Safety: Nothing more important

There is nothing more important on any job site than safety but I think it’s time for safety officials to step back and take a look at overall job site conditions and programs required to work on your site. From listening to my employees, peers and business owners I offer the following thoughts.

1. The awful day one mandatory safety video. My senior tradesmen have seen these productions probably hundreds of times. After a while it starts to insult their intelligence. These are smart tradesmen who strive to work safely every day so they can complete a successful career. They stare at it at 7 am and then go about working in a safe manner despite the awful start to their first day. How about this? The safety industry produces a standardized safety video in which the tradesman views as part of his OSHA 10 training. The tradesman carries the certificate from site to site. The safety video or published handout could then consist of items specific only to the particular project.

2. Schedule
More times than not a subcontractor arrives to start work and asks about schedule only to hear “We gotta be done April 5th”. Subcontractors end up stacking up on one another both horizontally and vertically. There are too many men per square foot and everyone knows it. Aren’t safety officers involved with company schedulers here? It looks like a more important aspect of the job than looking out for electric cord conditions.

3. Overtime “Ten hour days, eight on Saturday, eight on Sunday, check you contract, you own the schedule.” Shouldn’t a safety inspector see the light here when almost all of the overtime is spent in the last 10% of the project. Why is this allowed? The safety department should be working with schedulers in spreading the overtime to create a safer work site. Not to mention the toll on the worker who is certainly more likely to make a mistake under these conditions. When we work for the few companies that enforce these principles we notice a difference, feel safer on site, and experience a more successful project.