During two sessions, Graycor presented its 2015 Safety Excellence Workshop at the Hilton Conference Center in Oak Brook, Illinois. Shawn Anderton, vice president of Graycor Industrial and Graycor Safety Committee co-chair, championed the daylong event which included a keynote speaker, training sessions, and new safety products and technology demonstrations.
This year’s theme—Stop the Drop—was chosen by the Safety Committee to not only introduce its Dropped Object Prevention Plan as another proactive step toward preventing safety incidents, but also to illustrate how work, similar to a dropped object, can suddenly—and dangerously—change direction given the situation. “We need proper planning, proactive processes and individual leadership to responsibly reassess the risk when circumstances change,” said Shawn. “Without it, safety, like a dropped tool, can spiral out of control.”
“Graycor believes every position here plays an important role as safety champion, and decisions made at all levels should put safety first,” said Robert Fritsche, Graycor Industrial vice president and Committee co-chair. “Our safety journey is one of continuous improvement in addressing new opportunities to promote safety. We never want to lose sight of safety basics while nurturing job site cultures which will encourage individual and team ownership in safety excellence,” he added.
Nearly 300 Graycor employees in positions from general foreman through executive management attended the informational sessions held in late August.
The workshop began with Brad Teckenbrock, president of Graycor Inc., speaking to the group on Graycor’s safety journey, in which he emphasized, “Staying on our path to zero incidents is the responsibility of all our employees.” Brad also shared a newly released corporate video highlighting the safety focus on which Graycor has built its reputation.
Adding to the concept of safety accountability and how the failure of any one role can undermine goals, Dave Miguel, keynote speaker and owner of Kansas-based Underground Safety & Supply LLC, presented on the importance of always working safely—not only for the well-being of workers, but also for the network of family and friends waiting at home. David used the historic Titanic and recent Concordia cruise liner disasters as examples in demonstrating how just one person’s actions due to loss of safety focus changed the course of history.
In separate break-out sessions, the workshop topics entailed best practices in: Project Safety Startup and Safety Auditing; Orientation; Job Hazard and Task Safety Analyses; Material Hazards; Dropped Object Prevention Program; and Tight Spots. To summarize each:
Proactivity is Key
Stephen Brown, Graycor Industrial senior project manager, and Doug Zwaga, Graycor safety manager, presented on how to establish a job site safety plan, as well as highlighted two of Graycor’s key project safety assessment tools available to project teams. The Project Startup Safety Checklist and the new Safety Audit form were examined as essential tools in evaluating a project’s scope, location, culture and needed skillsets, as well as unique needs of the client and trades. The group learned that proactively assessing project safety helps implement proper communication, training, equipment, processes and timing for safe work execution. The Safety Audit form was also discussed further and identified as a means to plan for hazards before mobilizing.
Establish Project Culture and Expectations
According to Brad Neibert, Graycor Industrial chief estimator and former project manager, the ideal time to set safety culture and standards is during the first moments at the job site during project orientation. During his segment on Orientation Best Practices, Brad described methods on how best to impart with employees Graycor’s commitment and culture, set expectations, provide consistent rules, and establish lines of communications. He also conveyed new mandatory components that will be incorporated into orientations such as providing a thorough understanding of the project (e.g., project type, logistics, hazards and team member roles) and an examination, which will help gauge employee understanding and retention, and provide feedback on how to modify the orientation to be more effective.
Because injury prevention begins even before the first hammer is swung, establishing and constantly re-evaluating a work plan keeps a team’s focus on the inherent dangers and factors that can distract a worker’s attention and compromise safety. To assist in maintaining that focus, Graycor Safety Representative Adam Heatherwick presented best practices and use of Graycor’s Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) —a generalized plan outlining the project work scope and how work is to be safely completed—and Task Safety Analysis (TSA), which is a duty-specific plan analyzing potential hazards and proposed control measures prior to beginning challenging or unfamiliar work. These standardized Graycor safety processes are designed to help recognize and prepare for potential hazards before workers face those dangers in the field.
Safely Handle Unexpected Dangers
In a session on Material Hazards, Graycor Industrial’s Jim Armour, senior project manager, and Matt Bero, assistant project manager, discussed how to deal with the challenges of working at older facilities where job site hazardous materials, despite best efforts, are often not apparent until work begins and, therefore, must be cautiously addressed. Jim and Matt, also Safety Committee members, shared an example of an environmental project where hidden hazards such as contaminated soils, lead paint and toxic gases required work plans to be modified to include additional safety measures, material testing and health monitoring.
Stop the Drop
Tools and supplies, like people, can fall if not properly secured, and, worse, ricochet and cause injury to workers many feet away. This presentation module—key to this year’s Stop the Drop safety workshop—was given by Graycor Industrial’s Tony Dinnocenzo, project manager, and Dave Henning, project safety engineer, with the assistance of Jim Tumpane of Tenacious Ergodyne Work Gear Solutions. Tony and Dave rolled out Graycor’s new Dropped Object Prevention Program, designed to address the safety risks involved with falling objects. In helping to administer the new program, the group learned ways to evaluate risks and options to prevent these types of injuries. Careful coordination of work with crews above and below work platforms—along with regular safety checks and solutions for retrofitting tools with specially designed lids, tethers, shackles and netting—were identified as ways to prevent potential injuries from dropped objects.
Don’t Get Caught
Because caught-in or -between hazards remain one of OSHA’s recognized category leaders in serious safety incidents, new apparatuses have been developed to help prevent this type of injury. With assistance from Len Rodriguez, representatives from United Rentals, an equipment rental company, educated the group on the latest technology for man lifts, demonstrating how new components have been designed to work with the operator’s body positioning to provide automatic shutoff in preventing tight spot injury to operators. United Rentals also provided instruction on how to seek proper training in understanding equipment limitations prior to operating.
Stretch it Out
Rounding out the day’s events, Diane Newquist, certified physical therapist and vice president of industrial services with Athletico Physical Therapy—a physical therapy, occupational therapy and fitness services provider—educated participants on how to prevent personal injuries and instruct others through an interactive, ‘stretch-and-flex’ demonstration. Under Diane’s guidance, the audience performed stretching exercises to better understand proper back care in preventing workplace injuries.
“While our presenters provided invaluable safety insights and tools, we all need to be personal safety advocates,” said Shawn. “Because our safety workshop is meant to be interactive, questions and feedback from our diverse group of participants help improve our communication and safety processes so we can grow as individuals and as a company. We’re pleased with how employees engaged in the topics and demonstrations,” Shawn added.
To conclude the workshops, Sam Potter, president of Graycor Industrial, called for each participant to be a leader of Graycor’s safety journey. “Be it an individual or team journey, leaders don’t dictate the path, they stand in front of their teams charging forward and setting the example to follow,” said Sam.
Others who contributed their efforts for this year’s Safety Excellence Workshop include Safety Committee members Jeff Hineman, Graycor safety representative, and Charlie Snow, Graycor Industrial superintendent, as well as Wanda Scott, Graycor administrative assistant, and Laurie Bowden, Graycor Industrial executive assistant.