Employee Issue of the Week: Increase Awareness to Boost Safe Operations

If you walk into the lobby at Raimondi Horticultural Group, in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, you instantly spot the National Association of Landscape Professionals Safety Recognition Awards it won for safe operations. They are on display for all to see.

Chris Raimondi

Raimondi’s CEO and president Chris Raimondi says the awards are a visible reminder to employees that the company values safety. Raimondi says safety is a “top priority” at his company. (Check out the company’s recent blog about “Why Workplace Safety is Important.”)

“If we cannot provide a safe environment for our employees and our clients, then we have no business being in this line of work,” Raimondi says.

Like Raimondi, many landscape professionals vie for NALP’s Safety Recognition Awards each year. This year, NALP gave out 203 awards for the Dec. 31, 2017 through Jan. 1, 2018 performance period. Award categories include “No Vehicle Accidents,” “No Injuries or Illnesses,” and “No Days Away from Work.”

Another highly coveted award is the “Overall Safety Achievement Award.” Companies that participated in previous programs were also eligible for the “Most Improved” category.

Making safety top-of-mind for employees, however, means putting awards for safe operations on display so they know safety is highly valued at the company.

Put Awards for Safe Operations on Display to Show Employees You Care

This past year, Raimondi took home an Overall Safety Achievement Gold Performance award. That meant no vehicle accidents, no injuries or illnesses, and no days away from work. Raimondi says they’ve won it two years in a row and that he applies for it because of the awareness that it creates within the company.

“If employees see that we care—that we’re displaying these awards we’ve won for safety—then I believe they’ll think twice about standing on that top step or about making other mistakes that could lead to an accident,” Raimondi says. “With these awards hanging in our lobby, employees see them all of the time.

“Recently, I had a team member tell me he wanted to wash the truck because the windows were filthy, and it could impact visibility,” Raimondi adds. “I was thrilled to hear him say that—it made me feel that the safety message is getting through.”

Display Safe Operations Awards to Heighten Awareness

Safety on the job at Farmside Landscape & Design. Photo: Farmside

Lisa L. Kuperus, vice president of Farmside Landscape & Design in Sussex, New Jersey, agrees that displaying the company’s safety awards has led to “heightened awareness from crews.”

“I think it also makes a difference in how we are perceived by clients and prospective clients,” says Kuperus, whose company won a “No Vehicle Accidents” award this past year. “They see the care that we treat our people with and that safety is something that’s important to us. They recognize that we’ll treat their property the same way.”

Farmside also sends press releases about awards to local papers to let its customers and community know how much it values safe operations.

Safe Operations Is An On-going Company Discussion

Of course, it’s important that training isn’t just a once-and-done endeavor. Kuperus says that at Farmside, safety is an ongoing discussion. They often make use of NALP’s tools, including the tailgate talk sheets, to go over important safety points. Kuperus says it’s incredibly helpful that these are available in both English and Spanish for their bilingual crews.

“We do what we can to try and prevent accidents by having regular discussions and training,” Kuperus says. “That’s not to say that accidents never happen. We know that people have accidents and make mistakes. When that occurs, we do everything we can to learn from them so that it doesn’t happen again. We want our team members to know that if you get hurt, it doesn’t just affect you, it affects everyone. It impacts the team and it can even impact their family. We want everyone working safely and smartly to prevent these things from happening in the first place.”

Raimondi agrees, adding: “We go out of our way to ensure that all processes and procedures involving safety are enforced. It’s a hallmark of our company to instill both family and safety in everything that we do.”

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