Father’s fatal fall sparks passion for workplace safety
By Rhett Morgan of the Tulsa World May 24, 2018
Scott Brothers’ stake in his current business is personal.
Thirteen years ago, a safety harness attached to his father and the oil derrick he was servicing snapped. The 66-foot fall killed him.
“I realized that that incident didn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Brothers, 36. “There were a lot of incidents going on around that fatality. I knew that with better communication, with a better understanding of your workplace environment, that we could prevent workplace incidents.”
That led to the Oklahoma native’s association with Sospes Process and Safety Software, a mobile-based application that allows employers to submit real-time reports for such things as workplace injuries, close calls, security threats and substandard conditions.
Latin for safety, Sospes is based in Boulder, Colorado, and opened an office a couple of months ago in Tulsa at The Forge, a business incubator of the Tulsa Regional Chamber that is sponsored by Tulsa’s Young Professionals. Tom Carson is founder and president of Sospes, and Brothers is co-owner and vice president of business development.
“It is allowing the worker to become the eyes and ears of the safety program,” Brothers said. “Everyone becomes responsible for the safety of their environment.”
Sospes’ clients include general contractors, manufacturers, wastewater treatment plants, municipalities, and mining and chemical companies. In northeast Oklahoma, the software company’s customers have reported a 10 percent reduction in Workers’ Compensation premiums the first year, Brothers said. They also have witnessed a 504 percent increase in observation and close-call reporting, he said.
“If we can address an employee’s injury within 24 hours, we greatly reduce our costs, our direct costs of the injury,” Brothers said. “If an employee doesn’t feel like they’re being cared for, they start talking to people and they start talking to lawyers. That’s when you get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars of litigation. We want to 1. take care of that employee, but 2. we really want to understand what happened because we don’t want the next employee to be injured.”
A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, Brothers obtained a degree in criminal justice theory at Seattle University and studied international business at Oklahoma State University.
“There’s something special about Oklahoma,” he said. “In Oklahoma, people trust who they can shake hands with. There are not a lot of companies out there who will come on site, shake your hand and give you a demo. They are not giving you on-site training.”
“We really differentiated ourselves from our competitors. You get to see my face. People don’t want to spend time buying software if they don’t get to see who you are.”
Meredith Webber is a sales consultant for Sospes.
“We’re really targeting companies where safety is of critical importance,” she said. “The passion is there from Scott because of his father’s accident.
“We are talking to people from all levels of the company, from the CEO down to the night janitor. Anyone can use this software. These are things that save money and save time and more importantly, save lives.”
Staff Writer Rhett Morgan
Rhett is in his fourth decade as a reporter. He covers development, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and assorted other topics related to the Work and Money section.
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