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2011 CEOs Who 'Get It'

January 27, 2011

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Ann E. Massey

President & CEO
MACTEC Inc.

MACTEC Inc., headquartered in Alpharetta, GA, is an environmental and engineering consulting company providing comprehensive and innovative solutions for environmental compliance, management and remediation, specializing in new and remedial construction and construction management, and defining and designing architectural and engineered projects. MACTEC has 2,700 employees.


Why is safety a core value at your company?

Our employees' skills, knowledge, experience and talents are what we provide our clients. Without a focus on safety and performing work safely, our most valuable company assets can't be utilized. Apart from the regulatory requirements to provide a safe workplace to our employees, I believe we have both a moral and ethical commitment to do so. So, in turn, I have made safety one of our core values. Over the past several years, we have worked hard to develop a safety culture and are expanding our effort to make zero preventable incidents our goal in both our safety and fleet programs. Because incidents resulting in occupational injury or illness and property loss are the result of unsafe acts or unsafe conditions, we do not use the word "accident" within MACTEC; instead, we use "incident."

How do you instill a sense of safety in your employees on an ongoing basis?

Our focus on safety starts with me, implemented by our corporate director of ES&H, and directed by our business line leaders. Each of our employees understands they have stop-work authority if they feel any work activity has hazards that have not been mitigated. Along with having a detailed safety management system composed of safety-focused policies, programs and procedures, we support our continuing focus on safety with some of the following activities:

  • Internally generated weekly safety tips e-mailed to all employees that address various safety topics that are applicable on and off the job
  • A brief "Safety Moment" provided by someone prior to all meetings
  • A monthly "Safetygram" newsletter on a specific safety topic with an associated quiz
  • "Safety Tip of the Week" provided by the National Safety Council and automatically posted weekly on our intranet’s ES&H website
  • Lunchtime "Safety Brown Bags" on various safety topics
  • Monthly office safety committee meetings attended and led by employees and supported by local management
  • Employee participation in a safety-focused event we call "Safety Day," where office operations shut down for a portion of the day to focus on planned safety events and activities
  • All work activities requiring the generation of a job hazard analysis developed in a team approach with project management, supervision and employees who will be performing the work
  • Sharing lessons learned and best practices through an innovative process that e-mails applicable learning content to employees

What is the biggest obstacle to safety in your workplace, and how do you work to overcome it?

Over the past four years, the obstacles to providing a safe workplace have changed, as our safety management system has evolved along with our focus on safety. At first, it was getting everyone to report incidents in a timely manner with the required detail so root causes could be identified and corrective actions defined, implemented and verified. Then it was developing an internal ES&H auditing program that evaluated the level of compliance to our safety management system and helping our operations offices achieve compliance. Presently, although not an obstacle but more of a challenge, the evaluation of safety attitudes within MACTEC to ensure all levels within our company understand and embrace our goal of becoming a world-class safety organization is one of our next steps.

Along with this, we have restructured our ES&H infrastructure, moving it from being managed by the operational side of the company to one being managed by corporate ES&H. This change will ensure safety does not take a back seat to our operational activities.

How does safety "pay" at your company?

Because providing a safe workplace is one of our core values within MACTEC, the "pay" part of safety is simply a fringe benefit. Reducing the number and severity of occupational injuries and illnesses is reflected in our reduced workers' compensation costs and the resulting reduction of insurance premiums. Our vehicle fleet of approximately 750 vehicles has seen a yearly reduction in preventable collisions, which also has reduced insurance premiums and our out-of-pocket expenses and risk exposure. During the annual employee performance review process, each of our employees is evaluated on how they address safety in their job and appraised on their contributions to meeting our safety expectations and goals.

How do you measure safety? What are the leading indicators that show you how safe you are, and where do you see room for improvement?

Although we track the standard trailing safety indicators such as total recordable incident rate, days away, restricted or transferred case rate, and the lost-time incident rate, we focus on leading indicators as a way to measure how our safety management system is being implemented throughout the company. Over the past several years, we have developed and tracked leading indicators, including the number of:

  • Safety committee meetings held per month in each of our offices
  • People completing a Safetygram quiz
  • Inspections conducted by office management at project sites per month
  • Completed corporate ES&H audits
  • Days to close ES&H-related audit deficiencies
  • Reported near misses and first aid cases per month
  • People attending Brown Bag Lunch Time Safety Trainings
  • Best practices and lessons learned that are shared within the company from both internal and external learning sources

How important is off-the-job safety to your company's overall safety program? What types of off-the-job safety programs does your company offer to employees?

Our safety culture is based on doing activities, whether on or off the job, safely. Safety is a mindset that is not turned on when an employee comes to work and turned off at home. Our two types of weekly safety tips – meeting Safety Moments and Safetygram topics – are relevant to off-the-job activities, while some are specific to home-related topics such as firearms safety, use of fireworks, fire prevention and emergency planning. Many of the topics covered during Safety Day events at our offices focus on activities such as family health, safely installing holiday lights, proper use of landscape equipment, boating safety, etc. We also have a wellness program designed to assist employees and their family in making voluntary behavior changes that reduce their health and injury risks, improve their health consumer skills, and enhance their individual productivity and well-being.

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