The Most Important Element of Your Septic Service Business’s Success

You do a lot of hard work to make your business successful but if you’re not focused on one key element, you’re taking a huge risk

The Most Important Element of Your Septic Service Business’s Success

Interested in Safety?

Get Safety articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Safety + Get Alerts

You do a lot of things for your business to be successful — expensive equipment, hard work, lots of hours and then more hours.

In our industry, just in a small radius of miles around my office location, several people have either died on the job, or had such catastrophic injuries that their ability to ever work again was ended. 

Not one, not two, I can think of five just off the top of my head, and quite close by. None of us wishes that on anybody. And most people think there’s no way it could happen to them. But unfortunately it does happen way more than any of us care to think. Are you prepared? Do you take the proper precautions to minimize that potential emergency? Are you able to prove you’ve done everything that is required of you as an employer? Do you even know the minimums required of you as an employer?

Safety should not be about the minimum; it should be your foundational, overarching principle above all else. You do not wish any harm on any of your employees, so prove it not by doing the minimum, but by building your entire core focus on their safety. That first sentence in bold — you don’t believe it? Ask Brian L. Fielkow and James T. Schultz, who wrote a book together titled Leading People Safely. Fielkow was hired at a trucking company that was not profitable and ready to close their doors. When Fielkow realized the number of deaths and injuries that the company sustained each year, he immediately made safety the No. 1 focus and goal of the company. Not only did the company turn around, it quickly became one of the most successful in the region, and even charged higher prices than the competition. He credits their focus on safety as the biggest reason for their outstanding success. Their book gives great ideas about running a company safely, but the bottom line is simple: YOU have to really care. If you are giving safety lip service because you think you have to, that will show through.

Does your company have a safety plan? Your company is required to have a safety plan. And every employee better know where it is and what it is if they are asked. 

Does your company have a hazard communications plan? If someone should walk into your business and ask you this question and you look at them like a deer in headlights, please know that could be a big problem. You are required to have a hazard communications plan. You remember MSDS sheets (now SDS sheets). Do your employees know what they are, where they are and how to use them? Just having the plan does not make you compliant. Every employee needs to be trained on your safety plan, your hazard communication plan, where the SDS sheets are located, on what an SDS sheet is and why they are important. You must have proof that each employee was trained to practice hazard communication. 

How often do you have safety meetings/safety training for your employees? My company’s goal is to have monthly safety meetings and safety training. Do we get a meeting in all twelve months? We try. Some years during the busy season we sometimes miss a month or two. We keep hard files and electronic files of every safety meeting, the date, what was discussed and trained and a copy of the sign-in sheet verifying who attended. We bring third-party safety professionals in once per year to evaluate our safety program and to teach everybody more than we can on our own. We bring in professionals in trucking; if you employ CDL drivers, that’s an entire separate article about the documentation, training, testing, reviewing their records, etc. We bring in general safety professionals to teach us about hazard communication. We’ve brought in tool companies to teach specific safety regarding the different types of saws and tools we use. Don’t think you are required to provide safety training on every tool your employees use? Think again. We’ve brought in experts on load securement. Employees at our company are trained and certified in load securement.

Do you have a trench safety/OSHA competent person? If your crew will ever dig deeper than 4 feet, someone on that crew is required to be an OSHA-competent person. This required training and certification helps that person better understand the potential hazards to watch for, and how to best protect the crew and public from potential site issues. Do you have a daily site safety checklist that your competent person fills out and do you maintain these reports, even if archived electronically? Do you have the proper shoring and/or trench boxes required? Any time my company hires a person, one of the very first things we do is have the new hire attend a six-hour trench safety/competent person training and certification course through United Rentals. Their training not only includes a great class, but the very thick bound manual they provide is second to none that I’ve ever seen. The amount of information in the manual is worth the price of the class. Of course, this is merely my opinion, but I think everyone working in onsite and sewer-related work should be trained as a competent person.

Have you provided confined space entry training? That new person I just hired? The second certification they get immediately upon starting is confined-space entry. We also have our employees receive their confined-space entry training through United Rentals. Even if an employee might never enter a tank or a confined space, I want them to be aware of the dangers of confined spaces and the best methods of minimizing their risk. This also allows a person who might never enter a tank to be the top person for someone else who is entering the tank.

The above is just the bare minimum. Safety is not about the bare minimum; it’s about the lives and well being of those you work with every day. 

If the word "safety" was in the title of this article, would you have just skipped it? 


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.