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Building a Safety Culture from the Top Down

In honor of National Safety Month, APTIM Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) teammates share their perspective on APTIM’s leading safety culture with blog posts throughout June.

Justin Hinks is the HSE Director of APTIM’s Canadian operations. He has a Professional Gold Seal Certified (P.GSC) credential and a National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO).THIS WEEK’S CONTRIBUTOR:
Justin Hinks, NCSO, P.GSC | HSE Director of Canadian Operations
APTIM | Construction, Operations & Maintenance
Justin Hinks is the HSE Director of APTIM’s Canadian operations. He has a Professional Gold Seal Certified (P.GSC) credential and a National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO).


Building a Safety Culture from the Top Down

At APTIM, building a positive safety culture means constantly communicating with our workforce to identify the issues and concerns that they encounter daily. We foster an environment of caring from the top down to learn, understand, and address safety on our work sites.

Engaging Management in Safety

Our management teams lead by example. Regular project site visits foster a culture of caring by being present and in tune with our operations on the ground. Management attends safety meetings, field tours, audits, assessments, and project celebrations when warranted. APTIM also has an Incident Review Board process through which serious incidents are reviewed with management to learn how we can prevent these incidents in the future. It is a process of fact finding—not fault finding— with a goal of better understanding the incident, why it happened, and what can we do as a company to prevent it in the future.

Accounting for Human Error Potential

APTIM has also adopted the Human Organizational Performance (HOP) mentality. We plan our jobs for perfection, understanding all the job hazards before we start; however, human error is something we cannot plan out of our work and is prevalent in all our operations. With HOP, we better understand human error and plan our work activities around human error potential by incorporating fail safes into each work activity.

Aligning Teammates on Safety

APTIM places a tremendous focus on the safety culture of our projects. We create an environment of caring and engage all teammates on all aspects of each project. However, maintaining this positive safety culture with a transient work force can be challenging. For example, we must align our contracted teammates with our safety standards only for the project to be completed and a new one to begin with another external group who may require the same level of attention and safety training. While this cycle may require precious time and resources, it is necessary to ensure everyone on our work sites is aligned on, aware of, and accountable for APTIM’s high standard of safety.

Rewarding Safety Excellence

We have developed an APTIM program called “Safety Champion of the Week” to build on our safety culture by identifying field teammates who go above and beyond for safety. This program is unique because these Safety Champions are nominated by their peers. Teammates nominate their colleagues for expressing or showing a safety conscious attitude in the field. The safety department reviews the nomination forms, and then the Safety Champions are recognized in front of their peers at the weekly safety meeting and given a token of our appreciation for working safely. Since its inception, we have noticed a steady increase in our safety culture.

Promoting Our Safety Culture

We have developed many programs within APTIM to improve our Safety Management System, but if we do not have the engagement and support from every teammate, those programs will not be successful. The implementation of these culture-building programs and practices have increased the participation of teammates in initiatives such as Near Miss and Great Catches reporting in the field. These initiatives help us remove hazards and provide a safe, secure working environment that our team, partners, and clients can be proud of at the end of every workday.

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