David Stauffer, CSP, ARM, is the director of EHS at SBM Management, a McClellan, Calif.-based provider of janitorial, housekeeping and maintenance services. At SBM, safety is considered a business process that's integral to the company's success. If you're a potential customer exploring the company's website, you'll find safety listed as the first "key advantage" to doing business with SBM, which was honored as one of America’s Safest Companies in 2014.
While SBM takes pride in its EHS process, its workers often are in facilities managed by other companies that don’t always share SBM’s focus on safety. Here, Stauffer offers a glimpse of what he plans to talk about the Safety Leadership Conference in Pittsburgh, Sept. 19-21.
EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your topic and how it relates to safety leadership?
David Stauffer: When an operation is under performing and has poor safety results, you need to implement a game plan and creating a safety focus is the starting point. Another needed component is strong leadership.
It is not just a quick fix but rather is building a long-term safety culture with leadership as the foundation.
EHS Today: Why is that topic of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees?
David Stauffer: Knowing how to lead a safety focus process at any operation is key to improving results that effect every part of how the operation runs and achieves results.
EHS Today: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to the topic.
David Stauffer: Within our company, our overall results were solid but, our largest sites were experiencing poor safety results. As the EHS department, we were tasked with making improvement because safety scores were low.
The challenge was all the standard components of safety were in place: training, PPE, observations and follow-up. What we discovered was there was no culture of safety at those locations, just a checklist. Once the items on the list were checked as complete, nothing else was done.
We had to create a new framework and implement safety and manage it like any other operation expectation. This was challenging but our impact was great.
EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees?
David Stauffer: A safety focus is a process and requires a team of leaders who are willing to make hard decisions and will take the necessary time to see a safety culture emerge from all the effort.
EHS Today: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2016 and beyond?
David Stauffer: Wanting quick fixes and easy programs to implement. You have to create strong partnerships with other departments and that is not an easy task.
EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employers?
David Stauffer: It identifies common issues that stifle safety results and makes you look differently at what you have implemented in the past. It also discusses the team approach to reach and sustain results long-term.