Justin Dixon never planned to manage Director of Corporate Safety for Dixie Construction. But the job fell into his lap in a most tragic way.
Dixon’s parents and grandfather started Dixie Construction in the 1960s, and he was in charge of a variety of responsibilities, including marketing, advertising, human resources, and security. An outside company managed Dixie’s safety program, and he helped perform site inspections on occasion. But when the man who oversaw Dixie’s safety program died suddenly, the task was left to Dixon.
“Overnight I became the de facto safety guy,” Dixon said. “Safety had been under my long list of duties and I knew everybody, so I said until I could find another outside safety company, I would just jump in those shoes for a while.”
But those shoes proved hard to fill. As he reviewed the safety information he had received, he realized he was not getting a thorough report of Dixie’s safety practices. A snapshot of about 30 visits a month across approximately 150 job sites would not suffice during an audit.
Dixon first hired multiple outside safety companies to cover Dixie’s three main locations and 350 employees. He needed someone close enough to respond to a job site if an incident did occur.
Those companies helped Dixon identify major safety issues and retrain his employees, but after months of working overnight and sleeping at his desk, he knew he needed more help.