Joe DiMaggio’s 56 games …
Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive starts …
The Boston Celtics eight straight NBA titles …
While many claim those streaks may never be broken, a Herc Rentals branch in Northern California has an unbelievable streak of its own going on right now – and it arguably makes the above pale in comparison.
Herc Rentals’ on-site location in Martinez, CA, has had a string of perfect days dating back to 2010 – a time before the iPad, Uber, Fitbits, and Instagram. That’s more than 87,658 hours or 3,650 days since the branch didn’t have a perfect day.
Herc Rentals defines a “Perfect Day” as a day without any OSHA recordable incidents, no Department of Transportation violations, and no “at fault” motor vehicle accidents.
The last imperfect day at the Martinez branch was so long ago, Branch Manager Tara Sandefur can barely recall it. “All I can remember is that we were super busy during a turnaround. Our yard was full of pallets of tools and electrical cords, all sorts of things,” she said. “I just remember it had something to do with a forklift.”
Since that incident, Sandefur has reinforced safety as the focus of everyday operations. “We work as a team and we’re methodical in everything we do,” she said. “We don’t rush and there’s always lots of communication. We’re always looking out for others.”
The Martinez branch, however, isn’t the only branch in the company with a significant string of perfect days. The other branch Sandefur manages in nearby Pacheco, CA, and the Canadian branch in Calgary, AB, led by Branch Manager Cherylee Gosse, recently celebrated five years of perfect days.
Whether you’re a professional athlete pushing yourself to be great or a company attempting to improve safe work habits, becoming good at something, requires ongoing self-improvement, awareness, coaching, continuous reinforcement and practice.
“The first thing I do is strive to have a consistent safety message for my team members,” Gosse said. “We begin our huddles every morning with a safety-related message from within the team, we complete our stretch together, and we set our tone for the day. Safety has truly become our culture at this location, our team members care for one another and, at the end of the day, we all want to see each other go home the way we came to work.”
The California branches take a similar approach to safety, Sandefur said. “We all take turns being responsible for communicating the safety messages and what it means to them,” she said. “I think when you have everyone’s participation, it tends to stick better.”
Stellar safety records are also attractive to customers, said Gosse, adding that the branch’s safety record is another tool territory sales reps can use to seal a deal with a new customer or reinforce the company’s standards with an existing customer.
“It’s possible our safety record could potentially win us that new account or turnaround,” she said.
While many streaks in the sports world involve some luck, Sandefur and Gosse said that isn’t the case with Perfect Days.
“There are things you can do to improve your odds, like vehicle walkarounds to ensure nothing looks out of place, keeping drivers alert in traffic and more,” Sandefur said. “All it takes is one false move and the streak can end.”
Each and every team member needs to “Think Safety and Act Safely” all day every day, Gosse said.
“There would be no streak without following the implemented safety policies such as completing hazard assessments or inspections and keeping your mind on task,” she said. “Safety is not luck and luck does not bring safety to an individual or a team.”
In the days and weeks leading up to the anniversaries of the five and 10-year streaks, the branch managers said they spent even more time going over safety procedures, precautions while also continuing to offer incentives.
“I built my team up 30 days prior to us making our five-year mark,” Gosse said. “It was brought up many times at our morning huddles of the accomplishment that each of us was going to embark on.”
Gosse added that she wanted others to be aware of the branch’s safety achievement milestone. “I initiated a conversation with my safety team in Canada to make sure the branch was acknowledged. The Safety team came up with a plaque and a luncheon, and everyone felt recognized for their achievements,” she said. “I think it’s very important to recognize an individual or team’s accomplishments within the branch or the company.”
Sandefur also wanted to make sure her team was appreciated for their commitment to getting the job done safely and efficiently. “Giving incentives or rewards is something I always try to do,” she said. “This last milestone, we celebrated with lunch and a specialty lunch bag.”
For Sandefur and Gosse, safety and the Perfect Day mean one thing, “It’s about everyone being able to go home to their family every night,” Sandefur said.