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Safety Audit

Safety programs are often talked about and touted, but no amount of words can express the value of seeing a safe project in action. No safety manager can place a number on seeing results — tangible results in the form of a project with zero incidents where everyone goes home safe every day.

Safety is more than just a set of numbers, more than a score to highlight accomplishments and a company’s commitment to it; it is the difference between sending employees home in the same shape they came to work. It is a mindset, a belief in the system and in each other.

Like anything else in this business, it starts with our people and a commitment to making a project successful — from a financial, quality, and safety standpoint. With many large-scale projects currently under construction, MMC Contractors has taken a step back and employed a number of new safety protocols in addition to taking a unique approach based on project needs.


Safety Manager Rob Green discusses how introducing some new protocols has netted positive results for the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital project in Omaha, Neb. "This was the first large project that we really pushed our revamped Stretch and Flex Program. Ensuring our team does their stretches each morning has really cut down on sprains and strains. We also started tailoring our toolbox talks to the conditions our guys were faced with on this project, so everyone started each day aware of potentially unsafe conditions they should avoid," he said. "The guys would always point out concerns and almost always have suggestions on how to do it the right way. This was great not only for our communication throughout the project, but it also improved trust and accountability among the team."


Placing an emphasis on communication among the team is just the beginning. Safety managers are also opening the lines of communication with other contractors on the job, working in unison to create a safe environment rather than in silos. "I established a great working relationship with the GC safety manager from day one. We addressed issues on this project together and both came up with solutions to make sure all of our employees were not only on the same page, but that they also made it home safe every day," said Green. "A few of the guys in the field even stepped up and became members of our partner’s CVIS Program (Craft Voice in Safety), which created a collaborative environment where members of both crews felt comfortable contacting either me or the GC’s safety manager if a concern arose, so it felt like one cohesive unit," he said.

Tony Inzauro, safety manager for the GC, attributes the success to not only the communication between contractors, but also to the managing styles both shared. "My first goal was to develop relationships with the group, to build their trust so they knew I was their ally, not someone who would punish them or send them home for unsafe behaviors. Rob did the same, and as the project went on, we found that as we started to help our teams look for alternative methods, correct, and educate them, we were also performing field training right there. This went a long way with our crews, and because they were not afraid to speak up, we were able to curb unsafe behaviors," he said.


In addition to building relationships with all partners, Cerner Trails Campus Phase 1 & 2 project Safety Manger Kent Schuette focuses on his rapport with his crews. "I manage safety at Cerner by spending as much time in the field as I can where the crews are working. I believe it is vital to build a relationship with the field so they’re comfortable asking questions and utilizing me when I am needed. I make it a point to not only be seen on the site on a daily basis, but also to be available for the crews, should they have a concern or question, so we can head off impending problems together," he said.

Finding solutions before potential issues become bigger setbacks is only one component of maintaining a safe work environment — getting everyone on board is the other. "We had very good foreman and project managers that are very safety driven," said Green. "Everyone stayed focused on the end goal of zero injuries and were very engaged in the program as a whole. Bottom line, everyone has to be on board. Safety isn’t one person, it’s everyone. If you set clear goals and expectations and make everyone feel like they have some ownership to the success of the program, it makes it important to them — and results in a very safe and very successful project."