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SafetyWatch: Front of mind, all the time

November 10, 2020 -  By
DJFLC has made COVID-19 the topic of several of its safety meetings. (Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting)

DJFLC has made COVID-19 the topic of several of its safety meetings. (Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting)

1,894 days — that’s how long David J. Frank Landscape Contracting (DJFLC) in Germantown, Wis., has gone without a safety incident (as of press time).

DJFLC ranked at No. 92 on the 2020 LM150 list with $25.8 million in 2019 revenue and achieved a 2020 Silver Overall Safety Achievement Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Donna Landon, teaching and resources officer, and David R. Frank, CEO, share how DJFLC has built a safety culture.

1. Empower team members to follow safety protocols.

“Whether you’ve been here one day or 41 years, like our most senior team member has, everyone is at the same level with safety,” Frank says. “Everyone has the authority to say, ‘Hey, stop, this doesn’t look safe.’”

2. Incorporate year-round safety trainings.

About 15 to 20 supervisors and managers attend the company’s monthly safety meetings, along with the company’s insurance agent. Supervisors then relay information on training, near misses and more to their teams.

3. Be prepared to pivot.

“We had to take over the weekly safety talks numerous times to implement COVID-19 safety practices,” Frank says.

4. Lead by example.

“If we think safety is for someone else, and it’s not woven into the company, people aren’t going to feel like they should be reporting (safety hazards),” Landon says. “To encourage reporting, build trust with employees so they’re not discouraged or feel like they’ll be penalized. ”

5. Note that safety is ongoing.

“It’s not just one day a week or only at the safety talk,” Landon says. “It’s every day, and it’s not going away. It needs to be front of mind all the time.”

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Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor. She can be reached at swebb@northcoastmedia.net.

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