanted to commemorate the importance of our teams contribution to building a safer East & Westbrook.
Our theme this year is BETTER TOGETHER! We love this year’s theme. It highlights the excellent safety record we have here at East & Westbrook. More importantly, we did it together. To do the hard work we do, no one can do it as an individual; it takes a crew, it takes a team, and we think we are BETTER TOGETHER!”
For us at East & Westbrook, Better Together not only relates to our team, but also our customers. They are a part of the equation, and we are thrilled to have included some of our customers in this year’s summit. Transparency is essential, and that is why we welcomed our customers to our summit. We want them to be a part of what we are trying to do regarding our safety culture because our safety goals are their safety goals. “We are guests in their house, whenever we are on the job site, and it takes us partnering with them to achieve safety excellence.”
Our theme BETTER TOGETHER, combined with the three tactics below, can be used wherever you work. Whether you are on a job site, at home, or changing a tire at the side of the road. Kelly Kinser, an East & Westbrook Foreman, reminded us that “all incidents are preventable” when we use these three tactics:
The Right Planning allows us to identify our goals clearly, breaking them into smaller pieces and providing a roadmap to where we are going. Our planning begins with our Task Performance Plan (T.P.P.) every day, every job. We discuss what we are going to be doing that day, what could go wrong, and how we prevent it from happening.
We implemented our Task Between the Task procedure. Our 20-20-20 process encourages you to stop what you are doing, take 20 seconds, scan twenty feet around, reevaluate the situation, and then redo every twenty minutes. This process allows us to manage both the big and smaller tasks that can lead to hazards throughout the day.
The Right Execution involves the programs we have implemented here at East & Westbrook. Our Good Catch Program, our Task Between the Task Program, and our Team Green Program. These programs have had a significant impact on our safety initiatives.
To measure our industry’s safety performance, we look at the TOTAL RECORDABLE INCIDENT RATE. This is the rate of serious injuries per 100 employees that rose to the level of OSHA recordable, requiring more than first aid treatment. The industry average is 3.5 percent for an organization our size, which would mean that we could expect to have approximately eight incidents per year. That statistic is unacceptable. Our goal is to work towards zero. We want everyone to return home safe every night. We reached our goal in 2009 & 2017 with zero incidents. In 2018 & 2019 we came pretty close to our goal but, in 2020, although we fell well below the national average, we feel we got a little off track. Moving from zero in 2017 to almost 2 in 2020 really felt like we were going in the wrong direction. We met and talked about how we could move the number back down to zero. We can thankfully report that we ended the 2021 year below one at 0.82, well below our industry peers.
Although we were not perfect in 2021, thanks to all of our team members who prioritized safety, we are moving in the right direction. We must work towards sustained safety success. That is why we have our Safety Summit.
GOOD CATCH PROGRAM
Another matrix that we measure within our safety program is our engagement through our Good Catch Program. A GOOD CATCH can be taking a tool or piece of equipment out of service, intervening when proper P.P.E. is not worn, or near miss. We know that when our participation in this program is high, our incidents are low. Our GOOD CATCH program is our prevention of injuries and accidents. Not only do we mitigate any issues through our GOOD CATCH Program, but we also submit GOOD CATCHES through our phones to our safety department, sharing them with the entire team. Allowing everyone to learn from each other is how we are BETTER TOGETHER.
In 2018 we had a goal of 500 submissions for our GOOD CATCH Program. We ended the year with over 600 GOOD CATCHES. In 2019 we doubled our goal to 1000 GOOD CATCH submissions, and we doubled our submissions again this year. A large part was adding to our team. For the 2020 year, our goal was 1500 GOOD CATCH submissions and our team exceeded that as well, coming in at 1580. In 2021 we ended the year with 1864 GOOD CATCH submissions, more than three times than when we started the program in 2018.
Our GOOD CATCH Program also gives back to our community on behalf of our employees. Once a month, one Good Catch winner is given the opportunity to choose an organization that East & Westbrook will donate $1,000 to. We are thrilled to have contributed to the following philanthropic organizations in 2021. These donations continue to confirm that we are BETTER TOGETHER.
Some of our GOOD CATCHES have been life-saving. Our Team Green Belt Winners for this year are:
Team Green looks a lot like coaching and mentoring. It is about providing help and support for our newest team members. The big focus is on the first sixty days of being a part of our team. This program extends beyond orientation, OSHA-required classes, and passport training. This program is about correcting behaviors and setting an example; it is about transitioning our newest team members to understand the importance of our safety program and communicate that we are BETTER TOGETHER.
We can have the RIGHT PLANNING, the RIGHT AWARENESS, but without the RIGHT EXECUTION, we are taking risks that incidents will happen. We know from experience that everything is preventable. We must use our tools, training, and safety behaviors to prevent incidents and ensure that our employees return home safely to their families.
We are often asked why East & Westbrook cares so passionately about safety? Why does East & Westbrook care? Amber says it best, “We care for our employees because each person here has their own life, their own families, their own friends. Things that they care about, and things we care about them being able to enjoy. If we don’t have safety and we don’t prioritize safety, then what do we really have to care for?”
We are reminded that East & Westbrook is a family-owned company built around dependability and trust. We know our employees trust us to make sure we are working with them, giving them the support they need to go home safely to their families every day. “At the end of the day, as long as the possibility of one injury exists, we are going to do everything we can to ensure that everybody is given a safe workspace.”
We have big goals for this year. Let’s show our industry peers and the world that zero incidents are possible with the RIGHT PLANNING, RIGHT AWARENESS & RIGHT EXECUTION.
Continue to keep an eye on our social media as we share more funny videos and recaps from this year’s Safety Summit.
Learn more about what it’s like working at East & Westbrook and how we continue to lead the construction industry in safety. Call 502.222.0303 or visit our careers page.
East & Westbrook Construction Co. Inc. has worked with commercial and industrial clients for more than 40 years to solve their most challenging construction problems. Through strategic partnership and calculated growth, we now offer our clients a wide variety of construction services both regionally and nationally. Today, 80% of our projects come from repeat customers. Our foundation is built on safety, quality and performance. Lastly, East & Westbrook was awarded by Louisville Business First the Best Place to Work Award. For more information about starting your next project or joining our team, call 502-222-0303.