As a safety professional, how would you like working for a company where your department had no fixed budget – meaning that you could purchase equipment and provide training as needed without worrying about the cost – and you reported directly to your CEO, so you know that safety is front-of-mind in the C-suite?
William Hocevar, CSP, CIH, is the safety director at The Great Lakes Construction Co., and he has nothing but praise for senior management's commitment to safety.
"Our senior management has put forth a tremendous effort to empower our employees to own the safety program at Great Lakes," says Hocevar. "With the addition of a new training facility, senior management sets aside two months per year geared at educating our employees. Education focuses on managing risk in the diverse markets we work in, such as water treatment plants, bridgework and oil and gas. Our employees take that education and manage all aspects of risk on the project, making the safety program their own. This is our ‘top down/ bottom up' approach."
Using that approach, along with strong senior management support, innovative programs spurred by employees, risk management education and integration of EHS in all aspects of its business, Great Lakes is "able to achieve a sustainable business that will save lives and change our industry," Hocevar adds.
Safety plays an integral part in bid discussions with estimators, and employees have stop-work authority. Employees are required to discuss hazards in each morning's pre-task analysis and offer ways to eliminate those hazards. Work is not permitted to begin until every employee feels comfortable with the hazard corrections. Company officers hold bi-weekly safety talks, employees create the weekly toolbox talks and the company holds lunch-and-learn education sessions.
"EHS excellence is regarded as an essential component of The Great Lakes Construction Co.," says Hocevar. "It works in conjunction with quality and efficiency to form the base of our company and to ensure its success and sustainability."
The Great Lakes Construction Co.
500 employees/45 sites/
3 safety professionals and 1 safety intern