How can a company improve their safety strategy? At Environmental Waste Minimization, Inc., we believe empowering employees, incentivizing Behavior Based Safety and training for success are core facets of building a strong safety strategy.

At EWMI, safety is our core value. We take pride in our stellar safety record, which includes a 0.0 Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) in 2018 and a 0.2 average TRIR over the last five years. We’ve also been honored with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence, a highly competitive award that commends comprehensive, exceptional safety programs in the state.

Environmental Waste Minimization, Inc., sets the safety standard for environmental management companies, but our safety strategies can be employed in any industry. Check out these three simple tips to improve the safety strategy at your company for the good of your people, your projects and your reputation.

Empowering Employees with Stop Work Authority

While robust written safety plans lay the groundwork for a safe worksite, they cannot always account for unexpected events in the field. An environment can become hazardous at any moment and employees need to be trained to recognize and react to potential danger.

At EWMI, every employee is issued a “Stop Work Authority” card when they’re brought onto the team. If an employee observes something potentially unsafe at any time on the jobsite, they can utilize their Stop Work Authority card. This allows for immediate work stoppage.

After a Stop Work Authority card is used, the potential hazard is investigated by EWMI’s Safety team. If an issue is discovered, work does not resume until the hazard is mitigated. If the investigation shows that everything on-site was safe, there are no repercussions for the employee who used their Stop Work Authority card.

Stop Work Authority is an important facet of EWMI’s safety strategy because it empowers employees to open a line of communication without fear of repercussions and allows hazards to be resolved before anyone gets hurt. 

Blue Card Program Incentivizes Behavior Based Safety

Behavior Based Safety (BBS) is a hot topic in the field, partially because it is challenging to implement effective BBS safety strategies. At EWMI, our Blue Card program embodies the tenets of Behavior Based Safety by allowing our employees to celebrate safe choices while learning from unsafe decisions.

Any time an employee, on-site contractor, sub-contractor or anyone on a jobsite makes a safe or unsafe decision, employees are encouraged to submit a Blue Card that describes the incident or safe act. 

If the act is unsafe, the employee filling out the Blue Card will note what corrective action was taken. If the Blue Card was for recognition of a safe act, the employee filling out the Blue Card will note the act and recognize the individual.

Both positive and negative Blue Cards are analyzed during EWMI’s state-certified Safety Meetings, allowing for employees to understand and consider their actions.

The Blue Card program is incentivized through a monthly giveaway – anyone that fills out a Blue Card recognizing safe or unsafe actions is entered into a drawing for prizes.

This proactive approach allows employees to recognize their peers for exceptional work and allows them to report anomalies that could potentially turn into incidents – saving employees from injuries down the road.

Training for Success

How can someone know how to be safe if they’re not educated? At EWMI, training and education is a critical factor in our safety success.

Every member of EWMI’s Field crew goes through at least two weeks of training as soon as they join the team. Here are just a few of the training sessions new employees at EWMI receive prior to working in the field:

  • 40 hours HAZWOPER training, with annual eight-hour updates,
  • Ten- and 30-hour OSHA training,
  • CPR/AED First Aid training,
  • DOT and RCRA training, and
  • Driver training and equipment training.

This training ensures our employees are fully educated on best safety practices and EWMI safety culture prior to stepping into the field.

Information retention in the classroom can be difficult, especially with long days of learning. That’s why EWMI believes in constant re-education, hands-on learning and testing to ensure full information retention.

Hands-on training is also performed in the field to ensure employees are fully educated on any job, piece of equipment, proper body mechanics and potential dangers prior to performing any work.

EWMI’s safety strategy is built on empowering employees, incentivizing Behavior Based Safety and training for success. We’re proud to share our tips for safety strategy success, and are excited to continue improving safety culture at our company.