08/22/20

5 Ways Osburn is Trailblazing A Better Way

HERB SANTOS

Director of Safety at OSBURN

If there’s one thing I’ve determined throughout my career, it’s that I want to work around people who test limits, challenge innovation and shape the future. I want to work with trailblazers.

I stumbled into the field of safety and have worked across industries from healthcare to cosmetics manufacturing to research & development. When I was in school for my master’s degree in environmental & occupational health sciences, I studied under trailblazers in the field of safety. At that moment, I realized that it was important for me to work with people who are trailblazers themselves. The trailblazing spirit is a vibrant feature of the Osburn Contractors Co.

1. Trailblazers Strive for Excellence

When I interviewed for the Director of Safety job, I found Osburn’s executive team to be vibrant, energetic, passionate and dynamic. They were the kind of people I wanted to surround myself with. They inspired me because of their track record of success, their quality of work, and positive reputation in the industry. My goal is to ensure the safety department and personnel match the energy, passion, and level of excellence found throughout Osburn. The Osburn leadership team goes well above and beyond what is expected of them – they set and achieve goals while raising the bar moving frequently. To me, that’s the very definition of excellence. It’s finding gratitude in what you’ve accomplished and always seeking ways to improve systems and processes.

2. Trailblazers ‘Find A Better Way’

One of the things that I absolutely love at Osburn has been the guiding principle, “Find a Better Way.” It is the idea that when we face an obstacle, there is always a solution. We may not have thought of it yet, but it’s there, and we will. This is when coming together as a team is so crucial. Most of the time we can come up with solutions on our own, but when we collaborate as a team, we are able to pull from the experience and expertise of many. That is when the true trailblazing begins. Through this process we are always questioning, “How can we do it better? How can we do it safer? How can we improve quality? How can we be more efficient?” This goes for anything from project management to engineering.

3. Trailblazers Take Ownership

One of the challenges I see, specifically in safety, is that things are often not at the level where you want them to be. Successes in safety typically plateau, with a downward slope on the back end if the energy driving success is not maintained. The goal is to minimize any plateau in safety culture and focus by applying the departments energy to ensuring that we are constantly looking for ways to improve all aspects of our business. At Osburn we aim to never blame the circumstances, rather we are proud to be held accountable for the way we perform and the outcomes of that – especially when it comes to safety. To take ownership, it starts by identifying and owning up to where the areas for continuous improvement area.

One of the practices that has stood out as a fundamental aspect of success is the post incident root cause review applied by great organizations such as NASA. Whether a mission is considered a success or failure, key personnel gather round and share what the lessons learned during a mission which can be further evaluated. This allows the identification of key elements which lead to a success and most importantly, those factors which lead to failure that can be further dissected and corrective actions made to ensure similar failures do not occur. They take ownership – it is this kind of dialogue that creates trust and growth going forward. At Osburn, we determine and look at the root causes of our downfalls, frequently analyze continuous improvement opportunities, and feverishly work to find solutions that will not just lead to quick success but also sustain the energy necessary to overcome any safety plateaus. Instead of sliding back toward that downward slope at the end of the plateau, we elevate. Personal ownership is a key component of the success at Osburn and one that will continue to find areas for continuous improvement.

4. Trailblazers Find Great Partners

Osburn is a piece of a larger team. We can’t build alone. On site, there are GC’s, subcontractors, and craftsmen all moving toward the same goal of completing a project with a focus on quality, production, and safety. From a safety lens, the construction industry is one of the most dynamic and ever-changing environments to work in. Successful risk mitigation requires constant and clear communication amongst many work crews, key partnerships, and a vested interest from all for safety. High Horsepower Partnerships is not just a slogan, it is a requirement for success at Osburn.

In my experience Osburn has created long lasting, value added, and positive partnerships throughout the organization and externally. Whenever I or anyone from Osburn meets with vendors, consultants, and other 3rd party personnel for business the conversations and tones turn warm, pleasant, and typically include lots of laughter. That positive interaction and energy is noted even when the business interactions occur remotely where laughs, smiles, and digital high-fives are routine. That positivity carrys throughout the business interactions and trickles into the day to day activities and interactions at Osburn. That positivity truly allows our partnerships at Osburn to create personal relationships resulting each party looking after each other beyond any expectations. One example includes our extremely fast turn around attaining PPE and other equipment related to COVID which has been challenging for other organizations to attain the materials. Our partners were quick to respond, went above and beyond processing our large inventory request, and delivering items in a record time. All of this was possible due to our key focus on building High Horsepower Partnerships.

5. Trailblazers Learn from the Past & Always Look Forward

As an Industrial Hygienist one of the skillsets that I have been educate on includes mitigating risk(s) related to biological hazards. I have been fortunate enough of to participate as a member of the Ebola Response Team for a large healthcare system in the northeast. Prior to that, my experience addressing biological hazards also included participating in the response team during the H1N1 pandemic. In most instances pandemics are a rare occasion which may be a once in a lifetime event but in my career it has unfortunately become rather normalized. The positive takeaway from my prior experiences is that when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit U.S. soil I felt knowledgeable enough to provide technical insight on potential risk mitigation strategies. At Osburn this information and experience was received with an eagerness to protect personnel from COVID-19. Partnering up with the leadership team at Osburn, we have created an aggressive COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan mimicking industry best standards and the most up-to-date scientific information.

Analyzing scientific documents and data is a skillset that is required as an Industrial Hygienist. That skillset has proven valuable to Osburn such as when Mr. Daniel Harris, COO, requested that I provide weekly COVID update highlighting Texas, U.S., and global trends. This challenging request was an exciting proposition for me and one I was prepared to deliver to the Osburn Team. Weekly updates are provided after reviewing trending and up-to-date medical, scientific, and industry related data and providing a summary of the reviewed information. Mr. Harris’ request was to provide an unbiased perspective on COVID related information and to disseminate it throughout the Oburn organization so that our personnel can stay informed. My experience with biological hazards has proven to be essential in my current role.

I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to join the team of trailblazers at Osburn Contractors. I am inspired to continue my career here with people who consistently push for excellence, focus on finding a better way, taking ownership of their actions, building solid relationships with partners, and those who learn from the past to continue building a stronger and safer future.