What is award winning safety? A lot of it is defined by a project’s complexity – a compressed schedule, congested site, elevated work, trench work and the like. But no matter what the hazards are, effective risk management requires what we call a “take nothing for granted” approach on safety. Looking through PayneCrest’s numerous safety honors, including recognition of 15 projects by the AGC Keystone Awards, several common best practices stand out:
- Diligently enforcing 100% tie offs. Falls produce the most injuries and fatalities while fall protection is the most common OSHA violation cited on projects.
- Committing to a stringent permitting system to manage lock out/tag out protocols for electrical installations to avoid accidental contact with charged systems.
- Mitigating tripping hazards from discarded construction material. On one of our projects, a simple, yet effective measure was using five-gallon buckets painted with red and blue stripes and hooked on every tool and material cart for use in disposal of trash.
- Excavation protection with appropriate flagging to warn of open trenches.
- Mandating appropriate construction wear including hard toe shoes, hardhats, high visibility colors, safety glasses, gloves and specialized personal protective clothing and gear around hazardous materials.
- Pre-fabricating components to facilitate safer installations. On our largest project – the Holcim Cement Plant — we mounted fixtures, devices and cable tray on 30-foot-long conveyer sections safely on the ground. The sections were then hoisted to their locations 400 feet above ground, where we could safely pull wires through the raceway and connect them using a catwalk.
- Effectively scheduling work to avoid overhead hazards such as placing rebar for concrete pours.
- Aligning safety programs with the owner’s and the general contractor’s. Everyone should be on the same page on safety.
- Having the safety manager walk the site every day to look for hazards and reaffirm the commitment to safety.
- Investing in high voltage safety training and strictly controlling access to high voltage areas.
And of course there are daily safety meetings to keep risk management top of mind and go over anything new on the project that may introduce a hazard. We’ve also been fortunate to learn new ways of doing things safely from our building partners and clients, incorporating them into our safety program. Listening. Learning. Communicating. That’s how you remain alert and take nothing for granted on safety.