Yep! Earned my OSHA Construction Safety and Health Card a little over a year ago. Am I proud of it? Probably — just a little. If you sit through several days of training on what you should and should not do on a ladder or in a ditch on a construction site, you would be just a bit! (I do a variety of things to better understand the clients’ needs.)

The training spread across three Fridays and for the most part, I was the only female in the room with 20 burly men. My presence in the room was making these guys uncomfortable. It was obvious in their body language. They would joke around and make comments to one another. If one worker thought the other was saying something inappropriate he would elbow the guy next to him. They would both turn around and look at me out of the corner of their eye.

I have to admit that I was uncomfortable at first, too. When these men realized that they could talk without me becoming offended they relaxed and were quite fun. During donuts and coffee breaks I was able to get to know them better.

These were hard-working guys who did what they needed to do to get the job done to “take the paycheck home.” According to their stories, it was not always in the safest of ways — thus the OSHA training.

I learned more about Human Capital through this training than I did on how to mark and safely secure a hole in the ground.

Human Capital was the lifeblood of this business — these guys not only represented the business, they were the business. This company had to take care of their employees because their employees were taking care of them.

Every company who has employees MUST take care of them. It is a good business strategy to always be thinking and asking, “What do my employees need?” If you have happy employees, 90% of the time you will have happy customers. Taking care of your employees just makes good business sense.

And YES, now I can properly secure a ladder to the side of my house.

Heidi Shadel is a Cumberland business owner and graduate of Frostburg State University with a masters in business administration. She believes in small business and the power that it holds in America’s economy, especially having a passion for helping small businesses succeed within the tri-state region. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter at Heidi Shadel @heidiann73.

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