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In today’s economy, companies increasingly are turning to contractors and temporary staffing agencies to find specialized skill sets or expand the number of workers needed at a given time. But this temporary worker pool can be vulnerable, with unique needs when it comes to safety.
The Safety Standard of Excellence® program, designed by the American Staffing Association and the National Safety Council, encourages staffing firms to adopt safety best practices to reduce employee injuries and help control worker compensation costs for staffing companies.
We talked with two staffing firms that have earned the SSE Mark, a level of safety performance well beyond compliance.
Why did you participate in the Safety Standard of Excellence program?
Jennifer Hertling, CoWorx Staffing: It was a great way to tap into the expertise of NSC and learn what other staffing firms are doing. We believe we have a best-in-class safety program, and this validates that our program is as good as we believe it is. Safety is one area where our industry needs to stick together, so learning from each other will benefit everyone.
Robert Lewellen, EmployBridge: We feel like EmployBridge has a great safety program, but we wanted a third party to validate the effectiveness of our safety policies and procedures.
How would you describe the process of earning the SSE Program Mark?
Hertling: It was a great experience for us. From the initial phone conversations through scheduling the office assessments, it all went very smoothly. The resources provided were extremely helpful in preparing for the assessments. We had some detailed and dynamic meetings with our NSC consultant and learned so much on even little things we can do to improve our processes – most of which we put into practice almost immediately.
Lewellen: It was a little scary at first, just thinking about someone coming into our corporate and branch offices to verify that we not only talk the talk but we also walk the walk when it comes to safety. The assessors did a great job making the process as easy as possible while still performing a quality assessment.
How has safety improved since adopting the best practices espoused by the SSE program?
Hertling: Our biggest improvement has been employee training. We have completely revamped our process to validate that the site-specific and job-specific training of our temporary workers is occurring. We certify that with sign-off by our client as well as the employees. We have worked to build a safer book of business, and in doing so, we believe there has been drop in reported incidents.
Lewellen: One of our weakest areas was incident investigation. After we received the assessment report, we implemented a new process to ensure adequate incident investigations are being conducted at our branch offices. We are seeing a lot of improvement with incident frequency and costs.
How has earning the Safety Standard of Excellence Mark helped your business?
Hertling: We believe this is a marketable differentiator of our company in the staffing industry. In a world that is often governed by sales and margins, there is often little a staffing company can do to stand out. We believe safety is one area where we can show that we’re different. We not only care about our employees, we work hard to set ourselves apart and build a solid safety foundation that will protect them every day and return them home safely to their families.
Lewellen: The program has been a great marketing tool and differentiator for our sales team. The Safety Standard of Excellence logo and an explanation of the program is included in our standard sales presentation, and we also include the logo on our business cards.
Do you recommend other organizations participate in the program?
Hertling: There is no downside to becoming part of an incredible group of companies focused on making lives and work better. It shows that you prioritize your most valuable asset – your employees – and proves your commitment to safety.
Lewellen: The program has been great for us, but even if a company doesn’t earn the Mark right away, they will receive a lot of guidance and recommendations to help them develop and implement an effective safety program.
American Staffing Association’s Staffing World ASA Convention and Expo Oct. 16-18, 2018, in Metro Washington, D.C. Safety Standard of Excellence Program Mark earners accompanied by: Tracy Rettie, ASA VP, education and strategic initiatives; Emily Lawson, ASA senior manager, education and certification; Amy Harper, NSC director, workplace strategy and consulting operations; and Bianca Mendez, NSC workplace strategy project manager.
Temporary workers have the same safety rights as all employees. The SSE program is a way for staffing companies to raise their hand to say, “I’m committed to safety,” and really go under the microscope to let someone from the outside examine their operations. We are grateful to all of our current SSE Mark-earners and know that lives are being changed for the better.
If you are interested in participating in the Safety Standard of Excellence program, register your company and schedule assessments before the end of 2019 for discounted fees.
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