October 2014

Going The Distance

Meet a leading Oregon health and safety professional

Company: Selectemp Employment Services. Offices in Albany, Bend, Clackamas, Medford, Roseburg, Salem, and Springfield

Duane R. Grange

Safety and Human Resources Director: Duane R. Grange

Workforce: Approximately 4,500

Common Hazards: Depending on the assignment, temporary workers can be exposed to a variety of hazards such as slips, trips, and falls; strains and sprains; eye hazards; slivers; repetitive motion; lockout/tagout; machine hazards; moving equipment; noise levels; working at heights; traffic; confined space; silica; and respirator protection.

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What is your background and safety philosophy?

I spent the first 23 years of my career in the timber industry as a logger and took an interest in safety in 1986. At that time, I overheard my employer, Ted Phibbs, owner of Rose Logging, make a comment about how much it hurt him to hear that there were 27 loggers who died that year. I had only worked for Ted for two weeks when I injured my back at home over Christmas break and the doctor wanted me to be off a week. While at home, I came up with a concept that I thought could address Ted's concern and presented it to him and his wife Rosie. Ted met with a few other local logging companies, including Weyerhaeuser and Future Logging, and from those meetings, the Oregon Loggers Training Association (OLTA) was established. It had one purpose – to improve safety for loggers. Rose Logging created a safety position for me, which at that time was unusual for small logging companies. It allowed us to continue working with OLTA. In 1999, OLTA received the GOSH Association award.

In 1995, I had the good fortune to join Selectemp Employment Services as the director of safety and human resources. During my tenure at Selectemp, the company became the first staffing service and the 10th overall employer in Oregon to graduate from Oregon OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

I'm not much of a philosopher, more of a doer, because I feel your actions say more about you than what you say. The bottom line is that safety matters to me because I care, and I wish I could make it so no one would have to go through what I've experienced. I haven't shared this with anyone, not even my wife of 28 years, until now:

In the early '80s when I was logging (prior to Rose Logging), the company I was with had a safety meeting that morning with all of its logging crews. I happened to sit between two friends of mine who worked together on a two-man crew, clearing right-of-ways. After the safety meeting, we all proceeded out into the brush to start our day. I was also on a two-man crew, clearing right-of-ways, about three miles from where my friends were working. We later received a radio call asking us to bring our chainsaw, because they needed our help.

Upon our arrival, we noticed that one of them was pinned between two old-growth logs, and the only visible sign was his wrists and hands sticking out above the logs in his last act to reach safety. Once the logs were removed, I provided CPR and then cradled his lifeless body in my arms until the paramedics arrived as tears streamed down my face with thoughts of the last thing he said to me and of his family and the uncertainty that they were about to face, alone without a husband and father. This was the longest two hours of my life.

If I had a personal safety philosophy, this would be it: Valuing safety is a choice, therefore, I will always strive to make a difference.

Explain how Selectemp prepares its workers to begin jobs in different environments?

Selectemp is not going to knowingly put someone in harm's way or require them to accept unsafe working conditions. All of our candidates go through a rigorous, in-depth screening process before we agree to represent them. Our staffing managers conduct interviews with each qualified applicant to determine skill level, qualifications, interests, and goals.

After an interview, workers must go through our safety assessment, which covers the importance of asking for instructions before attempting to perform a task or operating equipment with which they are unfamiliar and notifying their supervisor (client/host employer) if they are unsure how to perform their job or feel something is not safe. We encourage the worker to let Selectemp know so that we can follow up. We also review our accident/incident reporting procedures. Workers must notify Selectemp prior to driving a motor vehicle or working over 6 feet off the ground or lifting anything over 50 pounds, observe job site safety policies, especially those concerning operation of equipment and working with hazardous materials, using the proper tools for the task, and wearing the required safety equipment.

We make regular contact with our employees once they start working. We also interact with employees when they pick up their weekly checks. We seek opportunities for accolades, encouragement, evaluations, counseling, and coaching. People not currently on assignment are directed to call in weekly to assess their availability and share any additional skills and/or experience they may have acquired.

Describe your relationship with host employers/clients and how you work together to address safety concerns?

Matching talent with opportunity is our No. 1 goal and the added value services reinforce our partnership with host employers. We strive to offer our clients the best service possible while assisting companies to be in compliance and be aware of the ever-changing state and federal rules and regulations.

The training that I've received while at Selectemp has taught me that how we communicate with each other is the foundation of bonding and building rapport. You can make a favorable net impression if you are viewed as competent, credible, compassionate, and likeable. The odds are that long after the details of the message are forgotten, you will be remembered. This is important because people who tend to like and trust one another will be heard and understood. Know your message, your audience, and how it ties in with your goal of providing a safe and healthy work environment. Communication is key. We not only listen to our employees, clients, and staff, we hear what they have to say.

You have been involved in the Oregon SHARP Alliance for nine years. What do you get out of participating?

Selectemp joined the alliance in 2005 and I got involved after some alliance members urged me to be part of the organization. I had no knowledge of who this group was, let alone what they did, so my answer to them was, "Tell me why I want to sit around telling each other how good we are." After they shared with me their goals and objectives, this was a group that I knew I needed to be a part of.

We continually share ideas, concepts, and existing programs. For instance, when I was assisting a construction client with revising their lockout/tagout program, I remembered the alliance had construction industry members who could possibly help. I gave a couple of them a call and before I got back to my office, they had sent copies of their written programs with the offer to replicate them and put the program into practice. I feel this is one of the premier organizations that I've ever had the privilege and honor of being associated with.

What advice do you have for other safety and health managers hoping to make a difference?

For many businesses, there are peaks in their hiring cycles due to special projects and/or seasonal factors. This can pose a challenge to the human resource department, which must often hire a large amount of temporary workers for a specified period of time to meet demands and end their assignments within a few days, weeks, or months later when the work ends. Businesses also utilize staffing services to see if the worker is a good fit for their company before they roll them onto their payroll.  ▉

Here are some tips for getting the most out of hiring temporary workers:

Work with a temporary/ staffing service/agency

Staffing services offer temporary, part-time, and full-time opportunities to job seekers. Often, there are a wide range of skill sets and people who have experience that exceeds the average entry-level candidate. Plus, a staffing service can handle all the hiring details, such as payroll, one-on-one interviews, etc. It is critical that the client/host employer provide site-specific training that is the same that would be done for full-time employees (hazard recognition, issue the appropriate personal protective equipment, etc.)

Communicate clear job descriptions and expectations

Before you bring any temporary workers on board, make sure your job descriptions and expectations of roles are clearly written out and explained to candidates. It's imperative that the temporary agency visit/tour the job sites to ensure a safe and healthy work environment exists. Maintaining a continued relationship with its employees helps the temporary agency ensure that their worker can share concerns.

Don't just train your employees

Educate them as to how the job is to be done safely, why it's being done, who is involved, and when (timeline).

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