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March 3-7, 2026

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Build a Culture of Safety This Summer



Welcome to the first installment of our summer Workforce Development series, brought to you by CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365. This series is dedicated to equipping construction contractors with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in today’s demanding industry. Over the coming months, we will delve into crucial topics such as safety, hiring and retention, cutting-edge technology and more.

Creating a culture of safety is paramount in every sector of the construction industry to ensure the well-being of the workforce, especially with off-highway equipment. Yet many leaders struggle to find a starting point on this vital journey. That's where AEM’s new online Safety Toolkit comes in. This free comprehensive toolkit includes articles, safety education action plans, downloadable resources and more – all ready to use to help build a safer industry.


The AEM Safety Toolkit is the result of more than 50 years of commitment to safety. Initially, the AEM Safety Materials Program was established at the request of AEM members who needed printed safety manuals for various types of off-highway equipment they manufactured. These manuals, now totaling over 55 different titles, were designed to be part of the manufacturing process, ensuring that each piece of equipment had a printed, comprehensive safety guide for operators to reference. These manuals are now available online for free in the AEM Safety Toolkit.

Jaime Vos, AEM Senior Director of Cultural Innovation, oversees AEM Safety Materials and is excited to share the Safety Toolkit: “It provides so much more value and has the potential of keeping a lot more people safe.”

Recognizing the immense value of the content, AEM decided to share and expand these resources online, broadening their reach and scope. This digital shift ensures that not only AEM members but also the broader industry can benefit from these resources  

“A number of people have registered in the Toolkit,” Vos says. “We have everybody from construction companies, safety directors, contractors, landscapers, OSHA representatives, dairy farmers. A lot of different types of people are now using the resources for their own safety training or educational purposes.”

The employees need to be fully 100 invested. They need to know that they play an intricate part of creating that culture.

Jaime Vos

AEM Senior Director of Cultural Innovation, oversees AEM Safety Materials


Creating a culture of safety begins with management and workers agreeing on best practices for a safe worksite. “You have to have a strong foundation before you build anything on it,” Vos notes.

The Toolkit is packed with resources, from safety manuals to industry articles produced by AEM and industry partners. The resources cover a broad range of topics, including safe equipment operation, working from heights and enclosed spaces, PPE and more. Such comprehensive coverage ensures that safety is prioritized in every aspect of the worksite, whether it involves equipment or not.

Vos is excited for the potential of the Toolkit. “The content that we're providing through the Toolkit can be used in any kind of educational or training environment. Assignments could even be given to employees as homework.”


The Toolkit is designed to boost safety awareness and provide training materials in a digital format, and includes:

E-Manuals: AEM’s safety manuals are consensus documents developed, reviewed and approved by AEM committees. With 55 manual titles now available digitally, these e-manuals represent industry best practices. Note that they are for online reference only and do not replace OEMs’ original documentation or required printed safety manuals. 

Action Plans: These online learning modules feature content from AEM safety manuals, helping employees understand and apply best practices for operating off-highway equipment on work sites.

Articles: AEM offers news, guides and industry thought leadership in the toolkit. New articles are added as industry trends change and technology advances.

Resources: Training slides, educational materials, AEM’s safety pictorial database, and other valuable information are available for classrooms and toolbox talks. Most items are free to download, even for non-AEM members.


For those new to the Safety Toolkit, Vos offers clear steps to start creating a culture of safety. He outlines five key practices:

  1. Understand the Existing Culture: Leaders need to assess the current workplace culture and employees' attitudes towards safety. This helps in identifying areas for improvement and setting specific goals. “The employees need to be fully 100 percent invested. They need to know that they play an intricate part of creating that culture,” Vos shares.
  2. Champion the Cause: Organizations’ leaders must support safety initiatives and ensure employees feel valued for their contributions. Providing necessary materials and resources is crucial for maintaining high morale and preventing incidents. “Make sure that employees feel valued for their safety contributions,” Vos advises.
  3. Provide Comprehensive Training: Training should illustrate employees' roles in creating a safe culture. It’s about more than just learning new skills—it’s about understanding the importance of their role in maintaining safety. “It creates a stronger union and awareness that everyone values everyone else's safety,” Vos says.
  4. Track and Communicate Progress: It’s vital to track safety improvements and communicate them. Employees should be encouraged to bring forward recommendations and feel empowered to contribute to the safety culture. Vos stresses, “You have to really track it and observe it, and make sure that you're making improvements on it, ensuring that the employees are owning the process improvements.”
  5. Make Safety a Daily Priority: Regular toolbox talks, feedback protocols, and procedure updates are essential. This ongoing communication ensures that safety remains at the forefront of everyone’s mind. “If one worker sees another coworker not following safety protocol or not following procedures, you have to make sure that they are empowered to call attention to it. Make sure everybody has everybody else's back,” Vos emphasizes.


Maintaining a culture of safety requires continuous effort, especially as technology evolves. Vos highlights the importance of ongoing updates to the toolkit.

In future, AEM plans to build out the assessments section of the Safety Toolkit. This will allow employees and safety directors to test their safety awareness and identify areas for improvement through customized programming.

The AEM Safety Toolkit represents a significant step forward in promoting safety across the construction and related industries. By providing comprehensive, accessible resources, AEM is helping organizations build and maintain a culture of safety. As the industry continues to evolve, having the Toolkit online will allow it to adapt and expand, ensuring that safety remains a top priority.

By integrating these resources and leadership strategies, construction contractors can create safer work environments, ultimately protecting their most valuable asset: their workforce.

Anyone with an interest in accessing the Safety Toolkit can sign up for a free account by registering here. There are also Workforce and Sustainability Toolkits available for those who register.

Stay tuned as we explore Workforce Developments topics this summer. Your journey to a safer, more productive work environment begins here, with CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter here so you don’t miss any news.


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