As Lance Murray, construction safety manager at Mark Young Construction, sees it, “Too many in the C-suite look at the safety function within an organization as a cost center instead of a profit center. In turn, safety professionals need to develop relationships and communication skills with all leadership to promote and establish the benefits of a strong safety culture within the organization.”
Murray, who spoke to attendees of the Safety Leadership Conference in November 2020, understands the value of working within a safety culture. "I went to work for an organization [Mark Young Construction] that wanted to do the right thing for the right reasons. Leadership understood the relationship between being a successful/profitable general contractor and site safety, and they genuinely cared about their employees, but struggled with recordable injuries and citations that prevented them from bidding key projects."
The key, he stresses, was to develop relationships at all levels of the organization and to integrate safety into all aspects of a project. Through those efforts, "a culture of safety was seeded into the organization that continues to grow and thrive to this day." Today, the company is being awarded contracts on multimillion-dollar projects that were lost in the past to poor safety metrics. What's more, in 2019 Mark Young Construction was named the recipient of EHS Today's America's Safest Companies award.
Although he works in the construction industry, Murray emphasizes that the safety lessons he's learned can be applied to any industry. His presentation is designed to challenge safety professionals with the widely accepted concept of “Safety First” by incorporating the business side of safety leadership, building relationships and communication skills, KPIs, and leading and lagging indicators. "By building and integrating safety into all aspects of a project," he says, "safety is no longer in competition with every other aspect of the project and should never be observed on a numerical scale."
Click on the video below to watch Murray's presentation on “How a Stronger Safety Culture Can Increase Compliance.”