100% Focused 100% of the Time
By Jeff Martin, vice president of safety
Visit our corporate offices — or any building for that matter — and you won’t find any
plaques hanging around to honor the construction workers who built the walls. Walk
around any city and there are no signatures written in cement of the men and women who
toiled to develop the skyline. When employees go home for the day, there are probably no
monuments next to their houses or apartment buildings. For all the work it takes to build
something, those workers’ contributions are in many ways forgotten.
So, in the spirit of reflection, who deserves credit for “building” our success in safety?
The short answer is everyone — our culture relies on all employees performing at their
best. Still, though, I think it’s fair to say that a number of specific individuals have at
different times held the fate of this organization in their own hands. And while there are
too many trendsetters to list by name, I will try to honor a few as best I can.
To our Area vice presidents, I say thanks. Without your leadership, we would have long
ago abandoned the idea that working safely is critical to the health of our operations.
Absent your direction and support, dollars alone would drive our business. You control
the thermostat that is our safety culture.
To our route managers, you are the backbone of this company. Your job requires a lot
of juggling, and a lot of responsibilities, and you treat every item with such attention and
care. I don’t know how you do it, but our safety program would be lost without you — you
don’t just “buy” into safety, you own it.
Next, a word of gratitude to our Area safety managers. In the early days of M2Z, I stood
next to many of you as we stormed the castle walls. Like weary salesmen, you sometimes
pushed an unpopular product to a disinterested clientele. If even one of you had given up,
I don’t think we would be where we are today. I’m so proud to have you as partners – you
truly are exceptional.
Finally, all the frontline drivers, technicians, operators and laborers — keep focused and
keep going strong. Sometimes jobs can get ordinary, and you might feel overlooked or
under appreciated. However, never doubt that every hour, day and week you remain focused
on operational excellence is appreciated by me, my staff and anyone who cares about
preventing injuries or saving lives. We count on you to be leaders in this industry, so
In closing, there remains a path before us. As our metrics improve, and the number of
incidents gets smaller, improvement will be that much harder to come by. We must stay the
course, because as long as lives are lost within our operations, there’s still a battle to wage.
And even though I can’t say anyone will write your name on a building once the day is won,
I can promise you one thing — the loved ones of those you send home each day will never
forget you or what you did to show that you cared…that’s even better than a building with
your name on it.