Jul 25, 2019
Protect Your Image
The number of less-than-safe construction practices I’ve seen photographed and posted on social media is rivaled only by the number of commenters mocking one another for bothering with personal protective equipment (PPE) in the heat of summer. Both of these trends should alarm human resources directors as well as safety directors, supervisors and any other person with a shred of common sense.
I know we all get a kick out of sharing stories such as “crazy things we’ve discovered in the paver hopper.” Those silly pictures don’t necessarily present a safety hazard and certainly don’t have to include a company logo or be accompanied by anyone’s name for shaming. But these pictures and posts beg the question: Should we encourage one another to show off our mistakes or to show off our triumphs?
I vote we share the positive, bonus-worthy asphalt images—even if an occasional wacky-things-found-growing-in-the-stockpile stories can be comical.
The asphalt industry with its adherence to complex mix design specifications while performing detail work with heavy equipment should be above childish behavior, yet too many company policies apparently allow random paving crewmembers to play with their smart phones while working. They further allow the crewmembers to post the results of their playtime online for competitors and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to review. Does anyone else in this industry see the folly in letting workers capture mistakes—and even hazardous conditions—for posterity?
I put it to you: It is wiser to prepare a policy that forbids the use of smart phones for activities other than work-related and to forbid workers below a set “director” grade to post pictures to social media without a foreman or supervisor’s approval.
Posting good pictures that glorify a company’s exemplary work, clean equipment and safe workers in proper PPE is a smart marketing move. That kind of imagery is worth its weight in PR gold.
Posting bad pictures that demean a co-worker or subcontractor for mistakes, broken and/or dirty equipment, and inexperienced or apathetic employees ignoring safety protocol is an unwise move.
Keep in mind, instructional videos are educational and hopefully aren’t seen as bullying in nature. But pictures posted to entice others to comment negatively are irresponsible. That kind of imagery hurts your company and the industry as a whole. It’s unfortunate to see the level of grumbling and negativity that lives in any community online; a discussion about an improved company policy could go a long way to curing pessimism in our little niche of the Internet. As you work to reprogram your workers to appreciate the job, the company, the industry, you could request they show off the good and the exemplary in asphalt production and paving.
In fact, AsphaltPro magazine has a Facebook page with which we try to request positive, good practices for conversation. Join us there and share positivity instead of a company’s marketing nightmare. We’re working toward showing the great side of the asphalt industry.