By Conrad Hammond, senior project manager at JE Dunn Construction Company
As national and local experts in the commercial construction industry, we are no strangers when it comes to jobsite safety. We take pride in the exceptional standards and practices we have in place to protect our employees and partners in their day-to-day work.
According to OSHA, worker deaths in America are down from an average of 38 deaths a day in 1970 to 15 average a day in 2019. While this trend is headed in the right direction, the fact that any deaths occur on a jobsite is reason enough to stress the importance of jobsite safety and put practices in place to prevent these tragedies. Every single day we work to exceed the standards as we remind one another why safety is so critical—which we do in big and small ways.
Currently, the JE Dunn Houston team is working on a design-build project at the Houston Airport Vehicle Maintenance Facility in partnership with Martinez Architects. The project covers more than 51,000 square feet of space and involves a team approach with multiple crews working simultaneously on site. This project is no small feat, and the safety of everyone involved is our highest priority. Which is why our team partnered with ExxonMobil to create and implement a two-week safety orientation program that’s being used on this project.
This two-week Safety Culture Assimilation Program is designed to provide all new employees on the project with insights to our jobsite safety culture and established procedures in place on the project. To complement our traditional safety programs that educate on the importance of safety operations and topics such as fall protection, caught by/struck by, operating machinery, lock out tag out, falling objects etc., this program focuses on elements of human safety and how we can all implement daily safety practices that will benefit the entire team and the project itself. Training includes topics such as:
What a safety culture is. Having an honest conversation about the overall cultural aspect of the jobsite and how safety should be more than a priority—it needs to be a core value.
Encouraging accountability. This involves conversations surrounding how each person has the responsibility to be safe and what employees can do to help correct questionable workplace behavior.
The importance of perception and awareness. We demonstrate for our employees how we can become too focused on the task at hand rather than our environment and discuss how we can improve our concentration by having the right culture and using the tools and procedures in place.
The true cost of an accident. Life saving actions can be critical in our daily environment. We take the time to discuss with employees what life saving actions (LSA) are, why they are important and how to perform loss performance self assessments.
The “why” of safety. Everybody is somebody’s everything. During this training, we discuss with employees who they are working for and what it would mean if they were injured in an accident on the job. We then discuss how everyone can develop safer habits and behaviors so that we can all make it home safely to our loved ones.
One of my favorite things about our safety culture is having each worker on site exhibit a visible, laminated photo of their loved ones pinned to their vest, which reminds them—and all of us working alongside them—who they need to go home to at the end of the day. It helps humanize one another and also helps us to not get complacent. Those pictures really bring it all home.
Thanks in part to the implementation of our standards and this Safety Culture Assimilation Program, we have proudly worked more than 200 days without a single safety incident!