Bob Pedatella is constantly reminding employees to wear safety glasses and use equipment with caution. He dedicates time in the morning to quick safety talks so safety is always top of mind.
This vigilance has paid off. For two years in a row, there have been zero workplace injuries at Kodiak Landscape Design in Haskell, N.J. This accomplishment earned the company a two-time PLANET National Safety Award. Not to mention, Pedatella’s insurance company is pretty pleased with the clean record, so the firm pays less for premiums.
“You can lose a lot of money if you’re not safe,” Pedatella says.
Employees go through Certified Landscape Technician (CLT) training, which emphasizes safety; and Pedatella makes an effort to keep safety at the forefront of daily operations. “It’s kind of casual,” he says of the tailgate talks. “If we get a new piece of equipment or tool – even one the employees already know – we always go over that and explain how to properly use it.”
And Pedatella is a stickler for wearing safety glasses and other appropriate dress like boots. Though, like any owner, he struggles to get the message across to a stubborn worker or two. “What is the best way to get (workers) to put their safety glasses on?” he asks. “Keep harping on it, I guess.”
One worker was pretty glad Pedatella kept harping when a weed-whacker churned up a rock that hit the employee right in the eyeglasses. “There was a chip, and that could have been my eye,” he told Pedatella. “He thanked me for always telling him to put his glasses on, and now he realizes how important that is.”
These lessons are shared with the entire company, and Pedatella continues to promote safety by simply keeping an open forum. “If you have questions on how to use equipment, just ask,” he urges employees.