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Create a Safety Culture

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Marek Dallas Division President John Hinson wrote the following President’s Message for AWCI's Construction Dimension magazine. Hinson is the 2015-2016 President of AWCI.

I am honored to serve our industry for the next 12 months as president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry. I have worked in the wall and ceiling industry for 31 years and owe my success to my teammates who helped me perform to the best of my abilities. I am talking specifically about the craftsmen in the field who are making it happen every day. Without them I would not be in the role I am in today. In fact, not many of us would be in our current roles, right? We would not be successful, and we would not be in this business. We owe them our gratitude. Let me say that again, but louder: We owe them our gratitude.

So I ask: "Are your employees your greatest asset? Do you create a safe work environment for them? Do you provide them with financial security in the event of an accident? Do you provide an avenue to develop their career? Do you contribute to retirement goals? Do you contribute to their healthcare? Do you recognize their contribution to your success?” Simply speaking, "Do you care about your people?” I do. So my first message in AWCI’s Construction Dimensions is about safety—as it should be.

Do you create a safe work environment? I do not mean abiding by a general contractor’s jobsite conditions or a GC’s safety criteria or even a trade contractor’s safety policy. I am talking about creating a culture from the top of your organization to the bottom where all of your employees make a strong commitment to learn safe work habits. And even more importantly, the attitude of your employees affects everyone around them to the extent that an unsafe person or act is viewed as a disgrace.

A safe work environment is a characteristic where every employee is taught safe practices and strives to the best of their ability to avoid an exposure, because they understand a mistake could be the end of their career, someone else’s or even worse. A signature on a document does not make a person safe. A successful graduate says, "I am responsible for my own safety. I work safely. I recognize risks and hazards associated with my task. I remedy unsafe conditions. I react to unsafe acts.”

My job is to implement this culture because I am their employer. What is your safety culture?

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