by TJ Lyons
Companies industrywide strive to achieve the same goal to establish a reputation for a safe work environment: reducing and eliminating job-site injuries. During the week of May 7, 2018, the entire construction community will unite in the observance of National Safety Week to raise awareness about the importance of safety and the industry’s commitment to it. Construction sites throughout the U.S. and Canada will hold a variety of events to exemplify this year’s theme, “The Power of Safe Choices,” and provide skills and tools we can also bring home to our families.
At Total Facility Solutions (TFS), safety has been a fundamental value of our firm and the good people working here. As industry leaders and LEAN experts (safety and LEAN go hand-in-hand), we are fully committed to our employees’ health, and do all we can to demonstrate that. We empower our employees to make the right safety choices by implementing measures like site-specific safety plans, quality employee training and job-site safety inspections. For example, our “Everyone Goes Home Safe” initiative encourages everyone at TFS, from our executive leadership team to our craft employees, to work together to create an injury-free workplace.
To maintain a safe environment, our craft employees do “near-miss” and “good-catch” reporting. Reporting these “near” incidents teaches our employees a valuable lesson, and allows us as a company to evaluate and continually improve our procedures and policies across the country. Lessons learned and near misses, often shared by others, are also seen as a gift; a way to help prevent accidents from ever occurring.
This commitment is why we are diving deep into Safety Week by hosting a variety of emergency drills, safety-specific training and demos, webinars, guest speakers and fun, engaging activities at our offices in North Carolina, Texas, New York, California, Arizona and Utah.
In an industry considered high-risk for safety-related incidents, it is key to hold active drills and provide proper training so that employees are prepared when a problem arises. Our offices will run drills related to fires, medical emergencies and chemical spills. We will work with local firefighters on our sites and in our offices to provide feedback on the performance of the drill, and get some real-life, expert and relevant coaching to inform employees about best practices in critical situations.
Throughout the week, we will touch on relevant topics that affect our employees’ safety, or their families’. For example, employees will participate in an “active shooter” drill, at which time local law enforcement will provide “Personal Safety Awareness” training, including tips on site security based on the building’s layout as well as protecting ourselves when in public.
Additionally, it is worth noting that construction workers rank relatively high on the list of occupations at risk for committing suicide, so this is a particularly good week for us to call attention to a difficult reality. This is a cause I will continue to champion, this week and beyond, for it is very personal and relevant to me.
Our employees will also engage in the “Power of Safe Choices” initiative through informative webinars. The webinars will be on relevant topics such as the importance of sleep and its effect on personal safety, as well as emergency preparedness to educate employees on their roles and safety procedures for workplace emergencies. In addition, all offices will get refresher courses on first aid, CPR and AED training.
In conjunction with Safety Week, TFS will engage in the OSHA-led “National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction,” week, bringing awareness to fall prevention in hopes of reducing and eliminating fatalities and injuries. Our team will use this as an opportunity to share new and safer advances in personal protective gear, worksite design and internal safety policies to prevent injuries within the workplace. As part of our LEAN approach, we are constantly recognizing and executing LEAN operations that contribute to a more efficient and typically safer work environment. We have embraced that unique and powerful safety/LEAN link.
When it comes to making safe choices at work—whether it is the proper tool selection or “near-miss” and “good-catch” reporting—TFS values its employees’ safety by providing them with the proper training, time, tools, material and equipment. By observing National Safety Week, we demonstrate our care and our willingness to go above and beyond to honor our top-down companywide commitment to safety.