Safety Education: The Foundation of Success

By Cullen Irish

Safety Director

Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing

 

 

Anyone who thinks that construction is a staid old industry has likely never been exposed to our environment where daily changes occur in manpower, materials, application methods, contracts, insurance and risk management. Today, change is the only constant in the construction business. Chamberlin’s challenge is to provide a quality product on time for a competitive price amongst these changing factors, but our first and most important challenge and priority is safety - for our clients and our employees.

 

No project can be considered successful if one of our people is injured or if our client’s property is damaged in the course of our work. Chamberlin addresses this constant challenge of working by continually providing safety education to all of our field operations teams.

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires contractors to provide a safe workspace and recognizes that education is the key to a safe work environment. It is through this education that hazard awareness is taught and that the dangerous conditions found at construction sites are minimized.

 

We recognize that our first responsibility is to send our people back to their family in the same condition as they were in when they reported to work. So, as a key part of each new employee’s indoctrination process, they are required to attend a safety orientation course to educate them on basic safety procedures and Chamberlin’s expectations for them to put safety first on each and every project. Chamberlin provides specific employee education for all types of conditions. In safety lingo there is an individual standard that is termed “competent person.” This term is defined as “one who has the training to recognize hazards, the experience to counter the hazard and the authority to take the action needed.” We believe that a competent person is a better worker and we educate to this standard.  

 

In 2004, Chamberlin invested over 1500 man hours in educating our staff in safety classes leading to 324 competent person certifications for powder-actuated tool use, sheet metal shop safety, lock/tag/try procedures, ladder use, fall protection, suspended scaffolds, supported scaffolds, personnel lift operation, fork-lift operation, extendable boom fork lift operation, asbestos awareness, and respiratory safety/fit test. In these courses our workers are educated on when and how to use tools and safety equipment, how to inspect the equipment and how to protect themselves while remaining productive. In 2004, 84 roofing mechanics were educated in an eight-hour torch safety and use class with certification provided by the National Roofing Contractors Association. Additionally, all of our supervisors were educated in Red Cross sponsored programs in CPR and First Responder.

 

Safety education goes beyond the field operations. Chamberlin’s goal of continual improvement provided a live and on-line “Water Intrusion and Mold Seminar” in Dallas and Houston simultaneously for our Project Managers. Office personnel also attend a number of AGC and ABC educational events. Even our safety instructors continue their education with Construction Safety Specialist classes from the AGC and specialized training in suspended scaffolding from Spider.

 

Armed with effective education - that is the right knowledge, and the commitment of dedicated individuals - Chamberlin can and will continue to deliver jobs on time, on budget and on spec.  Our conviction that this is the foundation of success can be seen in the symbol on the uniform arms of our workers:  SAFETY – QUALITY—PRODUCTIVITY.