Doing it Right is More Than a Slogan at Western Hot Oil Service

sooteradThe best corporate slogans are inseparable from their brands. Nike has “Just do it,” American Express has “Don’t leave home without it,” and in the tractor business, “Nothing runs like a Deere.”

Western Hot Oil Service has a slogan of its own. Theirs isn’t permanently etched in popular culture, but it does speak volumes about the company’s business strategy: “The key to success is to learn to do something right, and then do it right every time.”

At Western Hot Oil, doing things right includes doing things safely. The company’s owner, Perry Sooter, makes sure his employees are well-equipped to recognize and avoid the hazards of the job.

Sooter’s safety program starts with the hiring process. Every Western Hot Oil applicant must take a pre-employment drug screen. The company reviews their driving records and checks references.

If everything checks out, new employees move to the next phase of onboarding: safety orientation. They spend at least their first month in training, learning federal and company-specific safety procedures.

The down time associated with training might affect the bottom line, but that’s okay with Sooter. He considers safety more important than quality and production. “I’ll skip over a dollar if it means my employees are safe,” added Sooter.

If management commitment sparks good safety programs, employee engagement is the fuel that keeps the flame burning. Every Western Hot Oil employee has the power to shut down any job they feel is unsafe. Management trusts employees’ judgment and expects them to exercise it.

Communication between management and employees has sparked constant evolution in Western Hot Oil’s safety program. It has also helped the company earn cash returns in the form of dividends from Texas Mutual. Perry has used the money to fund the services of a safety professional.

Sooter has another ally in Larry Homen of Texas Mutual’s safety team. Homen has been working with Western Hot Oil for a decade. He says Sooter has always been a man ahead of his time.

“With all the accidents happening in the oil patch, safety is a big issue,” said Homen. “But Perry was investing in his employees’ well-being from the beginning. A lot of the precautions people are taking now, like fire-retardant clothing, are things Perry’s been doing all along.”

Sooter doesn’t mind that the rest of the field is taking cues from him. In fact, he’s eager to share one more tip for building a successful safety program.

“You have to remember that any mistake, no matter how minor, can be fatal,” said Sooter. “If you send your employees out without properly training them, they might not get a second chance to do it right.”

And at Western Hot Oil, doing it right is more than a catchy slogan.

Web extra
Visit to hear Perry Sooter explain how Texas Mutual helps him keep his employees safe.

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