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Total Safety’s Charity Golf Tournament Benefits Three Charity Organizations

Total Safety donates to Sky High for St Jude
 

Total Safety, the world’s leading integrated safety services company, today announced that funds raised during its annual ‘Tee It Up for Charity’ golf tournament will benefit three non-profit organizations focused on improving the lives of families within their communities.

Proceeds from this year’s tournament went to:

  • Sky High for St. Jude, a volunteer organization that raises money on behalf of children undergoing pediatric cancer treatment and other life-threatening diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Sky High is also the largest donor of the Ronald McDonald House at St. Jude, which serves patients and families staying for extended treatment. Please visit www.skyhighshoot.org to learn more.
  • Combat Marine Outdoors, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide wounded Marines and other service members with once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventures, promoting a sense of accomplishment, as well as one of hope and belonging. Please visit www.combatmarineoutdoors.org to learn more.
  • Krysta’s Karing Angels, a non-profit organization founded by a Total Safety employee that provides support to families affected by drunk driving. In addition, the organization generates awareness for its cause by taking crashed vehicles from actual accidents involving drivers that were driving while intoxicated (DWI) to schools, universities and other events, allowing people to see and hear the devastating effects caused by driving drunk. Please visit www.krystaskaringangels.com to learn more.

Total Safety’s clients and vendor partners participated in the tournament and contributed to the worthy cause. Some of the key sponsors included Enterprise Fleet Management, MSA, Warburg Pincus, BW Technologies and Crowe Horwath LLP. The tournament is always held just before the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) Maintenance and Reliability Conference.

“Total Safety has hosted this event for 16 years, and year after year, I am always inspired by the hospitality of our clients and sponsors. We are grateful to those who participated in the event. Their generosity has directly impacted our community and provided a number of worthy causes with resources they might not have had otherwise,” said Paul Tyree, Total Safety COO.

Total Safety Partners with Serve Moore to Support Victims of Devastating Oklahoma Tornado

Total Safety Supports Victims of Moore Oklahoma TornadoTotal Safety employees are supporting local efforts to aid and assist the victims of the devastating tornados that swept through Oklahoma in May. The company has sent volunteers to assist with clean up, along with truckloads of safety equipment and supplies, including hard hats, safety glasses, Tyvek® coveralls, respirators and gloves.

“Our Total Safety volunteers, working alongside the Serve Moore organization, will do their best to help insure safety in the communities where we work and live,” says Terrell Sosebee, Total Safety account manager.  “We know we are only a handful of the countless volunteers helping out, but we’re proud to contribute the time and equipment we can.”

The Serve Moore organization currently is in need of volunteers to clear up home sites, parks, and right of ways in Moore, Oklahoma. Two dozen people lost their lives, hundreds were injured, and thousands of individuals have lost their homes as a result of the EF5-rated tornado.

David Fanta, Total Safety CEO, expressed, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this storm and their families. Our desire is to support relief efforts as best we can in hopes that we can lessen the burden on those affected.”

To get involved through either volunteering or donations, visit www.ServeMoore.com.

About Total Safety
Total Safety, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company, is the world’s premier provider of integrated safety and compliance solutions and the products necessary to support them, including gas detection, respiratory protection, safety training, fire protection, compliance and inspection, industrial hygiene, onsite emergency medical treatment/paramedics, communications systems, engineered systems design, and materials management. It operates from 141 locations in 19 countries to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3).

Total Safety has been selected as one of “America’s Safest Companies” for 2012 by EHS Today, in addition to receiving the “Best in Class” award from the Houston Business Roundtable, multiple AFPM Awards, and a host of industry and customer safety accolades. For more information about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to safety, visit www.totalsafety.com.

For additional information, contact:
Stenning Schueppert
Senior Vice President – Strategy, Marketing & Corporate Development, Total Safety
713-353-7182

Keeping Workers Safe in High Heat

Although no specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards cover heat stress, the General Duty Clause protects employees against heat-related illnesses due to the hazard’s serious nature.

While most will readily acknowledge it’s important to keep body temperature stable to prevent heat illness or even death, but many don’t recognize the basic factors involved so they can quickly and readily recognize when heat illness is occurring or, better yet, to prevent it in the first place.

Heat Stress Factors

Two primary sources contribute to overheating: (1) environmental conditions and (2) internal heat generated by physical labor. While each factor may not be present every time, a combination of the two could increase risk.

Since the body cools itself through sweating, air temperature is imperative to maintaining a consistent internal temperature. Sweating does not cool the body unless the skin’s moisture can evaporate. However, if the air temperature is warmer than the skin, the body cannot lose heat, and its ability to maintain an acceptable body temperature may be significantly impaired.

Associated Safety and Health Hazards

Safety hazards tend to occur more frequently in high heat/high humidity environments due to many contributing factors, including sweaty palms, dizziness and fogging of safety glasses. In more extreme cases, mental confusion, tiredness and irritability could cause impaired judgment resulting in safety hazards.

Please be aware of certain health hazards that occur more frequently in high heat/high humidity environments, like heat cramps, fainting, heat rash, heat exhaustion and, most dangerous of all, heat stroke.

Heat illness victims should be treated by providing cool water to drink and moving the person to a cool or shaded area—none of which are easy when working in remote locations. Easy and quick options to combat heat illness is to bring onsite cooling trailers equipped with air conditioning or misting fans and have water stations set up around the facility or worksite.

Creating a Work/Rest Schedule

W When possible, more-frequent, shorter periods of heat exposure are better than fewer, longer exposures. Rest periods do not necessarily mean that workers are on break; these can be productive times. During the rest periods, workers may continue to perform mild or light work such as completing paperwork, sorting small parts, attending a meeting, or receiving training.

Work/rest schedules are often based on 1-hour cycles and might call for a rest period of 15 minutes every hour during hot weather, but 45 minutes per hour when temperature and humidity are extreme. Keep in mind that workers wearing flame-resistant cotton or chemical-resistant suits will experience increased body temperature of approximately 10-degrees more than wearing normal work clothing.

The following table acts as a guideline for creating work/rest schedules for workers, assuming the worker is wearing a chemical-resistant suit, gloves, boots and a respirator:

OSHA's Work/Rest Schedule for High Heat Environments

Tips for Prevention

Preventative tips from OSHA (and their website) and many other organizations are available to workers and employers to protect against heat-related illnesses, including awareness of heat illness symptoms and response, adequately utilizing shaded areas for resting, and drinking plenty of cool water.

To learn more about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to ensure the safe wellbeing of workers worldwide, contact them at 888.44.TOTAL or at mail@totalsafety.com.

Are You Ready for Real-Time Emergency Response?

While many facilities have a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in place, they may not consider all environmental and hazardous conditions. A well-developed Emergency Action Plan facilitates and organizes company and employee responses during workplace emergencies, resulting in fewer and less severe injuries and, possibly, less facility structural damage.

A facility’s EAP is imperative to worker safety, of course, and can likely handle contained events, like fires. But what about a chemical release? A natural disaster? A terrorist threat? Evacuation might not always be the best response to a given emergency; consequently, the ability to provide real-time planning and response is becoming ever more important.

Incident Management

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that all business have an Incident Management System (IMS). An IMS, as outlined in NFPA 1600, has a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure and is designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents.

As one part of a solid IMS, an Incident Command System (ICS) should be identified, similar to how an Emergency Response Team is identified in an EAP. The ICS puts a detailed plan in place to create more organized and streamlined efforts, which can ultimately minimize disruptions to operations, save lives , lessen damage and/or loss, and protect surrounding communities. In addition, it also allows the company to understand the total cost of risk.

Developing an Incident Management System

When developing an IMS, one should understand that the use of ICS depends upon the size and complexity of the business. Functions and roles may be assigned to multiple individuals or a few persons may be assigned multiple responsibilities. Figure 1 is a great example from FEMA of what the ICS might look like:

Emergency Response Procedures Flowchart
Figure 1—Incident Commander is the contact point with Safety, Liaison and Public Information for Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance and Administration.

The Incident Commander should not only know what is happening/has happened, but he/she should understand what could happen next. They should be able to easily identify and answer questions such as:

  • What type of incident is it?
  • Who should be notified?  Why?
  • Which areas require evacuation or a shelter-in-place?  Why?

In addition, the incident commander should take into account worker/responder exposure monitoring during the emergency, as well as any potential offsite impact.

When creating an IMS, one should consider automated solutions for incident management. Emergency management software, coupled with strategically placed chemical and meteorological sensors, allows incident commanders to respond to emergencies faster, more accurately, and in real-time with data provided by live plume models, release-rate estimations, meteorological data, and so much more.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The importance of emergency preparedness—conducting regular drills and identifying corrective actions—cannot be stressed enough. If workers and contractors do not know what actions to take or where to go, then the plan does no one any good.

Remember, drills combat human behavior, and there are a number of factors that affect human behavior during an emergency, including a person’s assumed role, experience, education, and personality, as well as the emergency’s perceived threat and the actions of others sharing the experience. Drills give employees and contractors experience, allowing them to react accurately, faster and more effectively in case of an actual emergency.

To learn more about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to ensure the safe wellbeing of workers worldwide, contact them at 888.44.TOTAL or at mail@totalsafety.com.

Blakeman & Associates Partners with Total Safety

Blakeman & Associates, a premier ISNetworld® consulting firm, has joined forces with global safety giant Total Safety to provide clients with the best services in the industry.  The combined experience and knowledge of these two firms will offer an unparalleled package of safety and contractor compliance to an international client base.

Safety Service Solutions for the Upstream, Midstream, Downstream, Refinery, Chemical, Petrochemical, Power Generation & Industrial Markets

Montgomery, TX and Houston, TX (PRWEB) April 12, 2013

Blakeman & Associates and Total Safety are bringing together their consulting experience to offer customers a more complete package of services and products. Blakeman & Associates can now offer Total Safety’s online respirator medical evaluation questionnaire and Blakeman & Associates can now provide a managed ISNetworld® compliance solution for Total Safety’s clients.

“We are always looking for new opportunities that will further our clients’ safety services,” says Bob Williams, CEO of Blakeman & Associates. “Total Safety’s Rapid MEQ® testing, an OSHA approved online medical questionnaire for employees, fits a need our clients asked for and a new partnership was created.”

Stenning Schueppert, a Senior Vice President of Total Safety, is also looking forward to offering more services to their clients around the globe. “ISNetworld® compliance remains a challenge for some of our customers and we are proud to offer them a trusted resource to tackle that compliance hurdle. Blakeman & Associates has a stellar record of assisting customers with their online contractor compliance – a service many clients are looking to outsource,” stated Schueppert.

Blakeman & Associates will feature the RapidMEQ® testing on their redesigned website starting Monday, April 15th. The confidential questionnaire can be completed online, saving companies the time and cost of sending their employees to an offsite licensed healthcare provider.

Blakeman & Associates guides small and large companies through the startup process with systems like ISNetworld®, PEC Premier, PICS and BROWZ and offers an annual maintenance program for maintaining compliance with these systems.

“Together with Total Safety, we will be able to bring a level of service to our customers unparalleled in the industry,” said Williams. “We see the needs of our clients changing and we have developed new services and products for our current and future clients.”

About Blakeman & Associates: Blakeman & Associates is a Montgomery, Texas based company that offers a wide range of safety, environmental, DOT, recruiting and human resources consulting services to clients all over North America. They have provided total compliance and business solutions to thousands of companies over the last 25 years. For more information about Blakeman & Associates, contact them at 936-582-2900, visit their website http://www.blakemanandassociates.com or email them at info(at)blakemanandassociates(dot)com

About Total Safety: Total Safety, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company, is the world’s premier provider of integrated safety and compliance solutions and the products necessary to support them, including gas detection, respiratory protection, safety training, fire protection, compliance and inspection, industrial hygiene, onsite emergency medical treatment/paramedics, communications systems, engineered systems design, and materials management. Selected as one of “America’s Safest Companies,” it operates from 142 locations in 19 countries to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3).

**Neither Blakeman & Associates nor Total Safety are in any way endorsed, sponsored, approved by, or otherwise affiliated with ISNetworld®.

SAFER Systems and Total Safety Promote Emergency Preparedness Through New Partnership

Camarillo, CA and Houston, TX—April 2, 2013—SAFER Systems and Total Safety, the worlds’ leading provider of industrial safety services and equipment, today announced that they formed a partnership to incorporate SAFER’s emergency response software into  Total Safety’s emergency response and contingency planning service offerings.

Emergency Response Management Software from SAFER Systems
Screen image from SAFER Realtime® software

The emergency response software from SAFER Systems provides automated solutions for incident management focused on protecting lives in the face of chemical accidents. Coupled with strategically-placed chemical and meteorological sensors, the software allows incident commanders to respond to emergencies faster, more accurately, and in real-time with data provided by live plume models, release-rate estimations, meteorological data, and so much more.

Ionel Nechiti, President of SAFER Systems, said, “We are very excited to be working with Total Safety as they are a leader in providing emergency response equipment and personnel and we feel our organizations complement each other. This partnership will ensure that when first responders get the call to respond to a chemical emergency, our software solutions will help keep them and the affected citizens safe.”

“Our strategic partnership with SAFER Systems will allow Total Safety to enhance its current Emergency Response Services, especially in areas such as industrial hygiene, by providing our clients with the resources that they need to ensure emergency preparedness and the safety of their workers, the environment and the community,” says Randy Patton, Total Safety Vice President – Technical Services.

About Total Safety
Total Safety, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company, is the world’s premier provider of integrated safety and compliance solutions and the products necessary to support them, including gas detection, respiratory protection, safety training, fire protection, compliance and inspection, industrial hygiene, onsite emergency medical treatment/paramedics, communications systems, engineered systems design, and materials management. It operates from 141 locations in 19 countries to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3).

Total Safety has been selected as one of “America’s Safest Companies” for 2012 by EHS Today, in addition to receiving the “Best in Class” award from the Houston Business Roundtable, multiple AFPM Awards, and a host of industry and customer safety accolades. For more information about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to safety, visit www.totalsafety.com.

About SAFER Systems
Established in 1981, and celebrating over 30 years of providing technological advancements in the field of chemical emergency management to both industry and government, SAFER Systems is the global technology leader in chemical emergency management solutions. The company’s state-of-the-art solutions, incorporating patented technologies, are designed to detect and accurately predict in real-time the dispersion of accidental or intentional releases of hazardous chemicals. Using a SAFER Systems’ solution, companies worldwide that manufacture, process, store or transport hazardous materials plus an array of government emergency management, environmental protection and homeland security agencies, can now better prepare for and quickly determine the best ways to respond to an actual chemical emergency.  For more information, visit www.safersystem.com.

For additional information contact:
Ian Adler – SAFER Systems
281-397-3939

Stenning Schueppert
Senior Vice President – Strategy, Marketing & Corporate Development, Total Safety
713-353-7182

Houston, PA Team Partners with Girls Scouts to Help a Memorial Find Its Resting Place

Thanks to Total Safety’s Houston, Pennsylvania team and the Girl Scouts of West Pennsylvania, a 360-pound stone memorial will travel more than 1,000 miles to the final resting place of the U.S. Marine whose name it bears. The memorial in honor of Marine Cpl. David Eugene Hevle of Yankton, S.D., was discovered at the closed Camp Timberlake in Washington County by a volunteer. The camp was operated by Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania until October 2012.

Since the discovery, media coverage helped solve the mystery of why the memorial was there, and shed light on Hevle’s connection to Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout troops who stayed at the camps sent care packages and letters to soldiers serving in the Vietnam War, and it is believed that Hevle was one of the Marines who received packages from or corresponded with the girls.

Hevle was killed on April 8, 1967 when his amphibian tractor hit a mine and exploded. The Girl Scouts who wrote to Hevle are thought to have created the stone memorial at Camp Timberlake.

More than 46 years after his death, the memorial will return to South Dakota. Girl Scouts and local veterans and military organizations will gather at Camp Timberlake, 2334 Beallsville Rd., in Marianna, on Saturday, April 13, at 1 p.m., for a special ceremony prior to the memorial’s departure. The public is welcome to attend.

About Total Safety

Total Safety is the leading premier global provider of integrated industrial safety and compliance services, strategies and equipment for hazardous environments. Founded in December 1994 to serve the industrial safety needs of the oil and gas industry, the company has transformed itself through internal growth and acquisitions to become the industry leader in a comprehensive array of industrial safety services in a variety of end markets.

About Girl Scouts

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership experience for girls and is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development. Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The 3-million-member organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, call 1-800-248-3355 or visit www.gswpa.org.

Simple Lockout/Tagout Procedures Some Overlook Create Material Risk

By Stenning Schueppert, Total Safety Senior VP—Stratgety, Marketing & Corporate Development

For those responsible for personnel safety during a shutdown procedure (that’s everyone), this is for you. For those unfamiliar with lockout/tagout (LOTO) regulations, you should be aware of current deficiencies within our industry regarding the topic, as well as potential corrective actions that should be taken tomorrow to improve safety within your facility.

The three most common LOTO problems are lack of proper procedures, lack of adequate training and improper tag use. If our industry steps back to investigate these issues, we will note proper procedures and training have less correlation with team members not following protocol but more to do with companies failing to provide personnel with the knowledge, training, systems and support they need to protect their own safety and, ultimately, the safety of the people and assets around them.

How can safety issues with such directly addressable solutions survive? We should more proactively highlight and address this concern and, to influence better behavior, we should first address opinion: injuries—and even fatalities—have occurred from not sticking to LOTO procedures. A fatality in June related to improper blinding procedures at a downstream facility is similar: small missteps, material risk. The hazardous environments we work in daily are respected; the safety procedures within those environments need to be treated with that same level of respect.

The lack of procedures and training may lead to the third problem—improper tag use. But Keith Davis, president of Application Factory, noted these needless incidents “occur for a variety of reasons, such as lack of understanding about what needs to be tagged, or the inevitability of human error.” Human error can be minimized with clear and concise LOTO procedures and systems in place and, coupled with sufficient training, companies can successfully rectify this safety gap.

While the above solution sounds ideal, it may not be. An unfortunately common and growing problem is workers are provided with general LOTO training on the job, but the procedures (or lack thereof) fail to address all safety aspects to do it effectively. Like the use of locks to ensure the energy sources (and not just electricity) remain disconnected; the disconnect locations for the energy sources, the procedures for bleeding, blocking and verifying energy sources have been rendered safe; clearly labeling each lock with a durable tag (or durable label or marking) to identify the worker assigned to a lock that is used to secure an energy control device; and more.

Once developed, consistent reinforcement of the facility’s procedures is certainly a great way to keep the message of LOTO safety in the forefront of workers’ minds. Another improvement would be to create a balance between man and technology; the industry is finally evolving from traditional handwritten tags to automated LOTO solutions even a novice can operate as they are engineered specifically to prevent human error.

But it is not just up to management, HSE or maintenance to keep personnel safe.

Team members must be proactive themselves during LOTO by:

  • Following the regulations in the employer’s hazardous energy control program.
  • Completing all employer-provided training on hazardous energy control procedures.
  • Ensuring, before beginning any adjustment, maintenance or servicing work, all sources of hazardous energy are de-energized; all forms of hazardous energy, including electrical breaker panels and control valves are properly locked and tagged; and all stored energy sources are blocked or dissipated.
  • Verifying only one key exists for each of your assigned locks and only you hold that key.
  • Testing and/or observing all energy sources are de-energized.

Keeping those principles at the forefront of your mind will provide the greatest reward of all—having everyone return home safely after each and every shift.

For more information, log onto www.TotalSafety.com, call us at (888) 448-6825 or email.

 

Total Safety Broadens Safety Equipment Rental Fleet

Total Safety, the world’s leading provider of industrial safety services and equipment, has partnered with Remote Safety Recovery Systems to include a series of decontamination shower, cooling and heating, safety, and other customizable trailers as part of the Total Safety rental fleet throughout North America.

Total Safety offers decontamination shower trailers for remote locations.Ideal for remote locations, Total Safety’s mobile decontamination shower trailers provide workers with access to ANSI-compliant emergency eyewash and shower stations to flush hazardous materials from the eyes and/or body.

Built tough for climates with extreme weather, Total Safety’s cooling and heating trailers give workers access to climate-controlled trailers, ideal for conducting meetings, providing safety and first aid, and more. In addition, Total Safety offers intrinsically-safe cooling trailers equipped with misting fans to reduce the ambient air temperature, keeping body temperatures stable and preventing heat illness.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires suitable facilities within the work area to protect the health and safety of workers—and for good reason. “Prolonged exposure to high-heat or freezing climates may cause serious health problems, and depending upon thTotal Safety offers heating and cooling trailers for extreme weather.e conditions, it can happen in a relatively quick amount of time if precautions are not taken,” says Kraig Knight of Remote Safety Recovery Systems.

About Total Safety                                                                   

Total Safety, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company, is the world’s premier provider of integrated safety and compliance solutions and the products necessary to support them, including gas detection, respiratory protection, safety training, fire protection, compliance and inspection, industrial hygiene, onsite emergency medical treatment/paramedics, communications systems, engineered systems design, and materials management. It operates from 141 locations in 19 countries to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3).

Total Safety has been selected as one of “America’s Safest Companies” for 2012 by EHS Today, in addition to receiving the “Best in Class” award from the Houston Business Roundtable, multiple AFPM Awards, and a host of industry and customer safety accolades. For more information about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to safety, visit www.totalsafety.com.

About Remote Safety Recovery Systems

Remote Safety Recovery Systems provides mobile safety trailers and systems to support construction, timber, agriculture, oil and gas, and other outdoor industries that are exposed to hazardous chemicals, as well as inclement weather.

For additional information contact:
Stenning Schueppert
Senior Vice President – Strategy, Marketing & Corporate Development, Total Safety
713-353-7182

Best Practices in Cultural Due Diligence

by Billy Fink, Axial Market

Stenning Schueppert is Senior Vice President, Strategy, Marketing & Corporate Development for Total Safety, industrial safety services and equipment company.Despite being intangible and undefinable, culture can be one of the primary determinants of a deal’s success. While vetting cultural pain points and planning for possible differences can lead to a smooth integration, neglecting cultural issues can lead to massive turnovers, employee dissatisfaction, and a subtractive deal.

For Total Safety, a leading integrated industrial safety services provider and Axial Member, cultural due diligence is one of the basic prerequisites for any deal. “If we cannot provide good evidence of cultural alignment, the rest of the business doesn’t matter: you would risk buying some assets but losing the people to run the business for you,” explained Stenning Schueppert, Total Safety’s SVP of Strategy, Marketing & Corporate Development.

However, conducting proper cultural due diligence is particularly difficult. “One of the biggest challenges in cultural diligence is the issue of confidentiality,” explained Schueppert. “While culture permeates the entire organization, you cannot simply go to the shop floor prior to closing and ask all employees frankly what they think of the company and what they think of Total Safety.” The inability to question employees makes defining the amorphous element of culture even more difficult.

To overcome this uncertainty, Schueppert offered some strategies to help identify the culture of an organization and to determine their alignment with your business identity.

Understand the Turnover Rates

According to Schueppert, turnover rates and trends can be one of the best ways to measure the strength of a company culture. He explained, “It is necessary to ask the company about its turnover rate, where its employees move to, the last key employee to leave, etc. If there is a noticeable turnover trend — all employees leaving for the same company or 50% of management team leaving to start a competitor, as examples — that should offer unique insight into culture and the businesses.”

To gain deeper insight into reasons behind departures, ask to review relevant exit interviews (if conducted). If common themes emerge — like unsatisfactory pay, unsatisfactory conditions, or bad managers — make sure they are not critical to your post-acquisition plan.

While major departures may signal a red flag, no turnover can be just as alarming. “If a significant number of employees have held the same position for too long, they may fear change and be resistant to acquisition,” explained Schueppert.

Review Internal Documents

While turnover rates can identify the strength of a culture, the internal documents can shed light on some of the core values and principles of the organization . “You should ask to see any employee newsletter, intranet, or social enterprise network,” says Schueppert. “These channels and materials are probably the closest you’ll get to actually speaking with employees about culture. You can see how employees interact with one another, how they participate in company activities, etc.”

Internal documents also offer insight into the thinking of senior management. While you can question them about culture, internal documents can provide evidence of previous actions and discussions. Schueppert explained, “You should ask senior leadership for the budget and minutes from old staff meetings, management retreats, or board meetings. These also offer great insight how they think about the company and about the culture.”

Validate the Culture with External Sources

To supplant your understanding of the company’s culture and identity, it is equally important to corroborate with external sources. Unfortunately, licentious business practices have a tendency to escape any formal documentation, and are only revealed when consulting with a third party.

Schueppert explained, “Before moving too far along in a deal, I ask my guys in the field if they know about the business and for their impressions. If several independent sources offer you the same impression — either positive or negative — chances are it is accurate.” This external validation recently saved Total Safety from engaging in serious conversations with a seemingly attractive company. As it turns out, the target’s core customers were significantly different, and misaligned, with Total Safety’s culture.

If you do not have any immediate sources, there are a variety of other channels to corroborate the culture. “Your customers are a great resource of information if your field contacts do not have any information,” explained Schueppert. “While they might not have as detailed knowledge, they can offer a worthwhile gauge.” If you feel uncomfortable polling your customers then ex-employees, market advisors, or industry peers also make as great sources of information.

In the case of a new market, or no consultable confidants, patience is vital. “You should date before you marry,” commented Schueppert. “We recently did a deal in Europe, which was a new market for us. We were able to get comfortable moving forward with the deal because we had known the CEO for five years and we had engaged in numerous discussions around partnership.” While Total Safety had little external substantiation for the culture of the European company, Schueppert confirmed, “From the length and strength of our relationship, multiple site visits, and the nature of the conversations, we knew our cultures would match.”

Learn from the Owner Operator

Ultimately, the best person from which to learn company culture is the existing owner operator. “No one will know the company culture better than the current owner-operator,” says Schueppert. After all, most small companies have a top-down culture defined by the founder and senior management.

It is possible you may learn more about culture from the current CEO by asking why he is selling rather than directly about the culture. According to Schueppert, “Truly understanding why the owner-operator is selling may give you a good indication of business: If he cannot give a good reason for selling, he is probably fed up of managing a difficult business and simply wants to monetize his investment. It may be difficult because of market factors, but it also may be difficult because of a dysfunctional organization.”

These information sources and mediums can offer the greatest insight into the qualities of a company’s culture. Once the culture is understood, the feasibility of the deal can be assessed and appropriate cultural integration practices can be implemented.

This article on cultural due diligence is the second installment of Axial’s six-part series on the Best Practices in Due Diligence. The first installment discussed the importance of tax due diligence. Future articles will discuss legal, operational, and other due diligences.