SC&RA NEWS: Win, win: Recognition and safety
03 December 2018
Annual SC&RA awards are often viewed by recipient companies as a high mark of validation for achieving a milestone level of success on a project that combined precision, perseverance, execution, safety and much more.
All of the awards are recognized and presented at the Annual Conference each April, except for the Crane & Rigging Project Safety and Crane Rental Service Awards, which are given each month. Annual awards are presented within four categories: Crane & Rigging, Transportation, Industry and Longevity.
A prestigious merger of personal accomplishment and industry recognition, SC&RA award winners are able to utilize an award to shine a deserving light on the strength of company culture and overall operational efficacy – especially as it relates to safety.
But does an SC&RA award literally grow your business?
“First off, if you have a poor safety record, it’s only a matter of time before you’re unable to bid work – eventually finding yourself out of business,” explained Chris Vlk, President at Dobson Industrial, Inc. “On the other hand, having an exceptional safety record could be the deciding factor in the decision process of the customer when deciding on which contractor to hire. It enhances your reputation in the industry and helps to attract higher-caliber workers.”
Vlk sees the safety equation as fairly black and white. “I don’t know how much money we’ve made from receiving these safety awards, but I do know that if you have a poor safety record, it’s only a matter of time before you’re not making any money at all.”
As far as safety benefitting the bottom line, Vlk acknowledged that if he was giving a presentation on the subject, he’d want to touch on some key points that affect the books: “I would definitely touch on workers compensation premiums, the ability to bid new work, employee culture, insurance premiums in general, job performance/repeat business and industry reputation.”
SC&RA member company Precision Heavy Haul knows a little something about reputation – and how a sustained culture can reap numerous benefits. “A good safety culture at a business provides a better work environment, higher employee satisfaction, attracts customers, allows for a healthier reputation, lowers insurance premiums, prevents high claim costs and promotes positive work ethic,” noted Tiffany Myhre, Operations and Safety Manager at Precision.
Precision recently picked up SC&RA Fleet Safety and Zero Accident Awards. Myhre indicated that such awards allow the company to prove that hard work and safety pay off in the long run.
“Employees feel safe; they work for a company that wants them to be able to go home to their family at the end of the day,” she said. “Customers want to work with a safe company, because they want the job done correctly and efficiently. Accidents are also costly; lawsuits and lost time are only going to hurt a business. Safety awards demonstrate a knowledgeable company that cares about their employees and the public.”
The right fit
Jeff Hammons, President at JHam Group Consulting, LLC, sees a direct connection between a company’s safety record, culture and awards and opportunities to grow financially.
“A safety record absolutely impacts your ability to win business, to sustain it and to attract new business,” he emphasized. “Relatedly, safety awards do validate the programs that the organizations say they have in place, and the resulting culture. It’s usually a pretty good barometer – a quality record and awards – as to who you’re dealing with.”
Hammons believes that everything starts with the workforce, and grows out from there. “The driving reason we in this industry build cultures that sustain world-class performance is – number one – the value of our employees,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter what you have in assets – none of that works without people. Successful companies in this industry ‘get’ how to provide the environment for injury prevention, provide the tools to do the job safely. You take those two things – and I’ll argue this with anybody – you’re going to create greater revenue, make your business stronger, win more business, sustain that business and as a result, drive your bottom line.”
Stronger profit margin
Ultimately, Hammons has seen how companies in construction and transport that “get” the safety culture and workforce value concept inevitably sustain a stronger profit margin than the folks that don’t. “Because when those profit margins shrink, there’s less room to overcome certain failures,” he added. “Be they incident or injury, mechanical, equipment shutdown or whatever it may be, I strongly believe that when you have this culture – and you protect people – you are going to be a stronger organization through the fat years as well as the lean ones.
“The side effect is a greater morale – happier, more engaged, people that believe in their company. It comes down to four words for me: safe execution [of] professional service. Not easy to do, but those four words provide the greatest opportunity for success now and into the future.”
Mitch Unger, President at Miller Transfer – who also recently received an SC&RA Transportation Award (as well as Driver of the Year [Mike Nichols] in 2016) – echoes Hammons.
“Folks that are really looking for a career, they want to find a solid place, and safety is an enormous component of that equation,” he assured. “If you want to go into trucking, you’re not going to look for someone who has bad CSA scores, or bad press – which usually speaks to mentality, culture, execution. People are looking for a place to spend most of their day, essentially, and they want to be a part of a place that is not only doing the right thing, but growing and expanding as a result. And with the type of worker we’re trying to attract, we want them to do that due diligence … to spend that time making sure it’s the right fit.”
Set yourself apart
Joe Doerr, Program Manager at NBIS, uniquely understands this topic from the insurance side. “Being able to set yourself apart from your competition is invaluable,” he said. “When the underwriter is looking at assessing risk, everyone is equal until you prove to the underwriter – documentations, awards, your safety profile – that you stand out above the rest.”
Doerr underscores today’s media/information environment as yet another reason to instill a robust safety culture within an organization. “Both bad and good news, and the resulting PR, travels fast these days – you sure don’t want to become the organization that’s known for its poor safety profile, violations, OSHA issues. Loss ratio also plays a major part in it, and those companies can’t effectively sell their services to someone that doesn’t know them.
“On the flip side, being able to present your company in a higher regard than your competition will likely have an impact in your favor … as well as your rating with an underwriter.”
According to Doerr, companies are regularly looking around for the best rates, but they should also realize that they need to sell themselves as well. “Insurance companies want to know that you’re low-risk,” he confirmed.
“To that end, it’s certainly worth taking the time to submit a job for a potential safety award because, as my colleague Bill Smith says, it gives you one more bullet in your gun. Recent awards go a long way towards understanding who you are from the insurance side, and whether or not this partnership is worth the risk. The more documentation you have that speaks to your safety culture – the greater the potential for a quality partnership.”
Submissions for the 2019 SC&RA Awards Program run from December 14, 2018 – March 5, 2019. Submissions are only accepted online. For information on applications and entry guidelines (and all forms), visit www.scranet.org/awards.