Why I Work Safely campaign continues to grow

From the moment his steel-toed boots first touch down on quarry ground, Plant Manager Keith Flynn is focused. He has rock to crush, numbers to hit and decisions to make that will ultimately affect his well-being as well as that of his crew, their families and the company.

HR and Safety Manager Jeff Cross shared his story for the Why I Work Safely campaign.

Not long into the morning, he’s all about business as he meets with the Porcupine Mountain Quarry team. They talk about equipment maintenance and the important projects of the day. They talk about special work taking place and make sure everyone knows about the visitors they expect onsite. It’s business talk and it’s all necessary, but when the topic of safety comes up (and it does frequently), something changes in Flynn’s tone. This change is why he shared his story for the Why I Work Safely campaign.

“This is a reminder that safety is personal,” he says about a photo of his wife and three sons. “We don’t just work safely because of a motto, or a sign, or a tagline. We work safely for the people involved – the family members, the friends and the other loved ones.”

The idea of highlighting personal photographs and safety testimonials at Martin Marietta isn’t exactly a new one. Operations and offices across the company have long utilized such photos and stories to varying degrees, sometimes providing great detail about each while other times, not. This past summer, Jenifer Padgett, an East Division senior safety manager, and Southwest Division Safety Manager Jeff Cross worked with the rest of the company’s Safety Leadership Team to formalize the photo/testimonial effort. The result is the companywide Why I Work Safely campaign.

HR and Safety Manager Jenifer Padgett was among the first to share her story for the Why I Work Safely campaign.

“Where I come from in Ohio, we’ve done this for a long time, and one of the things I noticed was that people took ownership of the safety process,” Padgett says. “They really take pride in doing things the safe way.”

When the Safety Leadership Team began calling for Why I Work Safely submissions, they asked employees to share photos along with a brief description explaining their thoughts on safe work. Initially, Padgett and Cross expected enough stories to populate the company’s digital signs for about a month. Currently, the campaign has received so many submissions that slides will be running at least through the rest of the year.

“This has been great because we never really wanted this to be just a one-month safety topic or just part of our training for new employees,” Padgett says. “We want this to continue. It’s easy to say that focusing on why we work safely is part of our safety program, but really working to keep it in focus is another way we show our dedication to safety. It keeps us engaged with our Guardian Angel culture.”

Carolina South District Area Production Manager Justin Nelson agrees and says that just taking the time to think about why he works safely forced him to realize how his attitude has changed over time. The experience, he says, was quite valuable.

“I started my career with Martin Marietta as a college student who just wanted to enjoy life, but I realized quickly the role that safety plays in our business. I formed strong bonds with my peers and, naturally, did what I could to prevent them from getting hurt,” he says. “When I got a little older and had a family of my own, I still wanted my work family to be safe, but my attitude evolved because I now had to provide for my wife and kids. With my kids now getting older, my attitude continues to evolve. I realize more and more that safety can’t just be a focus at work, it has to be ingrained into my life so that I take it home to my family as well.”

Flynn, whose team in Nova Scotia last year celebrated 2 million hours of safe work, seconded the notion that the exercise is worthwhile. He says he’d be more than willing to share his story again and that he hopes others feel the same way.

“Sharing my story was my way of showing that safety is of the utmost importance,” he says. “I wanted to share it so that the people here at Porcupine Mountain and others across the company understand that safety is part of who we are and everything we do.”