The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to gather all employees into one place for company-wide safety meetings, as we’re safeguarding social distancing best practices for the health of our team and their families. These monthly safety meetings have been a terrific mechanism to identify and communicate safety behavior, challenges, and equipment needs across our company. Without the ability to easily get all field crews together in person, we wanted to share the top 3 areas we’re putting an added emphasis on safety to supplement this information to our crews and set them up for continued safety success on any given project.
- Project Pre-Planning – To purposely prioritize safety planning during the pre-job phase is a surefire way to successfully execute a safely performed job. It is a breakthrough approach to top safety cultures that is often a skipped step and shouldn’t be. Having a safety pre-planning approach across the entire construction team, from the project manager and superintendent to the workers and subcontractors, is at the center of holding accountability for a safely performed project. The proactive nature of safety planning in the pre-job phase communicates a safety and health requirement before any task on the job is performed. Safety pre-planning includes a comprehensive hazard analysis for all tasks to be completed for a client, with clear accountability on who is responsible for safety for each, and subsequent training to prepare for the task if needed. This, in hand with the critical path method that identifies all major phases within a project, sets up a safe execution.
- Housekeeping – This seems like a simple area to focus on, but it’s oh, so important! You see, most of the areas on OSHA’s Top 10 Violations List which are put in place to keep workers safe, are mainly things that can be prevented by thorough housekeeping practices. Ridding any clutter, cleaning up tools and materials, and having a tidy work environment sets up the success of performing every task well and without injury. That is one of the primary areas our Safety Director, Luke, is focused on when visiting the different jobsites and communicating with crew members about examples of why it’s extremely important. This is often an area many companies take for granted, but is a no-brainer way to eliminate most slips, trips, and falls that happen in construction if made a priority at all times.
- Tool Watch System – Helmkamp invested in a new tool inventory system earlier this year when upgrading its warehouse operations. Using Tool Watch from a safety perspective allows us to proactively plan, track, send and receive the appropriate amount of safety equipment, signage, and PPE needed to and from jobsites. We can now measure the amount of safety equipment used and proactively order supplies as needed, enabling our crews to always have what they need without waiting or pulling safety equipment from other locations. When the warehouse receives the items back, they quality check the gear, make replacements as needed, and re-inventory until it goes to another site, ensuring measurable safety compliance when it comes to equipment.
We might not be able to see everyone across the organization as often as we’d like talk about safety as a group this year, but Helmkamp’s message and ability to manage safety success is not lost.