Practicing a Model of Continual Health and Safety Improvement

Practicing a Model of Continual Health and Safety Improvement

Our motto at Woodard & Curran is “safety by choice, not by chance." Health and safety is not just a service we provide to our clients, but it is an integral part of our culture. We are always trying to improve our health and safety program at our offices, plants, and in the field. Recently, my team and I have been asking ourselves, how can we ensure that we are being ‘safe’ across all offices, project sites, and treatment plants? Is it when we don’t have any OSHA-recordable injuries? That’s usually a good sign, but we are committed to taking a step farther.

We believe that it is not just the absence of injuries that indicates a safe and healthy work environment, it’s the presence of other programs, actions, and incentives too. We are working to add leading indicators that better reflect this model of continuous improvement. As we have employees whose tasks range from 9-5 office work to operating a treatment plant, these indicators vary depending on the nature of employees' work environment. Here are some actions we are promoting across our company to keep making our environment safer.

In our offices

Although office work doesn’t appear to be laced with workplace hazards, we do place a special emphasis on wellness and ergonomics across all our offices to prevent repetitive motion injuries. It is important for people to know the health and safety benefits of taking breaks and we encourage our employees to get up and walk around throughout the day. Last year, we launched a new online wellness program, Virgin Pulse, which rewards employees for healthy and active behaviors.  Also, we encourage all our employees to report near misses so that we create a safety-first culture that is always seeking to improve its practices.

For our clients

In our consulting projects, we are calling on our project managers to include safety considerations in the project planning stage. We want to make sure that there is a Health and Safety Plan (HASP) for each project and that health and safety concerns are identified and evaluated during the budget development phase. Also, we make sure that there is a clear plan of the communication of project hazards and controls. When we are in the field, we require our consultants to hold daily safety meetings and encourage project leaders to use their Stop Work Authority when they witness an unsafe condition.

At our plants

We have solved staffing, compliance, and operational challenges through full contract operations at municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment plants, public works departments, and private groundwater treatment systems across the country. We currently operate over 45 plants and encourage the same culture of safety and continuous improvement as we do in our offices and for our clients. 

We recently won the WEF George W. Burke, Jr. Award for the wastewater facility we operate in Plymouth, MA due to our emphasis on continual improvement. Each member of the facility’s three-person staff is on the safety team and is encouraged to provide feedback when they notice unsafe conditions and come up with suggestions for improvements. The safety program is implemented as part of an overall continuous improvement program to provide high quality services, and it is strongly encouraged and supported financially by the owner. 

By encouraging our employees to lead by example and be an advocate for safety, we make sure that we keep improving our culture of safety as we continue to expand into new offices, geographies, and projects.
 

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Director
Health & Safety

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