Craig Bonna
President and CEO
Robert Heely Construction, LP
Paso Robles, Calif.

Oilfield construction workers face a potential conflict when they take a new job: Stick to their existing safety habits or embrace their new company’s culture. Sometimes new hires bring best practices we should adopt. More often, though, we need new employees to adopt our idea and vision. Our biggest challenge has been gaining new employees’ buy-in to our safety culture. We are proud of having a more stringent safety culture than some of our competitors, but it creates a steep learning curve for some new hires. People have the potential to evolve when their existing experiences and new ideas merge. We know people genuinely want to go home safely to their friends and families each day, and we have built a safety system based on this understanding. The system includes consistent safety policies, ongoing training, auditing for compliance and engaged leaders in the field. Our system is dynamic as well—continuously improving by incorporating best practices from our employees, customers and competitors.

Sean Histed
President
Color Works Painting, Inc.
New Castle, Del.

Keeping up with constantly changing federal and state regulations has been our biggest challenge to date. One new regulation has a domino effect on all that we do, and it drastically impacts our safety culture. Due diligence not only demonstrates a will to comply, but also sends a message to employees that you care. Safety is constantly analyzed and communicated in all processes, especially when implementing a new regulation. Persistent investment of time and effort in this realm helps overcome hurdles of change. This also supports employees as they strive to implement new procedures in an environment where safety is their No. 1 priority. One of our biggest successes has been promoting and maintaining a zero harm culture amidst these regulatory changes. Maintaining a safe environment has been a huge achievement for our workforce. Integrating safety into every facet of the workplace is rewarding for everyone on our team. Knowing your employees have remained safe throughout the years far outweighs any business accomplishment.

Ralph Riley
Safety Programs Manager
S&B Engineers and Constructors
Houston

The biggest challenge, and success, I encounter is getting employees to believe and trust in our culture. While visiting a project several years ago, I was speaking one on one with some of the craft professionals about incidents, near-miss reporting and the stop-work process. There was a definite attitude of “I am not going to report anything because the foreman will blame me for slowing down work and then I’ll get fired.” It seemed that no matter how much we preached “report, report, report,” the trust was not there. As fate would have it, we experienced an accident that was an OSHA recordable. We conducted investigations and identified causes. At the closeout meeting, the injured craft professional (who had been in his craft for a dozen years, but with S&B for less than a year) spoke about how good it was to work with a company that was not trying to “lay blame,” but “really cared about me.” I believe that incident sent a strong message that our safety culture focuses on providing our craft professionals with a safe place to work.