As the President of Wilderness Environmental, the top leaders of this company and I had the pleasure of attending the Lewis annual leadership conference last week where we heard powerful messages on safety, leadership engagement and Brand Harmony.
As an employee for a successful vegetation management company, I feel proud, I feel privileged, and I feel luckier than most. I also feel safe, I feel safe because safety is not only the top priority at Wilderness Environmental Services, it the only way we operate. If we can’t find a safe way to do the work we simply won’t do it. Here at Wilderness there are no excuses to put a worker at risk.
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: