I recently joined Blacklidge as Vice President of Operations and learned quickly that in order to lead an operations team effectively, especially in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, safety must absolutely be first and foremost. Unprecedented challenges have and will arise, however, with the proper safety protocols in place, we can continue to be free from event-related recorded incidents this year.
When it became clear that coronavirus was a serious public health crisis, Blacklidge reacted quickly to implement safety measures that enabled social distancing. As my colleague Matt Renick explained in a recent blog post, we were able to minimize the spread of disease with PPE, staggered shifts, more paperless options and enhanced sanitation measures. We’re continuing to follow CDC guidelines and, if employees do appear symptomatic (or have been exposed to someone who is), they are sent home to quarantine for at least 10 days. They will only be allowed to return to work with a negative test result from a verified laboratory. In fact, we have been fortunate to only have one positive case of COVID-19 in one of our plants — and I’d like to think our stringent safety protocols are a contributing factor. If someone does need to call out sick, their absence does not impact production output because we have backups and redundancy baked into our workflow. We are all trained to step into an operational role if necessary.
Working with hot asphalt is inherently dangerous. A minor incident can cause major injuries. That’s why we truly believe our team members are key to keeping us safe. We empower our team to be accountable and hold each other accountable. They can anonymously submit ideas and suggestions through a dedicated QR code. We regularly reward and feature employees who have gone above and beyond to keep themselves and others safe in our monthly team member spotlight. Their actions have prevented accidents that could have resulted in serious bodily harm or property damage. Truly caring for our colleagues is one of our core values and one that we take to heart.
Safety in Numbers
As Blacklidge continues to expand into new territories with new plants and customers, scaling our safety measures up will be extremely important. Leadership will continue to promote safety through regular training and safety newsletters, providing complete transparency into the latest protocols. Even outside of our facilities, we are diligent about the safety of our team members and the paving crews they serve. We take OSHA requirements very seriously and regularly partner with independent safety consultants and local universities to analyze our current protocols and uncover areas of improvement.
While I am thankful for the awareness generated by events like Safe and Sound Week, I know safety is always top priority here at Blacklidge. By continuing to stay vigilant, follow protocols and value the contributions our team members make every day, I am confident we will go another year incident-free. Keeping safety at the forefront of our operations will help us perform our best for ourselves and our customers now and in the future.