Wednesday, at Lewis Tree Service, is now Drill Day. On Drill Day, we are creating the space to practice simple tasks that have the potential to cause serious injuries. And, as it turns out, we’re having fun in the process. Some of the drills have included a) dropping limbs from heights onto watermelons (with and without hardhats) to see the aftermath firsthand and make risk real, b) racing teams of new vs. experienced crews to set-up a drop zone and conducting an After-Action Review to discuss what went well, what didn’t, what surprised us, etc., c) using a branch to estimate felling distance before dropping a small tree—and competing for who is the most accurate.
We’re discovering that, in addition to having fun and strengthening team camaraderie, the benefits to Drill Day are many. We are:
- Helping people experience the physicality of their actions and work environments
- Providing an opportunity for new workers to ask questions and understand the WHY behind our safety practices
- Working through how to handle variability while learning more effectively that every tree, job site, weather condition, terrain, knowledge base, level of experience and situation is different
- Engaging leadership around “work as done” vs. “work as planned” while gaining a better understanding of the drivers that present a difference between the two
- Discovering gaps in the system
- Bringing safety and operations close together (not delegating safety)
“These drills are really making an impact. The craft workers are learning—soaking it all in like sponges— and they appreciate the coaching and training. It's awesome to see the teams learn something new to keep them safe and out of the line of fire! It’s my new, favorite day of the week.” —Safety Specialist, Lewis Tree Service
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of the UAA Utility Arborist Newsline.