Budget Demolition adopts a top-down approach to jobsite safety

Budget Demolition

Budget Demolition has won the World Demolition Award for its safety and training initiatives

When the team at Budget Demolition left the 2016 World Demolition Summit, they realized that when it comes to safety, they needed to change their approach. 

While Budget had been making strides to continuously improve safety throughout its company, a speech at the summit by Aecom’s Tim Barker explained the importance of a “top down” approach to safety. His speech would prove to be a pivotal moment for the Hamilton, Ontario-based demolition company. 

“We recognized that safety starts with an attitude and we had to change ours,” said Christina Murray, business development manager at Budget Demolition.

“We moved from letting the safety people worry about safety to the owners taking ownership of the Safety Program and taking the lead in the directing program.  A complete top own approach.”

Redefining human resources, accountability, health and safety was an important first step in the process of a company-wide safety culture shift. 

Budget Demolition’s owners took ownership of the safety team and created accountability for the program.  

COR Certification

Achieving Certificate of Recognition (COR) Certification became the ultimate goal. COR is the Canadian national standard program led by the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations and rolled out by provincial safety associations. 

COR is essentially a construction occupational health and safety accreditation program that verifies a fully-implemented safety and health program, which voluntary participants are required to meet national standards in order to achieve certification status. 

The program provides industry employers with an effective safety and health management system to reduce incidents, accidents and injuries as well as their associated human and financial costs.

In 2018, SMART goals were set by the Budget team, and bi-weekly shareholder safety meetings with human resources and the company owners were established to track progress. 

A surprising development came from the meetings. COR Certification shifted away from being the purpose of the process. Instead, COR became a milestone along the way, rather than the main goal.  

The company’s efforts are paying off. Throughout the last year, Budget Demolition has recorded numerous safety milestones. 

In December of 2019, Budget Demolition achieved COR Certification. The same year, Budget won the 2019 Contractor of the Year – Demolition Award for Toronto.

This summer, Budget Demolition also recorded 869 days with no Lost Time Injuries (LTI), while the Budget Environmental Group of Companies and each of its five divisions have achieved 471 consecutive days without recording a LTI.

This year, Budget also translated its entire Health and Safety Program into Spanish, while the safety team continues to strategically roll out and implement the improved Safety Program to each of Budget Environmental divisions. 

As well, Budget Environment’s other divisions completed their first annual Safety Training Day, and the company made the position of safety director a full-time commitment. 

World Demolition Award

In November, Budget’s safety initiatives were recognized on a global scale after being named the 2020 recipient of the World Demolition Award for Safety and Training. The award is presented to a company that clearly shows it has established an effective methodology to ensure safety during its daily operations.

RELATED: Canadians shortlisted for the World Demolition Awards

“Four years ago, when the leadership decided to invest in and develop our Health and Safety culture, it wasn’t about winning awards and it never will be,” said Wiliam Bartels, vice president, director of health and safety at Budget Demolition. “It was and will remain about giving our employees the resources, knowledge and equipment to do their job safely.” 

Safety Incentive Program

Budget employs about 65 people in its demolition business, and has a fleet of about 25 heavy machines, as well as 14 skid steers. To safeguard its staff and equipment, several years ago Budget Demolition created a Safety Incentive Program to encourage on-site safety. 

For every hour worked on-site by an employee, 50 cents was automatically contributed towards an annual safety bonus.  However, before receiving the bonus, their supervisor and the general manager would review their performance. If an employee had safety violations and equipment damage, then an agreed upon amount would be deducted. 

While rewarding, Budget found the incentive was flawed. 

The employee did not have to do anything to be in line for a bonus, aside from showing up to work. The system also discouraged reporting incidents, accidents and equipment damage.

So, in January, Budget Demolition introduced a new safety incentive built around participation and engagement. 

Tool box talks signoffs and safety broadcast signoffs were each given monetary value per confirmation and each incident, injury, equipment damage and good-catch report were also given a monetary value through the incentive. 

Now, the only way to make a deposit in the safety bonus bank is to participate in the program, with no maximum value cap. 

Similar to the old program, prior to receiving a safety bonus, a performance review is conducted and things like preventable equipment damage, disciplinary actions and overall attitude towards Budget’s safety program could impact a safety bonus. 

Safety Week

Early in 2020, Budget Demolition completed its fourth annual Safety Week. Budget Demolition also opened its our own private training centre within its demolition facility. After its first year, Budget outgrew the training room, and removed a 12-metre wall to accommodate the ever-increasing team.

A highlight of this year’s Safety Week was the introduction of Volvo’s excavator simulator. 

Operators had the opportunity to show labourers how the machine works in a relaxed setting. 

At the end of the three-day program, all staff that attended had an opportunity to use the simulator, which provided Budget’s workforce with a greater respect for the challenges of operating excavators. As well, the simulator provided aspiring operators an opportunity to practice. The simulator provided such a quality team-building experience that Budget “seriously considered” purchasing the unit. 

“We found that it gave a greater awareness to the challenges operators face, gaining them a lot of respect,” Murray said. “In all, we found that there was an invaluable amount of talking, sharing and learning that came from having the tool at the training event.”  

The renewed approach to safety has also opened new opportunities for Budget Demolition. The changes have improved Budget’s overall market position and help attract international companies with stringent safety policies and programs as new clients.  

The safety exercises also serve as valuable team building opportunities. 

“While each event has had its own highlights, the result has been invaluable to team-building” Murray said. 

“We always have scheduled breaks with planned team building activities and prizes. We all leave with a strong sense of community and family.”