Martin Marietta’s North Texas/Oklahoma District has been here before. In April, the group celebrated a full year (more than 1 million hours) of work without a reportable incident across all 18 of its operations. It’s the second such achievement in the district’s history and this time, the team is far better positioned to make it endure.
“The first time we achieved this was February 2020,” said Sean Foley, the district’s regional vice president – general manager. “Almost immediately after, we experienced three separate incidents, one involving a recently hired individual and two others involving more experienced members of our team.”
Since then, the district has righted the ship by recommitting to safety while relying upon an unofficial mantra: Safety has no memory. It is never guaranteed. It takes a daily commitment from every member of the team.
Foley says the unfortunate incidents of February 2020 drove improvements to what had already been a superior safety culture.
District leaders spent more time thinking of ways to engage the workforce. The group held more safety meetings with greater levels of focus, and pushed for every member to participate, regardless of job responsibility. Increased attention was paid to hazard recognition and near-miss observations. Leadership made a concerted effort to communicate and share best practices while increasing the number of site-level safety audits.
The months that followed brought continued challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic struck. The teams at Bridgeport and North Bridgeport quarries worked around the construction of a new plant. All the while, more than 440 employees across the district remained committed.
Will Rodriguez, the district’s safety representative, said the greater level of involvement in safety yielded extraordinary results, in part, because the team had long been dedicated to living and working by Martin Marietta’s values.
“What it comes down to is that our people truly believe in safety,” he said. “They’re not working safely because they’re told to, they’re doing it because they understand the importance of it.”
Looking forward, Rodriguez said the group expects to continue performing at this high level.
“Our people are incredibly motivated. Last year was so difficult because of COVID and the huge changes that came with it, but we’ve done a great job handling that and now, we’re focused on staying motivated and safe,” he said. “I want to be a guardian angel for everyone in this district, and I know that each member of this team feels the same way.”