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The Unified Group Addresses Safety Culture, Diversity in the Workplace During Annual Safety Directors Forum

In June, members of The Unified Group gathered from 12 different states to attend the 2021 Safety Directors Forum — the group’s first in-person networking event since the start of the pandemic. Attendees were energized to meet new members and rekindle professional relationships when they met at The Hotel Contessa in Texas after months of virtual meetings.

Members mingle during Safety Directors Forum
Members mingle during Safety Directors Forum

Gary Glader of The Horton Group, based in Orland Park, IL, began the forum with a presentation on improving the safety culture within organizations by creating positive relationships with employees. His topics included general contractors and safety, aging workforce issues/solutions and OSHA compliance. Later, members broke into smaller groups to talk about their own safety cultures and share best practices. Robert Fisher of Air Comfort Corporation ended the first day’s session by sharing valuable information on stress in the workplace.

Employees’ safety takes commitment and dedication from all levels of the company, including new hires. This requires a comprehensive onboarding process that includes safety training and orientation. On day two of the forum, Dave Ude of Air Controls and Scott Martello of Intech Mechanical how they instill safety values in new hires, while Dawn Bridges of Wiegmann Associates and Dennis Gardner of Johnson & Jordan, Inc. discussed their safety communication within and outside of their organizations.

“Getting this amount of knowledge present in one room and professionals who are willing to share is amazing,” said member Brian Scott of Mechanical Service & Systems, Inc.
Additional topics discussed during the second day’s session included fleet safety, training processes and the benefits of Paychex software as part of a workplace safety solution.

On the last day, Paul Benson of Midstate Energy/Veregy demonstrated through screenshots how efficient and user-friendly SiteDocs for Safety and Project Documents computer software is for his company. Erica Peet of VHV Company said her company’s reinstated safety committee has been effective for overall performance, and Johnny Lucas of Cullum Mechanical Construction gave details on his training program for equipment users.

One of our industry’s hottest topics, diversity in the workplace, rounded out the topics discussed, and members had the opportunity to reveal their personal experiences and gain insight on ways to cultivate and support a more diverse environment.

Overall, the 2021 Safety Directors Forum was a success for The Unified Group and its members. Each participant left Texas with a list of new methods they are excited to implement upon return to their own companies.

About The Unified Group
Formed in 1998, The Unified Group is an organization of the leading independent HVAC commercial contractors in the industry. The association helps strengthen its member businesses through a variety of training and resources and is dedicated to raising the standards of excellence in the HVACR industry. For more information, visit www.theunifiedgroup.com.