Editorial Advisory Board: May 2019

Landscape professionals and industry consultants answer the question: How do you address distracted driving or other safety issues among employees?
Editorial Advisory Board graphic (Graphic: Landscape Management)
Graphic: LM staff

How do you address distracted driving or other safety issues among employees?

Landscape Professionals

Richard Bare
Arbor-Nomics Turf
Norcross, Ga.

“We have weekly training meetings and we drive home driving safely and defensively every meeting.”

Troy Clogg
Troy Clogg Landscape Associates
Wixom, Mich.

“Safety issues are best dealt with before they occur. What do I mean? I mean training, education, sharing — rinse and repeat. Train your managers to care and be concerned about safety and caring for others more than they do themselves. Teach and educate your team on the insurance savings realized when they are accident free. Spend your money on training and teaching, not on high insurance and rogue ‘super star’ employees that cause more damage than others, all under the guise of ‘I’m the best, hardest working guy or gal here.’ Provide phone brackets for your vehicles and require them to be used. Install cameras/tracking devices in your vehicles with camera facing out and a camera facing in at the driver. Not only will you have video, but you will also have data on driving habits, like hard acceleration, speeding, excessive idling and hard braking. This is valuable information to have when monitoring your team’s behavior. You need to have the same devices in your own company vehicle. You must lead by example if you expect the utmost respect from your team. In the end, I could share great driver stories and terrible driver stories and just like anything — if you can measure it, you can manage it! So, measure and manage.”

Paul Fraynd
Sun Valley Landscaping
Omaha, Neb.

“We use regular, weekly safety meetings and discuss various safety topics throughout the year. The key is trying to build a culture of safety. We have started with an employee-run safety committee and more of a focus on training time. It’s an investment that always seems to pay off.”

Jerry McKay
McKay Landscape Lighting
Omaha, Neb.

“We’ve hired a safety consultant to address all aspects of safety for our company.”

Bryan Stolz
Winterberry Landscape & Garden Center
Southington, Conn.

“We have a written a distracted driver policy that all employees sign when they come on board. This clearly spells out our belief in team member safety above all else, and that there is zero excuse for having your phone out when driving. Additionally, we have Bluetooth in all our trucks, so there is no excuse for talking or texting while driving. We reiterate this and other safety concerns at weekly and monthly ‘toolbox talks’ led by each department manager, and all company-wide meetings and events include safety training. We believe repetition is the best way to show our people that we are serious about safety. Another way we drive a safe culture is by practicing what we preach. Just this month, we walked away from a six-figure contract because the general contractor was not able or willing to create safe conditions. When our site leader reported this back to us, we had a meeting with the GC, but when conditions did not improve, we elected to not move forward and put our team members at risk.”

Industry Consultants

Marty Grunder
The Grow Group
Dayton, Ohio

“Safety is part of our core value quality. We constantly talk about distracted driving and safety and we have zero tolerance for violations of safety. If it’s seen, it’s dealt with harshly. You will be terminated if you don’t support our core values, that is understood not only in what we say, it’s communicated in what we do.”

Phil Harwood
Grow the Bench
Grand Rapids, Mich.

“Education and process improvements will change driving behavior more effectively than discipline or external controls.”

Kevin Kehoe
3PG Consulting
Laguna, Calif.

“Use GPS solutions to track and report driver performance and training, as well as a navigator in the vehicle to assist.”

Jeffrey Scott
Jeffrey Scott Consulting
Trumbull, Conn.

“Proactive, black and white policy. Don’t mess around!”

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