“A common sentiment is that construction is a dangerous business and accidents are bound to happen,” says Jim Malecha, president and CEO of Egan Company. “Our company’s approach will never accept this view as the standard.”
A lot of companies claim that they have safety leadership “from the top down.” But do they really?
Egan Company successfully includes executive-level leadership in its safety culture and at the Safety Leadership Conference 2016 in Pittsburgh, Jason Lindula, the company’s safety coordinator, will provide attendees with insight into the company’s success. Lindula, CSP, ARM, took time this week to answer some questions from EHSToday.com about his presentation, which is part of the Safety and Risk Management Track.
EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your topic and how it relates to safety leadership?
Jason Lindula: Safety is a top-to-bottom cultural priority at Egan Company that not only requires top management support but their involvement as well. Egan emphasizes to our employees that the company’s commitment to safety is the overriding goal of each project. It’s a commitment that’s impossible to ignore when the CEO and other officers are on jobsites performing safety audits.
Each and every facet of our program has a direct impact on our safety mindset. We have found that when you add all of these elements together and integrate them into a workforce, a culture for safety develops. Safety needs to be demonstrated and communicated continuously to make an impact; something Egan Company President and CEO Jim Malecha recognizes starts with leadership. Throughout this session, attendees will learn the techniques and tactics that Egan uses to achieve a safety culture that is driven by leadership.
EHS Today: Why is that topic of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees? Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to the topic.
Jason Lindula: Having management commitment is vital to ensuring a robust and effective safety program. The support that Egan leadership gives to all members of the safety department and field leaders is second to none. Developing this type of commitment helps to ensure that all employees work safely and go home at the end of the day.
While working as the on-site safety coordinator at US Bank Stadium, the new home of the Minnesota Vikings, we had monthly audits done by members of Egan’s executive committee including Jim Malecha. During these audits, executives would talk to our employees, thanking them for their efforts in working safely and asking for tips and information that would make their job easier both on this project and future projects down the road.
EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees?
Jason Lindula: Attendees will leave this presentation with techniques and tactics for developing the leadership support that Egan Company has experienced. The expectations and requirements of executives at Egan Company will also be reviewed. We will also review how new members to Egan’s executive team learn the importance of safety and how their new role increases their focus on safety for all employees.
EHS Today: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2016 and beyond?
Jason Lindula: The increased emphasis on having a robust safety program will continue to grow as companies experience the cost benefits of protecting their most important asset, the employee. Many projects now require an above-average injury history, which requires that companies protect their employees from injury. The increase in litigation against companies when safety issues arise will also put more demand on corporate leaders and safety professionals to get things right before an injury occurs.
EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employers?
Jason Lindula: After attending this session, attendees will be able to bring back ideas and techniques that have worked for a large specialty contractor that employs over 950 workers and continually has injury rates well below the industry average. I will also describe how developing a positive relationship with executives can make the job of a safety professional fun, rewarding, and productive.