DSC leadership takes pie-in-the-face while promoting safety culture

Published 12:04 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

RESERVEIn 2018, the family-owned USA based custom dredge manufacturer, DSC Dredge, found themselves walking the same tightrope as most in the manufacturing industry.  As projects increased work hours amplified and it was inevitable that their in-house safety team would be challenged to keep up with the new pace.

“Safety has always been No.1 here at DSC, and while we are confident our team members were satisfied with the working conditions and felt safe from injuries, complacency can set in when you aren’t paying close attention,” commented Nicky Giarratano, VP of manufacturing for DSC Dredge.  “Over the last five years, our workload has continued to grow and along with that increases the opportunity for us to reassess how we do things and why.”

Having a strong safety culture within an organization promotes more than safety. It benefits worker confidence and retention, organizational behavior, and even productivity. According to OSHA, developing a strong safety culture has the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any process. And DSC didn’t want complacency to set in.

“We did the training, the JSAs, the Toolbox Talks.  We tracked certifications, and encouraged professional growth.  We had a strong safety culture.  But as we got busier, we paused and asked ourselves… do we really?  Can we do better? We took a step back and looked at what we were doing, what was working and made sure to redefine what safety looks like for us. Engagement is huge for our staff. When our staff stops being engaged, that’s when complacency is starting to set in,” shared Bob Wetta, president and chief executive officer for DSC Dredge.  “We knew that there was no reason that we couldn’t make safety fun… and that’s just what we’re doing!”

So, in the name of fun, 11 DSC leaders ranging from front-line supervisors all the way to DSC ownership, took a pie in the face last week as part of the company’s ongoing incentivized safety program helping to kick off the new year.

“There is a metaphor of a manager taking a ‘pie in the face’ that tells a team that you always have their back, especially when things are challenging. Strong leaders don’t throw ‘their employees under the bus’… or duck to avoid getting hit in the face with a pie. Great leaders understand that if they want to keep their team aligned and committed to them, they might have to risk taking a pie in the face now and again. In fact, great leaders always take the pie in the face and turn those moments into coaching opportunities,” shared Christina Bolling, VP and chief administrative officer with DSC Dredge. “The holidays are always a time when participation in safety programs start to slow down. People are eager to for the holidays; focused on other things. So, to keep them engaged, we provided them a little motivation that was hard to say no to. And our leadership team stepped up.”

Bolling went on to share that all employees who remained proactively engaged in DSC’s safety program during the month of December 2021 were entered into a drawing. Eleven lucky team members were selected to choose the DSC Leader of their choice to pie in the face during a special lunch last week.  Individuals chosen included DSC’s two owners, Bob and Bill Wetta, along with various operational supervisors, managers, directors and VPs across the company and all leadership tiers.

“The guys were looking forward to this all month long,” commented Jeremy Clausen and Mike Dickerson, corporate HSE assistant managers. “It speaks highly of our leadership team that they are so willing to participate in events like this.  It shows the team that we are all one… no one takes themselves too seriously or holds themselves to a different level.  That makes a difference to the team.”

Throughout the past few years, DSC has continued to get creative when it comes to their health, safety and environmental programs. In the month of December, the company gave away thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts promoting proactive safety engagement across the company. But it’s not all just fun and games. Leaders set the tone and the culture. If leaders aren’t embracing the safety culture, then no one else will. Leadership needs to be consistent with its focus and its message. Consistent messages and reinforcement builds trust in the culture and in relationships. It shows that your workplace is serious about safety. DSC is about safety but also know how to have a little fun.

DSC is a global leader in the dredge manufacturing industry, engineering superior customized dredging solutions to meet specific application needs, while continuing to exceed customer expectations. DSC Dredge designs and manufactures high quality, durable cutter suction dredges. At DSC Dredge, we help customers make THE RIGHT CHOICE.  Quality, innovation, service, commitment and customization are key DSC attributes which explain why customers choose to work with DSC.  DSC Dredge operates from three manufacturing facilities located in Reserve, Poplarville, Mississippi, and Greenbush, Michigan.  For more information about the company and its products, services and customized solutions, please visit www.dscdredge.com.