Tie off when unloading sheet rock
Jeremiah, Plumbing Foreman for a full-service mechanical and plumbing contractor in Wilsonville, OR, told Session 8 of Turbo Leadership Systems’ Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“On April first of this year, my crew was assigned the plumbing oft he new resident’s hall at George Fox University. While working on the third floor bathrooms, just down the hallway from the loading doors, the sheet rock workers were in the process of off-loading sheet rock. In the loading zone there are two rails to protect from hazardous falls of almost 25 feet. In their process of unloading, they had removed the top rail of fall protection.
“The general contractor had mentioned many times that if any rails were removed the people within 15′ of the door needed to be harnessed and tied off. So I went to the sheet rock workers and said, ‘Hey we have to be tied off if the top rail is down.’ They proceeded to put the top rail in and off-loaded their last few sheets.
“About 15 minutes later, while working on the wing on the other side of the job, the sheet rock guys were starting to unload theirrock for this wing. Once again, they had removed the top rail. This time I was a little irritated and mentioned their safety infraction to them. They ignored me, so I went straight to the general contractor. They got a strict reprimand. This made their foreman mad that I didn’t go to him. I realized I should have gone through him first but didn’t regret addressing a very serious safety infraction.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is the importance of being respectful when I am standing up, speaking out and being counted; I need to go through the chain of command. Not just go straight to the top.
“The action I call you to take when you stand up for safety standards is to follow the protocols in place. Do this, and you won’t get egg on your face.
“The benefit you will gain is a happier and safer work place that you will feel proud of.”
American industry works much more safely today than a generation ago. EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) Today reports aplummeting 85% reduction in the number of fatal injuries to employees since 1974. This improvement didn’t happen by accident (no pun intended). Safe work that results in an accident-free workplace requires the watchful eye of everyone on your project, in your work environment. When you see a safety infraction, you must be willing to stand up, speak out, and be counted.
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