Thursday, October 19, 2017
   
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Construction Safety

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PacWest professionals place safety at top priority.
We have an impeccable safety record for 30+ years.
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 Planning, Training and Inspections

Contractors and subcontractors manage a variety of considerations as they oversee a building's construction, including budget, materials and schedule. They also must ensure compliance with a wide range of regulatory requirements, from environmental standards to legal employment practices. One of the most important concerns all contractors must control, particularly in the construction industry, is safety.

The federal government considers construction safety a significant concern. In 2009, more than 59% of all federal inspections performed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) nationwide, 22,891 inspections in all, took place in the construction sector. OSHA conducted an additional 27,672 state inspections at construction jobsites.

Over the past few years, incidents involving vehicles or equipment have been the primary source of construction workplace injuries in the USA. Fall hazards also account for a high percentage of the mishaps that take place. Other hazards that result in jobsite injuries include electrical shock and caught-betweens and falling objects.

The approach to maintaining a safe jobsite and minimizing the risk from these and many other hazards is a three-pronged strategy of planning, training and inspections.

safety equipment-11Planning: Stopping Mishaps Before They Occur

Planning ahead allows workers to see and avoid mishaps before they occur. Our work crews do a pre-task planning every day. Before work starts, we assess the tasks to be performed and identify hazards, then eliminate them or engineer them out. This process takes place before the project starts and repeats every morning until it's done. The planning varies by location because each jobsite presents its own unique hazards, but the general process of ongoing planning remains the same.

On a more strategic level, we have a formal safety plan. The plan is thoroughly documented and made available to everyone involved in our projects. This ensures our operations stay within OSHA standards and formalizes our policies so everyone, from our employees to our clients, knows our standards and procedures ahead of time.

Safety Trainingsafety equipment-3

Training is the second essential component of the successful safety plan. We do extensive training for our jobsite supervisors. All of our jobsite supervisors have completed the OSHA 30-hour course, have been trained in first aid and emergency response, and have earned CPR certification. And every worker onsite is continuously briefed on procedures to ensure jobsite safety and emergency response in complete coordination with their jobsite supervisor. 

One reason constant training is important is due to the ever-evolving nature of personal protective equipment (PPE). Manufacturers constantly produce new or improved PPE in response to identified needs in the marketplace or as a result of evolving OSHA standards, and contractors must stay current on what is available.

PPE changes all the time. OSHA's requirements change frequently and equipment makers constantly innovate to meet those revisions. The PPE that was fully compliant last year may not be today. For example, a few years ago there was no such thing as retractable lanyards for fall protection. Given all the different positions workers needed to be to get the job done, in many situations the standard harness didn't suffice. So they came up with the retractable lanyard, one that creates an instant stop within two inches of the start of the fall, to respond to that need. OSHA changes a requirement, manufacturers respond with new PPE and contractors are expected to stay on top of this.

safety equipment-8Safety Inspections 

Following on the heels of planning and training, the third component of the successful safety program is to self-inspect. PacWest Contracting LLC supervisors and a safety representative walk the jobsite several times a week, observing work processes, documenting procedural violations and potential hazards, and implementing corrective actions. Often, these inspections result in procedural changes that are incorporated into the daily pre-task planning.  

Our longstanding commitment to jobsite safety ensures our company will constantly monitor and manage safety concerns to do everything possible to protect not only our workers but all others who may visit the jobsite.

Long before OSHA jobsite inspections, safety concerns are corrected to comply with rules and regulations. First, we care about the well-being of all workers on the jobsite and second, we recognize the high cost in terms of life, limb, lost time and financial penalties attributed to accidents and/or unmanaged safety issues.

Benefits of a Superior Construction Safety Program

Clearly, implementing the successful safety program requires a great deal of work at all levels of the project. The results are well worth the effort.

Our safety program gives us a big advantage in the marketplace. Our A+ rating with the insurance carriers reduces premiums considerably, allowing us to be more competitive in our bids. We're finding that developers, owners and investors are becoming more interested in the safety programs of who they choose to work with. They recognize that a safety-conscious contractor reduces their potential liability for law suits and bad publicity. Our safety program is a legitimate marketing advantage that allows us to separate ourselves from our competition.

Our safety program is a benefit from an operational standpoint as well. We haven't suffered a time-lost incident in the past ten years. Workers come to our jobsites, trusting that we operate a safe work environment, and that improves morale. We have a track record for safety, which establishes an expectation in our workers' minds that we won't tolerate anything less than safe work procedures. In that sense the program is self-perpetuating. Most importantly, on a moral level we want our workers to be safe. We want them going home in the same condition they came to work in. Our safety program provides cost benefits, marketing advantages, operating and efficiencies, and it is fundamentally the right thing to do.

The greatest challenge to maintaining a safe jobsite is attitude. Getting people to recognize the inherent risk of working on a construction site is a big part of what we have to do every day. It's easy to cut corners on safety. It's easy not to put on the reflector vest or harness, not put up the railing on the scaffolding. For the safety program to be a success we have to overcome that complacency.

We take safety very personally, and make safety personal to our people in the field. We talk directly to the workers, and try to make them think of their family and their responsibilities beyond work. We try to touch the person's heart first. We believe that's how you start and finish the attitude change. If you can win the battle over attitude, the planning, training and inspecting all falls into place.


PacWest Contracting LLC
P.O. Box 7799
Bend, Oregon 97708
office: 541-330-0450
cell:    541-213-8526
fax:     541-330-0451

 
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