View Full Version : Safety Training

11-10-2011, 12:07 PM
Changing gears from the standard "which mower is better thread" lol...

Do any of you guys (especially folks that run multiple crews) have standard safety training programs? We are making a new safety program for next year and I'm just fishing for ideas to make it even better. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Post your ideas, successes, and failures here. Safety in the industry is something that is often overlooked but is so important.

11-10-2011, 04:11 PM
We do OSHA 10 when an employee is hired. By the end of the first year, all employees will have had OSHA 30. After two years, we do confined space entry for all employees with the expectation they might be heading into site work. All of our supervisors are trainers for OSHA 10, and three are trainers for OHSA 30 and Trench Safety.

We bring in a trainer annually to refresh the classes, and send the employees to OSHA at Keene State for training so our bad habits don't influence the training. We have also done the Utility + Construction outreach program with our operators, laborers and electricians.

Within the first 90 days, all employees all get CPR class. Years ago I almost watched an employee die of a heart attack because no one near him knew CPR. I never felt so helpless riding down the basket on the crane. Each and every truck we own has an AED in it, and at least one employee who knows how to use it. We also do first aid training every three years.

We do HAZWOPR training for all of our dirt and construction people. If it seems like one of the maintenance guys is ready to make the leap over to construction, we'll send him as well. We've also done OSHA 7600 DSW training but that was more for the possibility one of our industrial tenants could be at the center of a bag of crap.

Every morning, we do a toolbox meeting before everyone hits the road. If there are any issues from either the previous day that were not addressed or new issues with the current day we go over them. It's boring, but we do it every morning with everyone in the shop.

We run zero tolerance for safety issues. If an employee is caught on a mower without hearing protection and safety glasses, they're going home for the day, after three strikes, you're going back to the hall. For the most part, new employees get on board with how we work. Those that can't accept how we work don't last a week. This past week I rolled up on a rare subcontracted job and could instantly tell my guys from the state guys and utility guys. Hardhats, cones, high voltage detectors, hi-vis jackets and safety glasses; my guys looked prepared, the state and utility guys looked like they rolled out of bed 10 minutes before.

I can document when each and every employee went to training and have copies of their completions. I've invested in each of these employees and my program has saved me in insurance premiums and we haven't had a chargeable accident due to workplace safety. Biggest savings: BackStop on all my air brake box trucks. Not one backing accident ever.

When we started doing more maintenance work and the number of maintenance guys exceeded the construction guys we really didn't change the requirements. Everyone has the same opportunity to take all the classes, we just require some at certain points. My mom who answers the phones and pays the bills, and our CFO are OSHA 10, CPR and First Aid trained and they've never been on a machine of any kind. I'm damn proud of our program and my employees. I'd hazard a guess the average employee has 60 hours a year of classes of various kinds.

11-10-2011, 07:19 PM
I like the mandatory first aid and CPR training. I didn't even think about that. How do you go about getting people "OSHA 10" certified?

Anyone else with other ideas... sound off!

11-11-2011, 12:24 PM

You can search to find local training from OSHA on the lower right hand side. It's a good program, and though some of the training is common sense, other parts really are eye opening.

11-14-2011, 02:34 PM
thunderthud provided you with alot of information and I would guess that all of that could overwhelm many smaller guys who cant financially invest that much into their safety program. His program is something to strive for.

On a smaller scale I consider my program as being very well and proactive at preventing injuries and damage to property and equipment. Every week we do a safety meeting where we discuss anything new and any issues we might have had. I was able to get plenty of information for safety training from both my insurance companies and OSHA. My insurance agent got me plenty of training material from The Hartford (my GL carrier) and Commerce (my comm auto carrier). I was also able to get some great discounts for this. After each training session I have each participating employee sign a sheet and a copy goes to my insurance agent. I contacted the local OSHA office and they sent somebody out to meet with us and go over potential safety issues we might be overlooking. This was good as it was a now risk OSHA inspection, the inspector was their only as a preventative measure, had they found a major violation they would not fine us. Osha also provided us with a lot of industry specific training material everything from skid steer safety down to climbing a ladder or even using a 18v drill.

My insurance also provides discounts for adding backup alarms to my vehicles and backup cameras. I even went as far as adding a backup cam to my skid steer.

11-14-2011, 03:53 PM
I like the ideas of the osha 10 and 30 etc. Another good program to look into is www.landscapesaftey.com. Its an online based trainning program specifically designed for the landscape industy. You watch a video on a piece of equipment, then you take an online test, and then to become safe certified on that piece of equipment you have to perform a field test for your supervisor. I took it and its a really great program. It more or less just goes over the basics of the equipment, and standard daily maintenance procedures but its really good. Plus, yearly you can review it with employees and keep them up to date. I know right now they have a deal where you can sign up 3 employees for $200.00 and that includes everything. They have almost all of the pieces of equipment that are used in the green industry, they are still adding a few in here and there, but the main ones are there. If you are properly set up for it, or you figure out a way to do so (ie have the guys do everything from home) you can have all the online training and testing done in about 10 hours for both a maintenance crew or a construction crew. Then figure you spend some time to osha 10/30 cpr etc and break them up and have the supervisors do field tests with about 5-10 guys at a time, they can easily get the LS training done in about 2-3 days.

Plus the modules are offered both in english and spanish. First year on it things will be slower, but after that with returning employees you can just do the field test and then the new employees take the full tests.

And yes the great thing about doing safety certs is that you do protect your employees and put safety in their minds, but you do get to get insurance discounts.

something I also do is with the crews is every week I grab a module from the LS training or from osha and just have a quick 10 minute meeting with them on monday mornings, and just highlight everything from it.

11-15-2011, 01:45 AM
All very good ideas. I like the landscapesafety.com idea especially. Any others?

11-15-2011, 01:56 AM
after looking at landscapesafety.com, I think that it is a great money making scheme for the creator, but is completely unnecessary. I'm looking for more ideas of what employers are doing in-house to train employees. Thunderthud has great responses that are easily doable and pretty comprehensive. Does anyone else have a system that they currently use to train larger numbers of employees?

@GreenIndustryAssociates I'll have to check with our insurance agent, I'm sure he can cook up some materials for us. Thanks for tipping me off to that resource. I'm honestly surprised he hasn't brought up things like that already. You'd think it would be in his best interest.

I know factory reps will give instruction to employees too on safe/proper use of equipment. That might be something for others to consider adding to their training programs.

11-15-2011, 01:34 PM
If your agent says their is nothing available for discounts or materials contact your insurance carrier directly. My agent told me that almost all cariers have preventative training materials but alot of agents are unawhere of them. Carriers would much rather give you a few % off your policy if it can potentially save them $$ in the long run from paying out claims

11-20-2011, 12:35 AM
I dont see how it is completely unnecessary. It may be a little pricey yes, but there are great benefits to using it. Every employee that you hire goes through the same training process for every single piece of equipment. Most companies I see do the "big stuff" (ZTR, Skid loader, etc,) well proper trimmer, blower, truck and trailer training is all important. And by using it, it puts a reminder in the back of the employees mind. Secondly, it saves employers insane amounts of time. I put together a safety program for my company over the winter, and it took me close to 150-200 hours to put together a similar program to that of landscape safety, then I have to take the time and discuss the material with every employee. It took me 1 day to talk to the landscape safety people, sign up, and go through some of the moduels. Plus, everything is stored online with the company as well as a hard copy for you, they keep records of every person you test.

When I was talking to the rep from there, she was telling me about a golf course that began using the program and they saved something like $10-15k when they switched over to using the online training offered.

Yes it seems very simple, but I have learned that the more simple you keep your training with employees the better you will be. I would venture to say that most of the employees for landscape companies either a just barely graduated high school or b didnt even finish high school (now that doesnt mean that everyone hasnt but probably close to 60-75%) so they arent going to understand all the complex safety programs that companies throw at them. Your just wasting your time and money on it.

For a safety program I believe that all employees should go through the landscape safety training, basic first aid/cpr. Foreman should also go through OSHA 10 training, and supervisors go through OSHA 30. And just continue everyweek to have a brief safety meeting. It wont even take 10-15 minutes per week to do a meeting every monday morning. If you want your crews on the road by 630 and they are in by 615, one day of the week they can come in at 6am, and still be out on time. It very simple.

Total Lawn and Sprinkler
11-21-2011, 12:49 PM
I really appreciate a thread dedicated to safety and safety procedures. I have learned from others some great safety measures to implement. As we all know it's not just about protecting ourselves' from liability it is about protecting the health of our entire crew. Currently we have safety overviews as well as safety papers for new hires. Many great ideas listed hear will make it into our routine.