By Brian Birch
Safety is a topic that is talked about a lot, but often the truth is that safety as a process to be managed is an afterthought. Think about the amount of time, people, and energy you invest in estimating, billing, and servicing. Are you truly investing even a comparable amount of energy into safety?
Many snow and ice management service providers do provide some degree of safety-related training, typically pre-season. But setting up a team of people who can champion it is the true key to becoming more than a one-and-done safety training entity.
Remember that many safety-related items are small training endeavors – for example the proper way to lift a heavy object or get in and out of a piece of equipment. But if that training is not communicated regularly, one accident can set you back permanently. Snow Safety Training Team
The first step in creating a formal, proactive safety and training program for your snow and ice operations is to create a safety training team. This team should be composed of 3-5 individuals in your organization who are leaders, and are committed to improving the safety and training program. Once you compile your team, get them to agree to the following commitments. Create policies
Done well, each member of the safety team commits to helping the company establish the following:
- Training for new and existing employees as an investment for providing safe, efficient snow and ice service.
- Communications to all staff that each person is responsible for cultivating a culture of safety, from owners and managers to equipment, operators, and office staff.
- Regular and formal reviews of the company’s safety training program to be conducted timely and professionally.
- A reward system for individuals, the entire organization, or both to reward safety and safe operation of equipment.
Formulate the team and set up a series of safety meetings. Have them do the following:
- Create a list of the main safety-related areas that will need monthly or seasonal refreshers.
- Identify potential resources that have existing training ready to implement.
- Download SIMA’s Safety & Training Kit.
- Document the types of training that need to be conducted (field training, classroom training, etc.).
- Organize materials for training that includes getting employees to ‘sign off’ that they’ve been trained in various areas.
- Review the shop/workspace and identify areas where safety-related information can be shared or displayed.
- Create a plan that allows the company to easily communicate its safety training program to insurance providers.
- Create agendas for pre-season, mid-season, and post-season safety meetings for core personnel.
- Help them communicate to the entire staff that reporting non-safe behaviors or conditions is everyone’s responsibility.