“If you don’t have a safe operation, you will never have an efficient or profitable operation.” - Mark Jastrzebski, Health and Safety Manager at Sun Ridge Contracting
About Sun Ridge Contracting
Operating since 1991
Based in Kamloops, BC
Number of Employees: 40
Main Industries: Civil, Earthworks, Forestry, Mining
Since its founding in 1991, Sun Ridge Contracting has been laser-focused on safety. As a major employer for indigenous people, specifically the membership of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and surrounding indigenous communities, the whole team feels a deep sense of responsibility to their community. In a small, close community, an incident can affect everyone.
A great benefit of working with Sun Ridge is the family atmosphere that is created from a “special mix” of employees from the community, including many who have family connections. From Jastrzebski, “It’s one thing to know the person next to you is a coworker, it’s a whole other thing when the person is your family.”
After using HCSS at a previous company, Mark Jastrzebski was thrilled to see that Sun Ridge had purchased HCSS. After he joined Sun Ridge, the safety team immediately rolled out HCSS Safety. “In my previous company, I saw HCSS open all kinds of efficiencies and communication. HCSS gives you time, and everyone at Sun Ridge saw the advantage of saving time. It opens up all kinds of possibilities”
After reaching the milestone of two years without a lost-time incident, Jastrzebski spoke with us about how Sun Ridge built a comprehensive safety culture with help from HCSS Safety
Four Pieces of Sun Ridge Contracting’s Safety Program
1. Practice, Practice, Practice.
In August 2020, Sun Ridge hit a critical milestone: two years without a lost-time incident. But there’s a twist to the story: in 2018, Sun Ridge reached two and a half years without a lost-time incident, but they had to reset the clock. What happened?
From Jastrzebski, “A crew member had a slip and fall, and the communication was not great. The crew member had a minor injury, but due to poor communication, this caused a one-day lost-time incident. We went right back to zero.”
Previous to the slip and fall, there had been no injury reports for eight months, so crews were out of practice on reporting injuries. Jastrzebski had to find a way to help his crews work on injury reporting without the pressure of an actual worksite injury. “We had a scare because of the slip and fall, and we lost time because of the communication breakdown.”
As part of their safety program, Sun Ridge has their foremen practice reporting incidents in HCSS Safety. That way, he can coach his teams on filling out quality incident reports without the stress of an actual incident.
Jastrzebski took this situation as a learning lesson. “Hindsight is 20:20. If we didn’t have the slip and fall, we could have 5 years without a lost-time injury. But would we be in as good of a place as we are now? This was a critical learning experience, and we prepared to get better."
2. Be Proactive, Not Reactive
When COVID-19 standards were first announced, Sun Ridge quickly went above and beyond in the office and on job sites to ensure employee safety. Once initial measures were put in place, Sun Ridge was armed with information to start thinking proactively about COVID-19: “We’ve had enough of being reactive to COVID-19.”
By August 2020, Sun Ridge was already looking forward, and they started making plans with their crews. “With kids going back to school, we knew COVID cases might happen. So, let’s talk about it early. Let’s develop a process for communication if you need to quarantine to support a sick child. Let’s identify places we can go and get tested. Let’s talk about how we can help.”
Whether it’s giving a toolbox talk about watching out for school zones or preparing for winter safety in the summer heat, Sun Ridge continues to stay focused on being proactive.
3. Teach Your Crews to be Their Own Advocates
In a previous role, Jastrzebski received a unique opportunity to go through the Harvard Management Program. While Jastrzebski said this program was as much of a gift as it was a challenge, he learned how much he could accomplish when he was empowered to further his education and work closely with company leadership.
Jastrzebski took this lesson to Sun Ridge: he empowers construction crews to help create safety processes and makes sure they know how to advocate for themselves at work and in life.
At Sun Ridge, “A safety program can’t have safety procedures that are only made in the office. Our processes are made in the field, worked on in the office, and go to the crews for approval. Our crews are always involved. The process has to stay pure”
In addition, the Sun Ridge safety team arm their crews with information they might need to advocate for themselves outside of work. “Currently, I’m working to arm our crews with information on COVID-19 so they feel comfortable advocating for themselves and asking questions. For example, at their kid’s school or at another place of business, they know they can ask what kind of precautions people are taking and speak up if they want more options. This also applies to advocating for themselves at work - we welcome that.”
4. Recognize Exceptional Safety Behavior
For exceptional safety behavior above and beyond the usual high-level of safety behavior, Sun Ridge makes sure that the employee is recognized in front of their peers. “Exceptional safety behavior doesn’t get just a gift card or money in the mail. We recognize the employee in front of their crew so other crew members know that they can see that it is important to us all.”
The public recognition helps empower crew members to ask questions of each other and become safety experts in their own way instead of relying on others for safety information.
How HCSS Safety Helps
Get More Quality Time
When Sun Ridge made the decision to move forward with HCSS, everyone was immediately on board. “The entire office said that moving to a paperless safety solution was long overdue. They saw the value of the environmental benefit and time savings right away. Once the crews in the field got rolling, they were able to complete their forms much faster. In particular, they really like using the dictation on the iPad. Our crews quickly saw the advantage of saving time.”
So, what can you accomplish with more time? From Jastrzebski, “At Sun Ridge, our number one priority is safety, and our number one asset is our people. Now we are free to spend more quality time with our employees and focus on our safety program. There’s no more paper taking up time.”
Break Down Silos and Increase Communication
Sun Ridge currently uses HeavyJob and HCSS Safety, which integrate closely with each other. All the data collected from both programs can be viewed in HCSS by all teams.
Jastrzebski encourages everyone to learn HCSS. “Since this information is so available in one place, let’s work to remove compartmentalization and break down silos between teams.”
In Canada, fines for repeat safety violations by the same company are multiplied, even if the violations are on different job sites. Communication is key.
With EHS software from HCSS Safety, everyone has quick access to real-time safety data and reporting. This allows for increased communication and fast modification of safety processes based on something that happened at another job site, even if the other job site is on the other side of the country.
HCSS Safety Grows With You
For implementation, Sun Ridge worked hands-on on process optimization and software setup with Ian O’Byrne, one of our Canadian construction safety experts based in BC.
With a solid foundation, Jastrzebski is now ready to expand Sun Ridge’s use of HCSS Safety. “As we immerse ourselves, we found what HCSS can do for us. Now we are starting to streamline and expand. What can we do to help HCSS help us?”
One source of inspiration is the HCSS Academy, our LMS that has educational materials for all our software and is available to all HCSS users. “It takes the anxiety out because we can see the product in action, and it gives us all sorts of ideas. The Academy feeds us knowledge and helps us see how we can keep expanding.”
Need help or additional training? HCSS customers can just ask. We provide various options for additional training, and customers across time zones love our 24/7 instant support.
While Sun Ridge is focused on preparing for winter, the HCSS Safety team is always working with our customers to build strong safety cultures.