Companies that put more emphasis on production and the bottom line will still lose revenue because of employee safety incidents.
Having someone on board who’s passionate about EHS pays its own dividends.
A combat vet and former Air Force firefighter, Todd has over a decade of industry experience and a highly-trained eye for risk assessment. His insights are spot-on.
- Establishing top-down safety procedures that actually get followed
- Building internal relationships and trust to encourage compliance
- Whether safety reward programs really work
- Administratively crippling your workforce with overly detailed SOPs
- Passing the torch
Let’s dive deeper with this episode’s expert and entertaining guest.
“Companies need to take a step back and actually look at those things. I think they would actually realize that safety is a big thing if that’s where they’re losing their money, obviously.”— Todd Waldron
From the top down
Todd has always had a drive to protect others, and spot hazards before something dreadful happens. He started out as a volunteer firefighter at just 16 years old, then joined the Air Force, serving in combat situations and honing his many skills.
Being a first responder means you react as quickly as possible to help the injured and bring things back to normal. As a safety officer, Todd is laser-focused on taking a more proactive approach these days.
He knows exactly how industrial safety affects the bottom line. That’s inescapable.
It can be difficult to convince the C-suite that investments in worker health will pay big dividends in the long run. Safety incidents mean downtime, and injured employees mean a drop in production.
But it’s crucial to address EHS from the top down — a successful strategy gets buy-in from the CEO down to the newest member of the mailroom. Less workplace accidents equal more revenue.
“I always tell them, I want quality over quantity. I want to know, ‘hey, I stopped a dude from frickin getting crushed by a forklift yesterday.’ To me, that’s quality.”— Todd Waldron
Encouraging organic compliance
Another key facet of being an EHS leader is forming and maintaining good cross-department relationships.
Tackling these challenges collaboratively makes you seem like less of a “safety cop” killjoy, and more like what you are — a skilled professional who wants to make sure everyone gets home safely at the end of every shift.
Allies in the field can help you pinpoint weaknesses much faster and take corrective measures before an accident happens.
Some of Todd’s words of wisdom here: stay humble in your knowledge, ask questions freely. And emphasize quality over quantity.
“No matter if it’s a retired person or somebody that got promoted to a different company, or any of those kinds of things. Keep those relationships open, not just within the environmental health and safety industry side of things, but as a company as a whole, because there’s a lot of valuable information there.”— Todd Waldron
Keep it simple
One of the easiest ways to cut through BS and develop a health and safety plan embraced company-wide is by utilizing generational knowledge.
While the world is changing rapidly, common sense isn’t. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just adjust the operating procedure. Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge imparted by the people with years of field experience, Todd advises.
But don’t let some entrenched “good ol’ boy” system keep you from meeting your goals of an incident-free workplace.
When it comes to establishing SOPs, there are two main ways to train — computer-based training and behavior-based safety.
Learning in a virtual environment is a great way to prepare workers for the challenges of the field, but nothing beats hands-on experience, reinforced by the EHS compliance of the entire organization.
“It goes back to that 86,400 — you take one of those seconds and you make the wrong decision against the policy/ procedure/ process, and guess what, you come out fingerless, or you gotta be taken to the hospital.”— Todd Waldron
There are 86,400 seconds every day. It’s one of Todd’s mantras. It only takes one second to lose your focus, create an unsafe environment, or have an accident.
Todd’s an exemplary EHS leader with truly formidable experience, and he’s dedicated to making sure his people are safe and able to enjoy their full allotment of seconds.
For more insights into this legendary safety pro and his secrets of success, check out the full episode.