Safety, Certifications, Licenses: Get them to work FOR you
I recently completed an OSHA 30 course for a residential housing developer in Wrentham, MA. Yes, you read this correctly: I taught a 4-day, 30-hour course for all this firm’s foremen and sub-contractors. It always impresses me when I see an organization that raises the bar of safety expectations beyond legal minimum requirements. And no, this training was not for a publicly funded project where it would be mandatory. This is simply how this developer operates — he mandates safety training for his crews. How many of you can say you require your subs and foremen to obtain this level of training if they want to work for you?
The average size of each of his sub-contracting firms was less than 7 people. This developer generally does not build mansions but rather many entry level or even above-55 projects — so put away your first comment of how they must build big expensive homes. As I drove through one of their on-going developments with the firm’s head project manager, we stopped at several sites focusing on safety issues first, then production. Placing safety first is a message he tirelessly pushes to everyone — and it seems the message is finally bearing fruit. Where does a 30-year old get this value? His dad taught him well and now, as the head project manager, Matt is taking it to the next level.
“These guys work hard for us — and us for them. It’s a partnership. We need them healthy to continue to build our projects. You can’t produce when your crews are in the emergency room and, contrary to what people believe, you can’t replace crews as easily as it sounds. Bringing a new crew on-site requires months of getting them up to speed on both quality and safe work practices — and time is money. Money that you did not earn during the ramping up period of a new contractor.”
I left Matt and could have hugged him – HE GETS IT! (Hey, Tom! You should be proud – you done good!).
Matt is getting the OSHA 30 certification to work for him. He’s using it to reduce injuries which keeps his crews on site more often than off, and I imagine he’s seen a nice reduction in his worker’s comp premiums.
Expanding Your Business
But as you know, Matt’s focus on safety is not the standard. I get it. Certifications, licenses, training… All seem to take time and resources away from running your business. Yet, even if these things were not required by a variety of state and federal agencies, I know that smart business people (like you!) understand how important they are and how they can be used to expand the business — even when you resent the time they take away from running your business.
So why am I wasting your time telling you what you already know? Because you’re a busy professional. It’s easy to forget to expand when you’re busy keeping up. So let me give you another example.
Work on MA income properties?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a certification called Moderate Risk Deleader (MRD), which is in addition to the Lead Safe Renovator-Supervisor certificate (otherwise known as the Massachusetts version of the EPA RRP Rule). MRD certification is important if you work on income property in Massachusetts rented to families with children under the age of six (6). Why?
- Because when the lead hazards being encountered can affect the health of the tenants, it is considered a deleading job (known as abatement outside Massachusetts), not a renovation job, AND
- Your client seeks a Letter of Compliance issued by a Massachusetts licensed Lead Inspector or Risk Assessor and it cannot be obtained if this work is done by a LSR-S (MA RRP) renovator. It MUST be done by a deleader.
By getting this additional MRD certification (and the class is only 4 hours), your business can now, legally, work on Massachusetts income properties seeking a Letter of Compliance. Once you have this certification, you will have just expanded your business. I am amazed at how few remodelers venture into this added level of competency. It’s an additional client service that can positively impact your bottom line — it’s certification that is working for you.
Work for General Contractors or Property Maintenance Firms?
Ever notice the better firms are expecting your crew to follow OSHA requirements? I know of some (especially this one firm in Wrentham, MA) who will not allow you to even bid there work without your crews having earned an OSHA 10 hour card with Foremen having the OSHA 30.
Work on commercial sites? These are the minimum entry level. Hope your safety and health plan is up to date.
Work with concrete?
Silica dust has become the lead of today.
The regulations regarding safe work practices and protection have been seriously changed to a level equal to lead exposures. Several of our clients are already dealing with site inspections that will undoubtedly lead to fines. Could you tell your potential client how your work practices will protect them from a jobsite shutdown?
If remodeling older homes doesn’t interest you, think of my friend Matt. Focusing on the level of safety training you expect everyone to have in your organization just may improve your company’s reputation, which generally leads to more clients. You should hear Matt’s subs when he’s out of the room:
“Yes it’s a pain to do — mainly because no one else in this area who we also work for makes us do this. But now it’s getting to be habit forming and our other customers are noticing a change in how we work as well — seems like we are getting a good reputation in our area because of this.”
A good reputation = better clients = expanded profitable business.
Not everyone has what it takes to be one of the top ten percenters, yet everyone claims they want to be.
See how you can get that certification and training to work for you?
Make that Certification Training Work For You
So there you have it. The examples I cited are just a few of the ways you can make licenses, certifications, and training work for you to easily expand your business.
While I wish I could, I simply can’t cover every instance here. However, I’m quite sure you folks are experts as to what certifications are available and necessary in areas. Make sure you keep a good relationship with your local regulatory bodies, read the local and state laws, find out what certifications, training, and/or licenses naturally fit with what you already do. And then expand that business! The opportunity is there. Make that training, those licenses and certifications, work for you – TELL YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENTS ABOUT YOUR TRAINING. I bet this alone will separate you from your competition.
Speaking of opportunity, we at LeadSMART are here to help. If you have a question on RRP or OSHA certifications, a site situation or even an upcoming project, feel free to email the LeadSMART TEAM. Our help is free of charge and we are not EPA or OSHA agents so we welcome you to speak freely. Located in Southern New Hampshire and covering CT, MA, ME, NH, and VT, you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay Healthy and Profitable,
Peter & The LeadSMART Team