In the last 5 years, Buffalo Gap Instrumentation and Electrical Co. Inc.’s (BGI&E) work force has grown from 89 to 350 employees – and each and every one of them is considered a safety professional in their own right.
“Each employee is given the responsibility to influence the safety for every project. Our motto is that ‘Every Employee is a Safety Professional.’ It is not one individual’s job for safety, it is a team effort and we celebrate each success as a team,” explains Troy A. Bonar, safety manager.
That all-for-one attitude and dedication to safety is evident in the company’s 6-year run without a lost-time injury. Currently, BGI&E is working over 4.25 million hours without a lost-time incident. Every employee has a direct line to the safety coordinator and may feel free to raise concerns or suggestions at any time. In short, they are empowered to take charge of their safety.
Management supports a strong company safety culture by viewing safety not as expense but as an investment in employees’ futures; actively participating in annual training sessions; performing advanced safety audits; standing up to clients who risk compromising the safety of BGI&E employees; and fully supporting the company’s safety programs and work force.
BGI&E’s Field/Floor Assistant Safety Team (F.A.S.T.) safety mentoring program engages every employee outside of the training classroom. Each worker is mentored by a supervisor or safety team member; together, they perform inspections, behavior-based observations, job safety analyses or other safety-related tasks. This program builds confidence, increases trust, improves communication and strengthens relationships between employees and supervisors. “BGI&E maintains the philosophy that safety is a state of mind integral to all operations. No task is undertaken without first addressing how it can be performed safely, knowing there is no higher priority than the well-being of our employees,” says Division Manager Bill Strickland.
That priority to employee safety extends to BGI&E using neuro-linguistic programming in communications and safety training to foster a better response to education and to nurture a safety-focused mindset among employees, clients and management. The company operates on the philosophy that extra time should not be taken for safety because safety already should be integral to all operations. In fact, BGI&E leadership is convinced safety is the No. 1 reason the company wins contracts. And it all starts with the work force.
“People are our power when we empower our people,” says Bonar. “Employees who are given the training, resources and leadership support will take on the responsibilities of the job and rise to the meet expectations of excellence.”
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