safety culture
Rosendin Electric 2017 interns receiving a tour.

Rosendin Electric sets a safety example other businesses can follow

Drive-thru:

  • San Jose, California-based Rosendin Electric has recently won a top safety award from the Associated General Contractors of America for its commitment to safety.
  • Rosendin has created a companywide culture of safety that is rooted in technology and innovation as wells as in the high value it places on workers.
  • The company takes a top-down approach to safety, with the corporate leadership and project management teams embracing the message.

“Project safety does begin with me, and I will look out not only for my safety but for the safety of my co-workers.” That is the message printed on the wallet-sized “Stop Work” cards that Rosendin Electric hands out to its employees, empowering them to speak up if they encounter any safety issue.

It’s just one way that the San Jose, California-based company fosters a culture of safety so effective it has been recognized by national trade groups. Rosendin has recently won the 2018 Grand Award in the Associated General Contractors of America’s Construction Safety Excellence Awards.

Shayne Stevens, Rosendin’s corporate safety director, says the company’s safety initiatives are rooted in two things: in its focus on technology and innovation and in the value Rosendin places on its workers.

“Your employees are your most important asset, so we tell them from the very beginning: ‘You’re a part of this team. We want you to be successful, and we want you to be safe,’” Stevens says. “Everybody understands what our goals are and how we’re going to accomplish them. And we all know safety is at the forefront of that foundation.”

FUEL recently spoke to Stevens about how Rosendin spreads the safety message and how other companies can follow their example.

FUEL: How has Rosendin created a culture of safety?

Shayne Stevens: From the moment we bring somebody into our onboarding process, we have an immediate impact. We show them our new hire orientation video and give them a “Stop Work” card, which is endorsed by our CEO. From that moment on, that “Stop Work” card tells them if there’s something going on that’s unsafe for them, the people around them, or the public, we empower them to speak out, speak up, and make sure there are safe work conditions for all employees on the project.

The “Stop Work” card tells them if there’s something going on that’s unsafe for them, the people around them, or the public, we empower them to speak out.

The card being endorsed by our CEO definitely carries a lot of weight with our team. You work it from the top. You hope you get the buy-in from the bottom and then it all meets in the middle. We try to get everybody to see what we’re trying to accomplish with worker safety.

FUEL: How does the company continue pushing the safety message?

SS: It’s pushed from all of our leaders within the company: our division managers, our superintendents. They carry that same message and definitely embrace safety. We try to let the employees know that they can make safe decisions. I think there’s a lot of ownership that goes into that, and they see from a company standpoint that we’re not going to ask them to do something unsafe. Construction is inherently dangerous, however, so we provide training to give them the ability to make those choices.

FUEL: Why should construction companies continue to talk about safety with workers?

SS: I think it carries value with the workers. The workers know that they’re going to have a safe work environment, and if they’re supported, they’re going to make better decisions. Safety is certainly what I would consider the litmus test for each construction company. If you look at a company that has a good safety program, more times than not they’re also very productive.

It's pushed from all of our leaders within the company: our division managers, our superintendents. They carry that same message and definitely embrace safety. Click To Tweet

FUEL: What advice do you have for how other construction companies can embrace a culture of safety?

SS: The first step is to engage the leaders of the company. This really sets the tone for the workers. If you know you’ve got support from management, you’re going to go out and be a much safer, more productive worker. Having management engaged is definitely one of the more critical aspects of executing safe work. Once employees see that the company does care about them, they’re going to produce, and they’re going to work safer.

From there, it’s really about engaging the workforce, making sure that they have the necessary training and understanding of what the company’s goals are. You need to make sure they have a positive outlook on safety. It’s not something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of effort and engagement with your teams. The focal point is making sure you’ve got good frontline of supervisors, willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a safe work environment.

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