While landscapers acknowledge the importance of safety to their business operations, they seldom know the full extent to which a safety program is defined. In fact, it is not uncommon for landscapers to believe they are legally compliant if their safety program consists of: having new employees watch safety videotapes on their first day of work, conducting weekly tailgate sessions and distributing PPE to employees. There is much more to it than that.
This article summarizes many safety concepts required by federal/state law into three categories – administrative, behaviors, consequences – to help landscapers understand the entire scope of a safety program. This simplified ABC model allows landscapers to systematically audit their existing safety programs, develop appropriate action plans and track improvement.
To be clear, the documents listed below must not be developed and then stored in an office file cabinet never to see the light of day. Rather, each component must be shared with all employees in a manner clarifying its respective role in improving employee safety, procedural efficiency, and organizational success.
Behaviors like safety meetings, training sessions and audit procedures emphasize the salient role of safety as part of the company’s culture, each employee’s standard work routine, and procedural expectations. Depending upon its specific contribution to the safety program, a behavior may be demonstrated daily (e.g., vehicle audit), weekly (e.g., tailgate session), monthly (e.g., safety committee meeting), annually (e.g., OSHA safety audit), or on an “as-needed” basis (e.g., New Employee Orientation).
Based upon these measurements, suitable changes must be made at the employee, procedural or organizational level to continuously improve safety results.
Naturally, the lists provided above must be tailored based on the relevant state laws applicable to a particular landscape company.
It is important that landscapers realize the full extent of a safety program; thereby generating initiative to devote resources to ensure their safety culture achieves desired results.