East & Westbrook Construction Company Inc.
Industrial and commercial construction
175 employees | 31 sites | 7 EHS professionals
At East & Westbrook Construction Co. (E&W), a strong safety culture translates into revenue. “A direct result of our company investing a lot of money, time and energy into our safety department and culture are work opportunities and therefore potential revenue that would not otherwise be available,“ says Jason Burroughs, vice president of safety, health and quality.
E&W’s safety program is called the Safety Hexagon. The Hexagon is the acronym—S.A.F.E.T.Y, which stands for Support, Accountability, Foresight, Engagement, Teamwork and You. Support means that every employee regardless of title plays a crucial role in developing and maintaining the safety culture. Under the Accountability pillar, the company is “willing to highlight our faults in order to correct them.” Foresight includes preplanning with the company’s Safety Task Analysis.
Engagement gives employees the ability to refuse or stop work if they feel conditions are unsafe. The Teamwork pillar underscores that “we know more as a team than any one individual will know.” And You is the most important value as safety is ultimately in the hands of the individual.
These values are not always easy to implement. “Safety conversations aren’t always comfortable, but all team members at E&W are empowered to be engaged with safety,” Burroughs explains. “It’s not just the right thing to do, but it is our responsibility to speak up if we see an unsafe act or condition.”
The company has a number of methods to track and verify its safety processes. One particularly effective method is having a regional safety manager inspect all active jobs once or twice weekly.
The role managers play in all aspects of safety procedures is key to the company’s success. “There is a direct correlation between the extent of management involvement in this process and the reduction of employee injuries, illnesses and property damage cases,” Burroughs notes.
In addition to reducing safety incidents, the company sees an expanded role of safety. “Safety is not sacrificed for production but rather considered to be an integral part of quality control, cost control, job efficiency, planning and execution,” he emphasizes.
And beyond business metrics, the company says a good safety record reflects positively on the quality of management, supervision and all employees.