Safety Culture: How to Run Effective Safety Training Across Multiple Locations - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Safety Culture: How to Run Effective Safety Training Across Multiple Locations

Photo: Monarch Landscape Management

If your lawn or landscape company has multiple locations, whether it’s a few cities or a few states over, consistency can be a challenge to ensure that each team receives the same level of safety training.

Individual instructors have their own experiences, capabilities and biases so trainees at different locations can receive different messages. You also want to make sure the frequency of the safety training is occurring at the same rate across your locations. Naturally, if one branch is having weekly safety meetings and another one is only discussing safety quarterly, it will not be as top of mind for the crews discussing it less frequently.

Standardize Practices

If you haven’t already standardized your safety practices, take the time to document these processes so each location understands and operates at the same level of safety. While your branches may have some creative freedom for certain aspects of their operations, safety should not be one of them.

Aspen Grove Landscape Companies serves a number of commercial clients across the U.S. through their family of regional landscape companies. Despite having a diverse team of professionals performing a diverse portfolio of services, standardized metrics and measuring tools have helped them identify common trends.

They can then determine how to change their work practices to reduce the risk involved in their everyday operations.

Utilize a Learning Management System  

Once you have standardized your safety procedures, you can streamline your training by taking advantage of learning management software (LMS). This is what Bryce Christianson, founder and managing member of Titan Sitework Contracting, based in Anchorage, Alaska, utilizes to help with safety training.

“Before, everything was out of binders,” Christianson says. “Now, I can set someone up on a computer and put them through the first two hours of training whereas before, a manager would have to grab that binder, explain the process and take 30 or 45 minutes just to get him set up and acclimated to the program, and then be available for questions.”

With the LMS, each employee logs into a personal account, and the system records his or her progress and quiz scores, fulfilling federal OSHA’s requirement to document training and ensure it is understood. At Titan, the workers repeat this training every three years.

Hold an Annual Safety Day

If your locations are close enough to gather for a day, you can reiterate the safety training they’ve received online by hosting a safety rodeo at the beginning of the season.

Monarch Landscape Management, based in Houston, Texas, hosts an all-day safety rodeo in the spring that has eight different stations. Teams of people will present a 25-minute topic at each station. Topics include first aid, truck and trailer safety, mower safety, string trimmer and edger safety, blower and trimmer safety, pruning and efficiencies, HR and Aspire, and plant health care. At the end of the rodeo, they will have a fish fry to promote camaraderie as a team and a family.

“That’s an investment on behalf of the company too because everybody gets paid for the day to be here to do that,” says Jodi Joseph, an account manager for Monarch.

NALP’s safety programs are produced in partnership with Rancho Mesa.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.