4 Tips to Create a Culture of Safety

4 Tips to Create a Culture of Safety

Written by Mick Kelly

At ArboRisk, we often hear people say they want to build a better safety culture, but many times they don’t know how to do that. Because we all know a great safety culture doesn’t just look at the health and wellbeing of your employees – it also incorporates equipment maintenance, public safety both on the jobsite and on the road, and your brand reputation, you must be strategic in establishing the safety culture that you want within your organization. 

By creating a strong safety culture, you are developing an ethos for your company and giving your employees an idea of how things are done in your business. Your goal should be to ingrain in the collective memory of your team, through repetition, routine and diligence, the importance of making sure every employee gets home safe each night. 

Here are my 4 tips to create a stronger culture of safety within your business! 


The key to any culture is communication. If you don’t have a clear, defined idea of what your safety culture is, then this will trickle down to every aspect of your business. It is imperative that the message from leadership is crystal clear, that you are more interested in everyone’s safety than saving a half hour of work. Because of that, you expect your team to follow the guidelines and not to cut corners. It’s a message that has to be repeated every day until it becomes the mantra of the company. 


Training/Employee Development

Training is one of the largest key aspects for increasing safety awareness within an organization, and by the way is also a great way of retaining employees. Laying out a clear development path(s) within your organization and encouraging employees to obtain industry certification or designations will help grow your safety culture because they will be able to visualize how their role impacts every other person at your company. The more decorated your team becomes and the prouder they are of their work, the more that your safety culture will thrive.


Preparing for Safety

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Nothing could be more true about safety. A strong safety culture is created intentionally by being prepared. That means proactive thinking must occur to set up topics for safety meetings in advance, investigating what new equipment or technology is available to help your team operate safer (think wireless communication headsets for your helmets) and installing a telematics system into your vehicles. All of those items are done in advance of an injury and accident. To begin preparing for safety, simply take a half hour to sit down and think about potential hazards that your team faces each day and create a simple action plan on how to minimize each of those hazards. Use your “toolbox” meetings to cover one topic a day.  


Written Procedures

Writing anything down makes it more official. Being able to provide an employee with written guidelines will solidify the seriousness of your intent. Written procedures give directions for handling difficult or stressful situations like reporting procedures for an injury or accident. Explaining the long term benefits of these written procedures to employees will take away the stigma of the extra work they may perceive comes with it.  


Other tips and hints

  • Take the time to look over your past mistakes – look at your written reports and see if there is a pattern that is leading to broken equipment, accidents in vehicles, accidents on jobs, etc. 
  • Having a “Safety Guru” onstaff is a great way to manage the safety culture. Often you’ll find an employee that is passionate about theirs and others safety and they can be the advocate you need within your organization.


Here at ArboRisk, one of our core mission values is to help each of our clients make sure their team gets home safely each and every night. Helping our clients create a safety culture within their company, whether it’s a one-man operation or they have numerous employees, is imperative to achieving that mission. A great safety culture will also help grow your business by attracting the right employees and in the long term will help to keep your insurance costs down. 

Taking the time to develop and implement a comprehensive safety program is the first step, but living and breathing safety within your company is really where you’ll see the results. Because developing a safety program takes time, ArboRisk partners with tree care companies to create personalized programs in a fraction of the time. For more information, check out our Safety Package and contact us today!

Reducing Risk with Software

Reducing Risk with Software

As humans, we’re not very efficient at processing information. We’re forgetful, make mistakes, and usually feel like we get pulled in ten different directions. How do we know what to prioritize? This is where software comes into play. Business management software is one of the easiest ways to elevate your business and reduce your risk. The software can find blind spots you couldn’t see so that you can manage your business with clarity.

In this article, we’ll discuss how software reduces your risk and what items you should consider when searching for management software. 

How Software Reduces Risk

Industry-specific management software allows you to focus on what’s important. The key features we’ll discuss are how it improves your work orders, route planning, and business decisions. 

Proposals & Work Orders

Clear communication between you and your customers is vital to reducing risk. Software creates harmony between customer expectations and the crew’s orders. Digital proposals contain much more detail than paper versions. You can attach extra notes, optional add-ons, and images or videos of items. This saves time and answers customer questions before they arise, leading to higher proposal acceptance rates. When a proposal is accepted, the same information is transferred seamlessly into a work order. Crews save time by knowing what equipment they’ll need for each job, and they won’t forget important details because they can always refer to the digital copy. 

One of our favorite features included in work orders created within SingleOps is the ability to attach aerial Google Map images of the job site with markers clearly showing the exact areas that will be worked on. This reduces the risk of crews working on areas they shouldn’t or missing items meant to be worked on.  

Route Optimization 

Prior to software, drivers would need to predict the optimal route to take using their best judgment and their maps app. Since management software has route optimization features, the risk for human error is greatly reduced. Using route optimization takes control out of the driver’s hands and turns it over to the software, which can analyze all the inputs and calculate the most efficient route for a driver to take in seconds. This reduces the amount of fuel, downtime, and confusion drivers have so crews can get to the job site faster and more efficiently. 

If you have more questions about how route optimization works within SingleOps, you can read this help center article.

Business Decisions 

Running a business can feel like flying in the dark sometimes. There’s always the possibility that you’ll be given the wrong information or not have enough information when making a decision. Management software can help organize your data to ensure you have an accurate picture of your operations. 

Management software comes with reports and dashboards that allow you to analyze any aspect of your business. Some of the most helpful reports you can create are labor analysis and profitability reports. Analyzing your labor allows you to identify the most efficient and profitable crews, which you can then use to schedule your highest performing crews for the most important projects.

Besides knowing your labor profitability, the software makes it easier to calculate net-profit margins by segment. This can help you identify which segments of your business are the most profitable. Many businesses assume the segment that brings in the most revenue will also be their most profitable, but this isn’t always the case. You don’t want to run a business based on incomplete data or assumptions.  

What you should consider before buying management software

Searching for the right software can be a challenge because many people don’t know what to look for. Here are suggestions to consider when looking for the right one. 

What are my needs?

Each tree care company has different priorities. Likewise, different software caters to different types of companies. The important part is finding the right one for you. Identify your biggest challenges and search for software that can meet them. Once you know the direction you want to head in it will be much easier to narrow down your choices.

How easy is it to use the software?

Don’t confuse complexity with software capability. Two companies can offer software with the same features, but one can be highly technical and require many hours of training while the other gives you the same functionality but requires half the training. Software that is too complex can lead to burnout and abandonment of the project altogether. Finding the right balance between complexity and functionality is key to the value your team will get out of the software. 

Implementation/Customer Service

Does the software provider you’re considering partner with you every step of the way, or do they only send you self-starter guides and videos? Not every implementation team is built the same or offers the same amount of care. You’ll want to evaluate the kind of support you’ll receive during implementation and post-implementation. Look for a company that wants to partner with you and provides a high level of service. Remember, you are going to have bumps and glitches along the way, you’ll want a team dedicated to helping you solve those problems.

Price vs Value

ROI is one of the biggest factors for companies when selecting software of any kind. In addition to assessing management software, you’ll need to find out if you’ll have to purchase add-ons or third-party software to get the most out of the platform. You’ll also want to look at their pricing structure to identify your monthly and annual costs. You’ll also need to know how many licenses you’ll have to purchase for your teams.


Finding the right software mitigates risk to your company by creating clear communication at all levels of the organization, reducing human error, and saving time. Landscape and tree care companies have learned that Excel and email are inefficient and error-prone methods that ultimately result in lost opportunities. Reduce your risk and propel your business forward by investing in smart, user-friendly software. To learn more about SingleOps and/or how their customers respond after implementation, please contact the SingleOps team at [email protected].

Written By: Joshua Lehto, SingleOps Marketing Associate & Ty Demeer


What is Risk Management?

What is Risk Management?

If you’ve been following ArboRisk for any amount of time, you know that we believe in using a “risk management approach” to ensure our clients survive an unexpected event. But what does that really mean? 

Technically, a risk management approach focuses on identifying, analyzing and controlling exposures that could have a negative impact on the business. That means a tree service must be intentional and honest when looking at their business to first gain an understanding of what could go wrong and then be open minded enough to find ways to minimize the impact of those exposures on their business. 

To us here at ArboRisk, the risk management approach starts with having the simple attitude of; always seeking to improve

All too often in the tree care industry, we hear or see the “that won’t happen to me” or “we already do everything we can” attitudes from business owners. These viewpoints block all attempts at proper risk management by closing the business owner’s mind to helpful exposure reducing ideas. Unfortunately, those attitudes are not the only dangerous mindsets we see. We have presented on 7 Deadly Sins of Work Comp at numerous national and local tree care conferences to help tree services avoid common pitfalls and implement a risk management approach. 

Once the tree care company embraces an open mind, then and only then can they identify and assess the risks that their company faces and make a plan on what to do with those risks. It’s also very important to remember that purchasing insurance doesn’t mean you are practicing risk management. While insurance coverage is important it is only one part of risk management. For more on that concept, please read this article (Why Insurance is NOT Risk Management).

If you’re looking to institute a risk management approach within your business, reach out to an ArboRisk team member today. 

Written by: Eric Petersen

Knowledge Transfer to Better Your Business

Knowledge Transfer to Better your Business

According to a study from the Work Institute, the estimated costs of employee turnover ranges from 33% to as much as 200% of the departing employee’s salary. Costs include lost revenue from reduced human resource levels, project delays, accidents, recruiting, training and on-boarding new personnel. The range of cost is affected by the skills and experience (knowledge) lost with the employee. Consider the difference between losing a seasonal employee to the cost of replacing a long-term retiring employee with advanced skills and years of experience with the company and the profession. With the later, the loss to the company is not only an employee but the knowledge that employee provided to the success of the operation.

Understanding that knowledge loss is the major casualty of employee turnover is the first step towards better employee management.

Researchers began studying the impacts of knowledge loss in the early 1990’s. The concern was related to one generation retiring and the knowledge lost as retirements increased. From that research the concept of knowledge transfer developed. Knowledge transfer is a method of sharing information, abilities, and ideas across different areas of your business. It helps capture the knowledge before it leaves the organization and is then used to train replacements, expand service offering and or cross train employees to increase efficiency.

One of the major benefits of a structured knowledge transfer process is uncovering the ‘special sauce’. People who have mastered their job have skills and experience that make them more successful. In addition to having the knowledge, they know when, where, and how to use that knowledge to work effectively…the special sauce.

Googling ‘knowledge transfer’ will give you a whole host of resources, however, the Knowledge Maverick is a free web resource which can assist you with understanding the concept of knowledge transfer and how to implement it within your company. They have developed a series of questions to get you started. The questions were developed to be answered in a conversation between the person with the knowledge, and the person interested in receiving the knowledge. The conversations will help develop more questions and productive discussion. They are also a good framework for employee mentors.

Lastly, there are knowledge transfer professionals that can assist you in developing a transfer system. Because the loss of knowledge within your company represents a large risk to the health of the organization, ArboRisk has created a Knowledge Transfer portion of Thrive to lower this exposure. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the ArboRisk team to learn more.

Written by: Jim Skiera

Driver Training

Driver Training For Tree Care Companies

Let’s face it, one of the largest exposures to risk within your tree care company comes from your trucks being on the road. To lower that risk, you must look at managing your fleet and your drivers, with the latter being perhaps one of the most difficult tasks you face.

In the past we’ve discussed ways to test your drivers before they drive one of your trucks on their own. In case you missed that weekly tip, you can access it here (Driving Tests). The next step after you have a baseline of each driver’s skill is to develop a training program so they can continually improve their skills. A driver training program should be written down and contain clear progress goals that encompass training from both internal and external sources.

Internal Training – Most tree care companies deliver driver training to their employees directly and do so only during their tailgate safety meetings. While this is a great way to provide some training, the tailgate meetings may not always be planned out too far in advance and could miss some crucial driver training topics. So I encourage you to create a more systematic internal training program. Use these questions when developing it.

What driver training topics do you already cover within your tailgate safety meetings?

What are some of the most common near misses that your company has when it comes to operating vehicles?

Who in your company would be proficient in teaching the driver training?

External Training – You most likely will not be able to cover all driving training topics with in-house instructors. This is when you need to look outside of your organization. Including training programs put on by outside vendors offer many benefits to your company and can really help lower your driver exposure. Because there are many different options, use this list of questions to help select the proper training vendors.

What type of driver training topics are your current team members not capable of delivering, but are important to your company (think defensive driving, roadside emergency preparedness, etc.)?

Are there local driving schools in your area?

Can you take your vehicles to use during the class?

Bettering your driver’s skills on the road will help you dramatically reduce injuries and accidents, lower insurance premiums and increase your profits. For help with instituting a driver and fleet management program within your company, reach out to an ArboRisk team member today.

Also, we are hosting a Driver & Fleet Management webinar on October 2nd, 2020 along with Streamside Green and Victorian Gardens. To sign up visit this link. In case you read this after the webinar is over, contact us directly and we can set up a time to discuss this individually.

Written by: Eric Petersen