At every level of an organization, the way leaders talk about safety has a direct impact on attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors – which drive safety performance. A safety improvement journey fueled by accountability and positive recognition requires a communication strategy that leverages a variety of written and active messaging opportunities to inform, involve and inspire. Through words and deeds, leaders must set a sincere and credible "tone from the top," managers must ensure accountability for safety activities and front-line supervisors must champion a culture of zero-incident performance.

Delta Companies Inc., a heavy highway contractor specializing in asphalt paving and road construction materials, including aggregates, ready-mix concrete, hot-mix asphalt, liquid asphalt, and emulsions headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, committed to an engagement-based approach to safety improvement in 2015. They learned quickly that effective communications at each level deliver the trust, responsibility and openness required for measurable culture change across state lines and organizational strata. This case study presentation will focus on a strategy within a strategy - Delta's communication tactics to ensure the success of its safety culture initiatives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the building blocks of a safety journey communication strategy that goes beyond announcements and into accountability building.

  • Distinguish the hallmarks of a quality safety conversation from the characteristics of a traditional approach.

  • Prepare to give your executive leaders specific recommendations for demonstrating their commitment to safety.

A Need for Change

COLAS USA, a national leader in infrastructure construction and maintenance, has more than 5,000 employees in 50 offices throughout 25 states. Using a traditional approach to safety management, the organization made year-over-year improvements, but in 2015 leaders decided to reach for world-class performance. The CEO of COLAS USA led eight subsidiary companies to embark on a journey toward "Goal Zero" - using the process Caterpillar developed to achieve a safety culture transformation and world-renown results. This presentation will focus on the experiences of one COLAS USA subsidiary, Delta Companies Inc. (Delta), through the first two years of an expedition to safety excellence.

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