BROADVIEW, Ill. — 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 met at The Hotel Contessa in Texas after months of virtual meetings.

Gary Glader of The Horton Group, based in Orland Park, Illinois, 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 information on stress in the workplace.

On day two of the forum, Dave Ude of Air Controls and Scott Martello of Intech Mechanical discussed 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 the value of 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.

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.

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