Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What is a safety program policy?

Safety in the workplace could not be of greater importance but without the foundational policy, a company lacks a key element needed to build and maintain a strong safety program. This ISHN article plainly states four elements that are necessary for an efficient and effective safety program.
takomabiblelot, Flickr.com 

In conducting OSHA training, I’ve found a common misconception about what a safety program policy is. When asked, attendees have repeated company mission or value statements. Some don’t know what it is, or if their company even has one.
A policy statement by definition is an expectation with a consequence attached; in other words, a “work safe or else” message. A policy needs to be all inclusive and relate to a company’s safety program which has specific job processes in place and identified personal protective equipment (PPE) required.

All employees will follow all safety and health procedures, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when required. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action up to and including verbal warning, written warning and suspension.

What needs to come after this is the “How”

Click here to read more. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sales Process for Selling Hardscapes

According to this Green Industry Pros article, landscaping is a huge way to improve the worth and value of your home. Investing in larger projects like retaining walls, paver patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits/fireplaces, or a paver driveway are ways see the most return on your investment. 
Arnold Masonry and Landscape, Flickr.com

With the housing market getting better but still historically weak, it's important for landscape contractors to encourage existing homeowners to invest in landscape upgrades. Northwest Indiana contractor Mike Arnold of Creekside Landscaping couldn't agree more.

"It is so important for contractors to convince homeowners and other property owners that it is vital to their property’s worth that they invest in great landscaping," Arnold says. "If the property owner's goal is to ultimately sell the property, a fresh landscape design is a sure ticket to quick selling. An old and outdated exterior gives a negative first impression and leaves a bad taste before prospective buyers even enter the building. Then, if landlordship is the property owner’s forte, curb appeal is a must for retail, and good luck getting a quality renter in your apartments or homes without paying attention to your landscape layout."

Hardscaping fits the bill

According to Arnold, one of the best ways to bring a property’s landscape from eye sore to eye candy is through hardscape design and installation. "If done right, most of your landscape budget will be targeted toward a sophisticated mix of retaining walls, paver patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits/fireplaces, and maybe even a paver driveway," Arnold points out.

The financial value of this option is clearly in the cost of the materials and the extensive labor to install. But the value in the eye of an estimator is its permanence and capacity to be an outdoor living space. "If installed correctly, these structures will last a lifetime," Arnold says. "At Creekside Landscaping, we firmly believe that our customers should consider hardscapes because we understand the primary concern of every homeowner: growing the value of an investment."

To read the full article, click here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

API: Be Safe, Prevent Accidents, Call 811 Before Digging

We're all eager to get to spring yard work! Don't be afraid to tackle the job on your own, but be safe and do this first. According to this ISHN article, it's vital that you check to make sure you're not hitting a utility line, especially if you have not hired a professional contractor.

yael.benari, Flicker.com
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is helping to promote the seventh annual National Safe Digging Month by reminding all Americans to always call 811 before any digging project.

“Dialing 811 before you put the shovel in the ground will keep you and your neighbors safe,” said API Pipeline Director Peter Lidiak. “Striking a single utility line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how small, warrants a call to 811.

Keeping pipelines safe

“The thousands of miles of pipeline that safely crisscross this country supply Americans with the energy they need to fuel their daily lives,” said Lidiak. “To keep this infrastructure safe and reliable, we need the public’s help to prevent accidents resulting from excavation damage to pipelines.”

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

10 Most Common Lawn Care Myths

April is here and that means Spring will soon follow! Make sure you're not falling prey to myths about "good lawn care." Learn about the top 10 myths from this totallandscapecare.com article. 

Lawncare Orlando, Flickr.com
Spring is in the air, and with April being National Lawn Care Month, PLANET, The Professional Landcare Network, has debunked a few common lawn care myths. “Our job as landscape professionals is to help advise and emphasize ways to save time and money on lawn care and, oftentimes, that means we need to dispel some fairly persistent myths,” says Glenn Jacobsen, Landscape Industry Certified, president of PLANET. PLANET asked its professional landscape members to name the 10 most common lawn care myths:

1. Myth: The best time to replace the lawn is in the spring, as plants get ready to bloom.
 Reality: Sowing seed in the spring sets one up for potential problems, as heat sets in during the
 summer months and weeds compete for space. The best time to sow seed is in the fall when the
 temperatures are more consistent and highly competitive weeds, like crabgrass, have gone dormant.

2. Myth: Water new plants every day to prevent them from drying out.
 Reality: Overwatering kills as many plants as lack of water. It is better to make sure you are wetting
 the entire root system of a new plant and then allow the soil to dry to the point that it is only moist.

3. Myth: To have a healthy lawn, dethatch in the spring.
 Reality: Thatch is a layer of living and dead plant material, including the crown, roots and stems of
 the turfgrass plant. The brown on the surface at the beginning of the spring will slowly recede into
 the background all by itself as new leaves emerge. While dethatching is a common and sometimes
 necessary practice, it should be done only when thatch is excessive.

4. Myth: It’s a good idea to remove clippings after mowing.
 Reality: There is a misconception that grass clippings contribute significantly to thatch. Grass
 clippings are mostly water and decompose rapidly, returning significant amounts of fertilizer to the
 lawn. Research shows that up to one-third of applied fertilizer can be recycled by simply returning

To read the rest of the top myths, click here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Safety excellence - The six critical components

Power Pusher helps to provide safety in a working environment through their material handling tugs but safety can also be provided in a number of different ways outside of purely physical safety. Actions made in management and supervision also play an important role according to this ISHN article. Are these visible elements a part of your safety processes?

Eugene Zemlyanskiy, Flickr.com
Dr. Dan Petersen was one of the great safety pioneers of the last 50 years. His focus was consistently on developing a viable safety culture that lived safety accountabilities at all levels of the organization. Organizations fully utilizing his Six Criteria for Safety Excellence are among the leaders in safety performance. These criteria are:

Visible Upper Management Commitment to safety. In most organizations it is difficult to pry executives away from their cost, quality and customer responsibilities and have them be visible in the workplace with respect to safety. Roles, responsibilities and associated activities are essential if we are to make the executives field presence accomplishable.

Active Middle Manager Involvement in safety. It is not uncommon for organizations to have far fewer middle managers than in years past. This fact makes their active presence on a regular basis at the workface even more of a challenge. Once again, practical roles, responsibilities and activities provide guidance for these important people to make themselves known in safety where it counts most, on the front line.

To continue reading about the six critical components to safety excellence, click here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Popular Outdoor Design Trends for 2014

With many of the new 2014 landscaping trends requiring some heavy lifting, keep Power Pusher's electric wheelbarrow in mind. Take a look at a few of the up-and-coming techniques you might see this year according to this article from GreenIndustryPros.com 

Glenn Switzer, Flickr.com
Consumers are spending money on residential landscapes, especially those used to relax and socialize. Commonly known as outdoor living spaces, these types of landscape projects, along with sustainable and low-maintenance landscaping, are the most popular among consumers in 2014, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

Landscape architects who specialize in residential design were asked to rate the popularity of different landscaping elements. Roughly 94% said "gardens and landscape spaces" were either somewhat or very popular. Coming in second at 92% were "kitchens and entertainment spaces". Third was "outdoor recreation" at 76%.

Additionally, the following specific residential landscaping elements were noted as being "in demand" this year:

Lighting – 98%
Seating/Dining Areas – 97.7%
Fire Pits/Fireplaces – 95%
Grills – 94%
Installed Seating – 90% (includes benches, walls, ledges, steps and boulders)

To continue reading about more common 2014 trends, click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Four Keys to Igniting Employee Potential

"Engagement doesn’t happen by accident": a quote from Roxana Hewertson's article from Construction Business Owner. The base of any good working environment comes from productive and engaged employees who will champion your brand and your services. That's why it is so important to improve in this area and learn how to create a work culture that welcomes and rewards high-performers. 
Taki Steve, Flickr.com

When do you feel truly engaged at work? Chances are it’s when you believe in what you are doing, you are actively involved and you enjoy the people you work with. You are truly engaged when you are fully present, committed to the task at hand and enjoying what you are doing.

Research has long proven that engaged employees lead to more successful and profitable businesses. In 2012, a Dale Carnegie study found that of the 1,500 employees studied, only 29 percent were fully engaged, 25 percent were disengaged and 45 percent were only partially engaged. These results reflect many other credible studies conducted during the last ten years that show that, time after time, 50 percent or more of employees in all industries are dissatisfied at work and less than fully engaged.

Employee engagement is often lumped into the bucket of “soft, touchy-feely” human resource topics, but the “hard reality” is that flawed management practices and failed leadership contribute significantly to employee disengagement—and disengaged employees are unproductive and unprofitable employees, resulting in a negative financial impact. Engaged employees are more productive and deliver better customer service and higher quality work, all of which result in better branding, reputation and financial success for their employers. Every drop of discretionary effort impacts your bottom line. Whenever an employee contributes beyond what he or she must do to keep the job, you get more time and productivity than you are paying for.

Continue reading to find the 4 main keys: click here. <