Interview Session provided by Matt Heiser and Dale Grant
The first week of May is designated as Construction Safety Week.
Officially, the mission of “safety Week is a show of force. It’s an opportunity for people, companies and our industry to join together, celebrate and re-commit to doing whatever it takes to send everyone home safely every day.”
To cultivate and maintain the Culture of Safety at Oliver Fire Protection & Security, we have established our Safety Committee. We were able to catch up with the current Chairman, Matt Heiser, to discuss the important work that they do.
Can you speak a little about the founding of the safety committee and its purpose?
Matt: Oliver strives to meet and exceed all OSHA and state safety regulations and procedures. Although some companies may have one or just a few individuals assigned to oversee its safety protocols, at the heart of Oliver Fire Protection & Security’s safety program is our Safety Committee.
This group of individuals is comprised of the safety director, department managers and field supervisors as well as selected representatives throughout our company. Everyone on the committee is invited to share their knowledge, experiences and understanding of safety as it relates to the well-being of our employees and clients’ health and safety.
This group of individuals lends a dynamic interpretation of the needs required from the executive level through to the new hires in every department of the organization.
The Safety Committee joins together on a monthly basis to run through an agenda set forth by the safety director and committee members. Within this time, we openly discuss any near misses, accidents or incidences our staff has either been involved with or seen first-hand. We ask committee members to bring guests to these meetings, from field technician to office personnel, so that they may experience and become a part of the safety planning, discussion and decision-making process. This has proven to help keep safety in the front of their minds and to allow them to spread the words of safety to others.
It is through the committee that any incidents, accidents or near misses be reviewed thoroughly, and examined to ensure that the organization has the right safety measures in place to prevent any such incidents and/or accidents from reoccurring.
What steps has the safety committee taken to promote Oliver’s culture of safety?
Matt: Everyone strives for safety at Oliver. We find that top notch safety is not something that just happens on its own. It takes awareness, hard work, and determination from each and every employee. With that, Oliver makes sure to give back to the people that work so hard to stay safe.
Through the safety committee, significant milestones are laid out and strived for. This information is sent out in our newsletters, talked about in person by supervisors, displayed on our tv monitors in house and through posted signs throughout our buildings. We make sure every day that everyone is reminded about safety in every way. When milestones are reached, we provide a celebration that includes giveaways that are distributed throughout the company. These giveaways have included rewards such as iPads, smart watches, TVs, cameras and gift cards. We remind everyone about the importance of these safety achievements throughout the event which has resulted in a positive mentality for everyone to be thinking about safety. We understand that not everyone will win the raffle and therefore distribute other items such as first aid kits, clothing embroidered with a custom safety message and other small items to all employees.
It is one way in which Oliver continues to say thank you for the entire team’s efforts in reaching important milestones and for thinking safety at all times.
What initiative(s) is/are the safety committee currently focused on?
Matt: While the Safety Committee is always focused on the Health and Safety of each employee, customer and site occupant in 2023, the committee is teaming with our Operations Excellence Team to create and refine goals specifically related to team member safety training and an in-depth PPE audit, analysis and update. These specific additional efforts will certainly help all involved in being safer.
Can you speak to the importance of Toolbox Talks?
Matt: At the committee level, Toolbox Talks are discussed and then formulated into various avenues. Topics and shared best practices covering construction safety issues are distributed in the form of Toolbox talks which are required to be read and then signed off.
On the vocal level, our supervisors, who are all in attendance at the monthly safety meeting, will also spread the knowledge and awareness of any safety measures to their teams as they visit with each of them throughout the weeks. The issues are discussed with our teams, reviewed between each team member and their supervisor and then is followed up by any questions or suggestions they may have on the issues.
These are then channeled back up to the committee and reviewed at the next meeting. This process has allowed for great success and preemptive solutions to safety concerns that may not be seen or heard otherwise.
This year’s Construction Safety Week theme is “Strong Voices, Safe Choices.” Can you speak to the way that Oliver’s Safety Committee strives to embrace this concept?
Matt: Oliver Fire Protection & Security and its committees are dedicated to providing worksites for our employees that are safe and free of identified worksite hazards. We are committed to providing the necessary equipment and training for our workforce to be able to identify and address any safety hazards that may become evident during the installation of fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems and security systems. Our supervisors and project managers consistently review active worksites to assess the safety equipment and site protocols that keep our workers safe. With each visit, OFPS is committed to comply with all State and Federal (OSHA) rules and regulations.
We encourage our employees to speak up with our “See Something, Say Something” (4S) campaign. This is an agreement with all our in-office and field staff that when something does not look right, to stop what they are doing, evaluate the situation and speak to a supervisor or the safety director immediately letting them know of the specifics before it results in a hazard or incident. Our supervisors then evaluate the situation and conclude the best practices to quickly remedy the actions in order to return to safe working conditions. The issue is then documented and discussed with the committee at the next meeting to bring awareness to the rest of the organization so situations similar in nature can be avoided at future locations.
In conjunction with the 4S campaign, the safety committee has a rewards program for those employees who exemplify our safe practices mentality. This is done to encourage, empower and reward our staff to always keep safety at the forefront of their minds.
What would you say is the biggest success the safety committee has had thus far?
Matt: Every day that each and every valued team member goes home safely to their family, that is our biggest success.