May 31, 2022

A People First Culture Means a Safety First Culture


To be the best rental business in the industry, we have to be the safest in the industry,” — EquipmentShare CEO Jabbok Schlacks. 

At the very basic level – if we aren’t keeping our people safe, how can we claim to be a People First workplace? A safe work environment is the number one priority at EquipmentShare. With nearly 3,500 employees at more than 115 locations across the country working with equipment in various ways, it’s vital to know how to take the right precautions to get every job done safely. At EquipmentShare, the individual health and success of employees is always at the forefront of every decision. 

“We thrive on the success of those team members who are so important and critical to our mission as an organization,” said Byron Adkins, Safety and Department of Transportation Compliance Director. 

Adkins recently joined the EquipmentShare team and brings more than 30 years of experience in the equipment rental industry from a safety, health and DOT compliance role.

“My passion is people, families, the community and those driving beside our vehicles on the highway, and ensuring that we are demonstrating the best-in-class behavior behind the wheel when driving,” said Adkins.

Adkins said he was deeply interested in the People First culture of EquipmentShare.

“Making sure people get home safe and asking employees to stop what they are doing — no matter what it is— if they see something unsafe says a lot about our leadership. I’m beyond proud to work for a company and a leader who puts people first over anything else,” said Adkins.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 1,061 construction fatalities were reported in 2019, accounting for one in five worker deaths that year. 

Equipmentshare is committed to bringing the total number of fatal occupational injuries down to zero in the construction industry by making safety the number one priority.

One of his goals as Safety and DOT Compliance Director is to develop a stronger training curriculum for employees.

“I think it’s very, very important to be able to support the development of an individual to then move up that career ladder within the organization to achieve their highest level of aspiration,” Adkins said. 

Ensuring all employees are set up for success is important to Adkins, not only in their current role, but also for the future. Giving employees more resources and opportunities to grow within the company is one of his objectives.

“Not only do you have a role that we’re expecting you to perform today, we’re going to support you in doing that,” Adkins said. “But, we’re also going to provide a clear path for personal and professional development that may lead you to a higher level in your career.” 

Senior Safety Manager Keith Odom said it’s in both employees’ and customers’ best interest to work safely. 

“When you work safely, you’re more efficient, you get more work done and we do it with less stress,” said Odom. “It’s swimming with efficient strokes versus splashing around.”

For DOT Compliance Analyst Megan Smith, advocating for employees and their safety means giving everyone the best chance at returning home to their loved ones every single day.

“It allows us to go home to our families every night,” Smith said. “And we want them to be in a healthy state whenever they go back home.” 

Smith works with the Department of Transportation, which has a role in educating drivers on all federal and state rules and regulations. When it comes to putting people first, Smith said taking care of their mental and physical health is more important than accomplishing a job.

“If a driver is feeling worn out for the day, just communicate it,” Smith said. “If you just can’t physically, mentally be here today, that’s okay. That happens. We all have to have those mental days. We all do.”

In addition to having a dedication to protect employees’ well-being, Adkins said EquipmentShare has a responsibility to provide the best-trained employees under EquipmentShare’s people-first vision. But this vision also means promoting elements of life outside the work environment. 

“Whether they work in the yard, drive a truck, whatever their role may be, there are many other personal, family and community commitments that we have an obligation to promote,” Adkins said. 

EquipmentShare’s commitment to safety goes far beyond fostering physical safety in the workplace. It’s a dedication to every employee, every day, to ensure each person is given the means to thrive. 

“Our employees, community, our leadership, those are my customers,” Adkins said. “That is who I’m here to serve and support.”

June is National Safety Awareness Month and EquipmentShare is launching a new program Seven Seconds of Safety (7SOS) as a way to remind employees to pause or stop to think about safety. Each week, the company will release videos and quizzes on important topics such as distracted driving and slips, trips and falls for each employee to participate in and learn.

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