I had an interesting chat recently with Jonathan Wolf, the president of Tecta America Zero Company, LLC, with offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky. For the full story on the company, click here.

Like most conversations about roofing, we touched on the topic of safety, and I was impressed with the steps Wolf’s company had taken throughout its history to ensure a safe workplace. Tecta America Zero Company instituted drug testing in the early 90s before it was required for federal work, and at the same time put in an employee assistance plan. Wolf helped found a safety co-op — On-site Consultation Program’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) — in his area. In the late 90s the company hired its own full-time safety professional. “Being safe elevates the level of professionalism and elevates the industry,” Wolf said.

Wolf told me all employees at the company have their 10-hour OSHA training within 6 months of hiring, their 30-hour OSHA training by one year, and their CPR certificate at 12 months. New employees have rigorous safety training prior to first stepping on the roof, and the company shuts down for annual safety day — or make that two annual safety days, one in Cincinnati and one in Louisville.

He set up separate meetings for English and Spanish-speaking workers. “I made a vow that if it was important to everyone, there would be equal treatment,” he said. “The first year we did it I sat in the Spanish room all day.” Wolf, who had a little Spanish instruction in high school, estimates he understood about 10 percent of the content.

 If the president of a company who is intimately familiar with the topic understood only 10 percent of the content from a safety seminar in Spanish, how much are your Spanish-speaking employees retaining if their seminars are held only in English?