From the Treetop: Will Nutter

May 19, 2014
by Will Nutter, President and COO

Safety is one thing that has truly started to evolve over the past several years. It is not a fad or buzzword – people are taking it seriously. It was not long ago that the attitude around safety from several of our utility customers was, “that’s your business.” That is definitely not the model we work with today when it comes to safety and our customers.

Wright Tree Service (WTS) and our customers both have skin in the game now. We are both measuring safety; it is in the key performance indicators (KPIs) or dashboards for our client as well as measured internally. It is often in the language of our contracts or special conditions, or it is outlined in the expectations we communicate to our customers that safety be the highest priority of every job.

Like most successful outcomes, safe operations start with a true partnership between WTS and our customers. We establish benchmarks based on historical data or standards that we both agree upon, and then we jointly set a course to achieve or improve upon them. We involve each other in our businesses to seek out improvements, learn from each other’s experiences, and understand exactly what is driving the numbers and behaviors and how to make adjustments if needed. We review all incidents from both parties in hopes that we learn something that may prevent the next occurrence for either one of our companies.

Over the past several years, WTS and several partners have jointly reduced the severity and quantity of incidents by being willing to identify and do something about the things that were affecting safety. Some of the things we have identified include turnover, production vs. safety, the perception that WTS and utility management are only interested in good numbers (not the individuals doing the work), and the true cost of incidents to everyone involved.

So the next time you hear the word safety or something related to safety, think about where you fit into the partnership and how you may be able to improve it for your crew, your company, and your industry – and truly be a Brother or Sister’s Keeper.