Diana Arnold has Rapid City in her rearview mirror as she reflects on the month ahead.
Safety Focus In All Markets
It’s fitting as she’s just spent several days with the growing Lloyd Companies team in western South Dakota, making sure they see, hear and feel the same message she continually delivers companywide.
“We want to get down there and let them know safety is important,” said Diana Arnold, who serves as Lloyd’s Safety Director. “So I spend a couple of days. It’s not just in and out and do an inspection.”
She takes the team out to lunch, tries to make it fun and weaves in the reason for her visit along the way.
“I let them know we’re there for them,” she said. “And we had a blast. They’re doing really well. I’m really proud of that team.”
National Safety Month
Actually, Arnold is proud of the entire Lloyd team, and June is the perfect month to let them know it. It’s National Safety Month, designated by the National Safety Council, and Lloyd’s safety team plans to mark it with a mix of celebration and education.
“We always have a big picnic to thank our team for focusing on safety, and this year we’ve grown so big we’re holding two picnics,” Arnold said. “Our friends at Novak Sanitary sponsor it for us and literally cookout on a garbage truck they’ve made into a big fancy grill, and our team can win prizes and it’s a very popular thing to attend.”
Property Management Safety
There’s also a lot to celebrate. Recently, Lloyd’s safety team has started an effective “near miss” program that has saved lives. If the property maintenance team sees a potential hazard and reports it, that “near miss” counts toward a team goal.
“Let’s say you’re walking into an apartment property and you see a mat that has slid a little, maybe it’s halfway on a step. If they didn’t fix that and report it, the next person who walked in might not have noticed it and could have gotten hurt on it,” Arnold said. “And it might sound small, but if we get five or six of those reports we realize we might need to replace our mats because they’re sliding too much.”
Research shows identifying near-misses “actually saves lives,” she continued. “So it’s a big thing.”
The team set a goal of reporting 60 near misses this year – up from 40 last year.
“They even went above and beyond what management suggested as a goal, so I’m really proud of them,” Arnold said. “We have had some identified that were outstanding and really could have saved lives.”
The program now is expanded to subcontractors on Lloyd Construction sites.
“If they turn in a near miss, we’ll review and see if there’s anything we’re missing and then put their name in for a monthly gift card drawing,” Arnold said. “It’s been a big hit. We regularly invite the safety teams from our subcontractors to meet with us and come up with solutions and ways we can work together as a cohesive unit so we’re all one big team.”
New this year, Lloyd also is focusing more on heat exhaustion, which “has become a big new crisis on job sites,” Arnold said. “We’re going to be educating more on that this year.”
And, critically, Lloyd is honing in on mental health.
In 2020, the CDC found that men working in construction have one of the highest suicide rates compared to other industries. Their suicide rate is about four times higher than the general population.
“That was a profound awaking for people to learn, so we’re focusing on bringing in speakers that let our team know it’s OK to ask for help and we are spending more time teaching our employees and trade partners the warning signs of suicide,” Arnold said. “It’s a potential killer that you don’t often think about in construction and it’s just as key to our goal of making sure employees come and go safely from work every day.”
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