Safety Watch: How one company raises the bar for safety

January 2, 2023 -  By
California-based K&D Landscaping uses its quarterly planning session as a way to ensure its employees are properly trained. (Photo: K&D Landscaping)

California-based K&D Landscaping uses its quarterly planning session as a way to ensure its employees are properly trained. (Photo: K&D Landscaping)

Sometimes mandatory safety training can feel like just going through the motions, says Justin White, CEO of K&D Landscaping in Santa Cruz, Calif.

As part of his company’s efforts to change that sentiment, White and his team give employees interactive training at an event he calls Raise the Bar.

“Sometimes it feels like you’re just going through the training so you can check the boxes and say, ‘This person is certified,’” he says. “(Raise the Bar) was nice because it felt like there was a purpose behind the training, not just training to say that we did it.”

K&D split its 110 employees into groups of 10 and sent them through six safety stations. One involved answering questions like, “What are the first things you should do if you get into a car accident?”

Others included:

  • Saw safety;
  • Best practices for operating trucks and trailers;
  • String trimmer safety;
  • Proper lifting; and
  • Staying safe during chemical applications.

The stations with live demonstrations were a hit with employees who found it amusing to see their managers or office employees perform, White says. He notes his team received positive feedback from the event, which allowed for discussion after each station.

“It was cool to double down on some of these standard operating procedures that we’ve had in place, and we don’t talk about enough,” he says.

Quarterly planning

The other portion of K&D’s event is a quarterly planning session, which White says was the original intent of the event.

“Coming together every three months to talk strategically about the vision and the direction of the company is something we’ve got tremendous value out of,” he says.

This article is tagged with and posted in Featured, From the Magazine, SafetyWatch
Rob DiFranco

About the Author:

Rob DiFranco is Landscape Management's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Landscape Management, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio.

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