Who Your Safety Director is Matters

Who Your Safety Director is Matters

A Safety Director is an important position in your company.  But why do we just put any person available in this position?  We, as an industry, must put a person in the Safety Director’s position that is fully equipped for the job.  We sometimes give this position the last thought when hiring people. Why is that? Safety is the most important part of our job; yet we do not want to spend the resources into hiring the right person to fill the Safety Director position. A proper Safety Director can make or break your tree care business. Improper handling of the staff can create chaos in your company; proper handling of the staff will create a culture in your business where safety flourishes.

To fill the Safety Director position, you must find a person who is fluent with climbing skills, grounds person skills, equipment guidelines, PHC guidelines and MSDS rules, ANSI Z and OSHA Standards, computer skills, record keeping, training skills, middle management skills, etc. He or she must be familiar with all these skills – excellent at some, good at others, but able to perform all of them. He or she must be a strong personality that can handle safety infractions and incidents with a calm manner. This may include things such as a consequence schedule established for safety infractions – first offense warning, second offense suspension, third offense termination. At all times, the Safety Director should be seeking out information to help educate themselves and then educate their crews.    

All these actions are hard on the Safety Director – to take disciplinary actions and apply them to crew members, and at times what used to be fellow crew members.  They need to establish a culture that promotes safety. They need to be available to have safety talks with each crew or individually. They need to be understanding and firm at the same time.  

Make sure you choose a level headed person for this position. Do extensive interviews, ask the right questions, have the person applying for the position do a performance test such as climb the tree, run the chipper, or PHC treatments.  There is nothing wrong in testing their knowledge. After all, your crew’s safety and your money are on the line.

Make sure as a company owner you fill the position with a qualified person for the Safety Director position.  Make sure they have enough well-rounded experience; your crews will recognize a Safety Director that is trying too hard to convince the crews of his knowledge in some area or acts like an expert – and in all truth is not an expert.  Choose someone that the company can trust and is a welcome help rather than a hindrance. 

For more help with your hiring and recruiting needs, contact an ArboRisk crew member today! 

Written By:  Dawn Thierbach

ArboRisk

There are 2 comments on this post
  1. John Wayne Farber
    October 31, 2019, 11:00 am

    Awesome article and video. We need more people talking about these issues. Keep it coming.

    Unfortunately it is easier said then done in my experience. We, as an industry lack the depth to be able to hire qualified worker let alone someone passionate about safety.

    One word of advise I would give to companies, to make sure a safety director is not a production employee. They can work in the field for training, etc. but not ever counted on the daily crew production numbers. This is a short fall I have seen many times which leads to a failed program.

    Keep spreading the good word!

  2. ArboRisk
    November 01, 2019, 5:04 pm

    Hi John Wayne!

    Thanks for taking the time to read our article and for your feedback. That is great advise that we will definitely share. Thanks so much!

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