Photo courtesy of RFM Nooter
Rmf Nooter

America's Safest Companies 2021: RMF Nooter

Oct. 26, 2021
Gathering input from employees brings a safety program to a higher level.

RMF Nooter
Construction
Toledo, OH
294 employees | 2 sites | 6 EHS professionals

An important part of ensuring a company’s safety record is choosing the right people to make safety decisions. “I believe that our company is unique in its recruitment and hiring of safety professionals. We don’t hire safety professionals. Rather, we hire people with professional characteristics and turn them into safety professionals,” says Randy Roberts, EHS manager with construction company RMF Nooter.

Roberts says that of its current roster of full-time safety professionals, only one chose health and safety as a career path prior to attending college. The rest came from different industries, including agriculture, automotive, carpentry and industrial.

In addition to different fields, the team has spent time on the labor side, Roberts says. “We’ve worked with the tools. We have had first-hand knowledge of not only the hazards that come with the tasks and activities, but with the mentality that goes along with them. This gives our team a unique insight as to how craftsmen view and approach their work. This insight helps in understanding, empathizing and communicating with the folks that we are charged with keeping safe.”

Gathering input from employees also brings the safety program to a higher level. Employees at both the craftsman and foreman level join in on safety inspections and audits. “We have found that the craftsmen bring a different and valuable perspective to the auditing process, often identifying hazards specific to their respective trade,” Roberts says.

In fact, during the recent process of revamping the company’s Job Safety Analysis (JSA), they brought in various craftsmen from different trades and asked for their ideas and opinions. Many of these ideas were used in the development of the new JSA.

And continuous improvement is crucial for any safety program. For instance, the company created a program called Positive Awareness Coaching Teamwork (PACT). It’s a combination of leadership tools with a training component—a mini version of the safety manual plus a few little extras that can be taken into the field and used there.

“With the implementation of this program, we have enhanced our communication, depth of leadership in the field, critical thinking of our employees and companywide involvement,” explains Roberts.

To be considered for an America's Safest Companies award, organizations must demonstrate excellence in several areas: support from leadership and management for EHS efforts; employee involvement in the EHS process; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; good communication about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.

The 2021 ASC awards will be presented during a ceremony at EHS Today’s Safety Leadership Conference 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. For a detailed look at this year's program and to register, go to www.safetyleadershipconference.com for all the details.

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