June is National Safety Month, a valuable time to evaluate safety programs in the workplace and to recognize all of those who support safety and health in our companies.
Organized by the National Safety Council, National Safety Month will focus on four key themes this year: Mental Health, Ergonomics, Building a Safety Culture, and Driving. At Draper Aden, we believe in creating a safe and healthy work environment for our teams, clients, and the communities we serve.
Our leadership team reinforced this commitment when they added Guy Butts to our firm as the first Corporate Health and Safety Director. Who better to discuss health and safety than Guy?
We spoke with Guy recently about his career and the importance of health and safety programs. The following Q&A is based on that conversation and edited for length and clarity.
Draper Aden Associates: Tell us about your background and role at the firm.
Guy Butts: I joined Draper Aden Associates as the company’s first Corporate Health and Safety Director in May 2016. The firm had an investment and commitment to safety culture. My role was to enhance health and safety programs, implement those programs, and maintain a strong safety culture throughout Draper Aden. I work to ensure that all team members, including those in the office and the field, have a safe and healthy work environment that is free from recognized hazards likely to cause injury or illness. Safety applies to everyone, no matter their title or specific role.
You could say safety is in my blood. My grandfather, uncle, and dad all worked in construction as pipefitters, and I was exposed to the construction sector early in life. In fact, I worked as a pipe fitter during summers in college as I worked to get my degree in construction management from Michigan State University. My first real job was in construction. Safety and construction is what I’ve done for over 40 years; it’s my entire career.
Before joining Draper Aden, I served as a senior risk manager for an insurance carrier. My experience and background give me a lot of perspectives, including safety risks in the field, construction risks, and health and safety issues from an insurance risk perspective.
DAA: How does the firm implement its safety program?
GB: It starts from the first day a new employee joins Draper Aden. The first step for every new employee is a two-hour health and safety orientation meeting that I conduct. This meeting happens on their first day because safety is that important to the company. We discuss risks as well as the processes and procedures that Draper Aden has in place to mitigate those risks and avoid getting hurt. Everyone receives a copy of our health and safety program. This program is also available on the company’s intranet. Everyone knows how to access it, and the program is consistently updated as rules and regulations evolve.
For a new employee working in the field, I issue personal protective equipment (PPE) and a custom Draper Aden PPE bag. I also show them how to put it on, wear it, and take care of it. Additionally, whenever two or more Draper Aden team members are together in a meeting, we have a rule that the conversation has to start with a safety topic. It’s part of our culture to always talk about safety first.
At Draper Aden, we believe that every employee is a safety officer for themselves and their coworkers.
DAA: What have been some recent safety highlights?
GB: I’m proud to say that in the past few years, as the firm has grown and continued working on complex projects, our health and safety program has grown too. Awareness of the importance of safety has increased, and our safety culture has really flourished. Draper Aden has been able to pursue more clients and projects because of our health and safety efforts.
Notably, Draper Aden has had several consecutive years without an OSHA Recordable Incident, which is really quite impressive. If an OSHA recordable incident occurs, we do everything we can to ensure the employee gets the medical care needed and has the support to get back to work as soon as possible.
DAA: How have safety programs changed in recent years?
GB: The foundation of our health and safety program hasn’t changed significantly in the past few years. We always ensure that Draper Aden complies with OSHA and specific industry rules and regulations. Of course, those regulations evolve, and every time a change occurs, we make sure that we update our safety program and training materials. We also conduct new training for any team members affected by a change. It’s important to note that Draper Aden also participates in several third-party certification and accreditation programs that audit our health and safety practices. This ensures that our company continues to meet the highest standard of excellence for health and safety.
It’s also worth noting that Draper Aden has adapted to new guidance for the COVID-19 pandemic. Our field team members are required to comply with CDC recommendations, and we’ve set internal rules for our field and office operations. Draper Aden continues to serve clients and is doing so while also ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.
DAA: As you know, June is National Safety Month. What’s your top safety tip?
GB: We’re all responsible for our own actions as well as our safety and the safety of those around us. Remember that everything you do has a risk, and it’s critical that you can assess that risk and make safe decisions that will impact you and others on your team. All Draper Aden employees have the authority to stop work, identify risks, make calls, ensure they have the proper equipment, or ask for additional help. Simply put, safety is our top priority, and it requires all of us. I want all Draper Aden team members to have the tools, equipment, and safety measures needed for them to do their job and excel.
As Guy mentioned during this Q&A session, “Safety is all about employees being able to do their job, know their safe, go home at night, and enjoy coming to work the next day.” That’s the strong safety culture we’ve created at Draper Aden.