Think Safety • Work Safely!
PeopleService has always put a premium on worker safety. Since we opened our doors 30 years ago, we have dedicated time and resources to ensure that the people we put in the field are operating at the highest standards and utilizing the best practices to keep them safe day in and day out. The water/wastewater industry is not a glamorous one. Our people work in the elements. They work with harsh chemicals and they operate in hazardous conditions. That’s what the job entails. So, it has always been a priority for us to foster a culture of safety within our organization. We instituted safety protocols, year-round training and have worked to make sure that all of our employees share our commitment to the highest safety standards in the field. It’s easy to say that you believe in a culture of safety, but nothing says it better than hearing about it from our operators who work on the front lines of the industry every day.
Lead operator for Monona and Elkader, Iowa, Kim Werger has spent 15 years working for PeopleService. He believes in the culture of safety that the company fosters. According to Kim, “I’ve never been with a company so dedicated to promoting worker safety. It inspires a lot of confidence, knowing this commitment is shared top-to-bottom within the company. From the corporate office to the regional managers, to everyone working on the front lines, we know that they are looking out for us and that we are looking out for each other. PeopleService is serious about our safety and they spend a lot of money training and equipping us with what we need to make certain we get home safely every day. That’s important. That’s why I enjoy going to work!”
Lee Ortloff has been with PeopleService for twelve years and is the lead operator for six different facilities and a staff of five. The safety training we receive is important for everyone involved. It allows everybody to work together with the same goals and same practices, and let’s be honest, the program is designed to make sure people get home safely. As lead operator, the safety of my team is job one.
Within the company we do our own safety inspections to make certain we are OSHA compliant and the company is focused on making certain that older equipment and supplies are continually updated, replaced and replenished.
When you are responsible for multiple work sites, planning is everything. Some facilities you find yourself dealing with confined spaces, later that day you could be working on a taller water tower. Being certain that you have all the proper equipment needed for multiple projects is important. PeopleService works with standardized equipment across the company, and we have maintenance schedules that are very thorough, but in that rare instance where you are missing a key piece of equipment to do a project safely, due to repair, the standardization of equipment across the company makes it easy to borrow what you need from another PeopleService operator in your area.
The thing I find most helpful is the method in which our safety training is presented. It’s informative and engaging. Mike Adair is excellent at raising awareness about issues so that as a team, we are all looking at any problem from the same perspective. This gets us thinking and they prepare us to deal with any situation. That is huge. Because when you are working down in a manhole space and dealing with chemical exposure, knowing you have the right equipment and that your entire team has the training needed to react is important.
Rick Whitney has been the PeopleService lead operator for Spring Valley, Minnesota for two years. Rick came to PeopleService after working for a number of other water and wastewater companies and he notices a distinct difference in the way that PeopleService approaches safety. “They genuinely are a family-based business that puts the interest of the people who work for them and their families first, “explained Rick, “PeopleService is oriented toward safety. It’s a daily discussion, I’ve worked other places and the key to safety is putting it first and foremost in everybody’s brains every day. Not all companies do that. It’s a luxury to work for a firm that makes safety a priority, that emphasizes positive interaction and safety practices. The annual training seminars work. Mike Adair is not the kind of Safety Director to get up in front of the staff and just drone on. If he knows an operator has an area of special expertise, he gets them up and has them help teach. He makes certain that everyone is engaged. This kind of training helps the operators rely on each other and to trust that everyone is working on the same page. It’s good to know that PeopleService believes in safety first and that I will never have to send my team into a situation without a proper safety plan, without the proper safety gear in place, or without a team member to do safety control on a project. That’s how I keep my people safe and that is a benefit which makes PeopleService a stand out in our industry.”
The commitment we make to our employees is the same commitment we make to our community partners across the Midwest. We promise to always put safety first and to always exercise the highest ethical and industry standards in everything we do. That’s why we stand by the statement, “Think Safety, Work Safely!”
If you would like to learn more about our safety programs or to discuss any aspect of the service PeopleService can provide your community contact, Chris Gutschow.