As many of you have seen in the news, a team of utility arborists from Sault Ste Marie is in Florida to help with the power restoration efforts. Yes, that's us! And we're working alongside not only the utility linemen but also many fellow contractors including our Lewis Tree Company family members. It's been a wonderful and rewarding time to serve others even if it means working in hazardous conditions many hours a day (today: blistering heat) and being away from our families for days and/or weeks at a time. We're grateful for the opportunity.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the two-day Global Leadership Summit. One of the speakers was Laszlo Bock who served as Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations and authored the New York Times best-selling book, Work Rules!
We’ve just closed out the third quarter and have some amazing things to be proud of. We’ve seen our market share growing in key accounts because our customers understand that, with us, they get a partner they can count on. And we’ve grown while maintaining an industry-leading safety record. For all of this, we should be proud. And we should celebrate that. But we all know that we are just starting on our journey. There’s an excellent quote from the legendary Paul William “Bear” Bryant, longtime head coach of the University of Alabama football team, that addresses this journey:
So often in business we talk about the numbers. We get daily, weekly and monthly reports that measure crew productivity, safety statistics and profitability. All of these are important. But sometimes it’s important to keep perspective. I am reminded of a quote from Warren Buffett. Shortly after his insurance company, General Re, had taken a severe hit because of the 9/11 attacks, Buffett introduced what he calls the Noah Rule.
At Wilderness Environmental Services in Canada, we’ve gone nine years without a single lost-time injury. Not one. We don’t compare ourselves to industry norms and celebrate; instead, we hold ourselves to the highest possible standard and never waver.
I spent three hours in the car in North Carolina and Florida during a recent weekend and witnessed eight near misses on the road. The reality of driving today? It’s a safety risk. For anyone, individual or corporation, the level of risk equals the frequency of near misses multiplied by the severity of the potential outcomes.
During a webinar that Clearion hosted with Esri last February, Chris Kelly commented on how much we use data in our lives today to gain a better understanding of our environment and make better decisions. Specifically, he pointed to the Fitbit and asked the audience, “How many of you would be willing to count your steps every day?” No one, right? It would be impossible to do for one day not to mention every day. But here we are in a world where millions of people are wearing devices, or carrying apps on their smartphones, that track exercise, monitor sleep patterns, capture food intake and more. And we use that data to be more diligent and better our lives.
A 2008 Canadian workplace study by Lewko, Runyan, Tremblay, Staley and Volpe reported that there were 42,000 accidents in 2007 involving young workers, including numerous fatalities. In the service industry, for workers aged 15–24, more than half reported sustaining a workplace injury in their first year, with 28% reporting more than one. Those statistics show that we need to focus on new workers and here are some suggestions:
In May of 2016, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services posted an article on how ClubLink tried to keep their new and young workers safe. ClubLink is a golf business that owns and operates 54 18-hole golf courses in Ontario, Quebec and Florida. And, as you can imagine, they hire a lot of new and seasonal workers.
For those of us who have enjoyed the unseasonably warm temperatures over the past couple weeks, it has felt like spring is upon us. While we may be a few weeks or months early, it does bring to mind the numerous things we have to do when spring does arrive. Spring for Wilderness involves the start of our herbicide season and the scaling up for most of our operations. Spring also means that we, like a lot of you, have to hire some new staff. With new staff comes the challenge of ensuring that everyone is oriented, trained and properly supervised. Because if we don’t, we know the downside: