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Cement and Concrete’s Year-Round Health and Safety Culture

Chris Ward
President and CEO Lehigh Hanson, Inc.

June is National Safety Month, and for cement and concrete manufacturers, health and safety are not just business priorities, but values that set the tone of who we are as an industry. A strong culture of health and safety starts at the top and grows when employees at all levels are committed to voicing concerns, identifying hazards, and stopping unsafe practices while also proactively looking at ways to improve in these areas. Safety Month is certainly a time to emphasize these commitments within our own businesses, but the cement and concrete industry has thrived for over a hundred years because health and safety with an attitude of “do the right thing every day” permeate every aspect of our culture and operations.

Currently, our industry has many practices in place that foster the health, safety and vitality of our workforce. Establishing clear and enforceable policies, training workers to identify hazards before entering work areas, staying diligent about equipment maintenance, and ensuring all personnel have appropriate and well-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) are all essential. The aggressive actions taken industry-wide to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic also exemplify our commitment to health and safety. Our people are our most valuable asset and thanks to the cement and concrete industry’s strong existing safety culture, we were able to act quickly and effectively to keep our workers safe.

By utilizing and enforcing rigorous standards within our plants, we are able to reduce injuries, ensure employee well-being and routinely work with local, state and federal regulatory agencies to successfully operate as an essential sector during this critical time.

It is our duty to continually improve our health and safety practices. We do not view health and safety improvements as proprietary, but rather seek opportunities to share best practices across the industry to elevate practices for our entire workforce. Lehigh Hanson is an active member of the Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) Occupational Health and Safety Committee, which spans the industry and is a resource to all PCA member companies. The committee also partners with regulating agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to find ways to share health and safety information and advancements.

Our industry is committed to collaborating on impactful initiatives and PCA continually offers resources to educate our workforce on the latest health and safety topics.

While we live these values every day, June is an important reminder that our industry is made up of 600,000 individuals, and it’s our job to ensure that each employee goes home at the end of the day healthy and whole.