Western Real Estate Business

JUN 2018

Western Real Estate Business magazine covers the multifamily, retail, office, healthcare, industrial and hospitality sectors in the Western United States.

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42 • June 2018 • Western Real Estate Business www.REBusinessOnline.com SAFETY FIRST What developers need to know about construction site safety. By Jim Wathen H aving the right tools and re- sources at your disposal, along with arming your employees to do the right thing, can result in a safer construction environment for every- one. Comprehensive safety plans, train- ing programs and hazard analysis systems, among others, are all criti- cal aspects of keeping construction sites safe. However, there are multiple commonly overlooked factors the construction industry should keep in mind to ensure a safe environment for all workers. Contracts When items such as hole covers, guard rails, toe-boards and rebar pro- tection are missed in contracts, con- tractors tend to ignore requirements that help prevent unsafe conditions. Understanding current occupational safety requirements and applying them to contracts will help eliminate these issues. We have the most stringent heat illness prevention requirements in California, and the state's clean air requirements mandate that off-road, earth-hauling equipment meets Cali- fornia Air Resources Board and Air Quality Management District stan- dards. Another California-specific requirement is the use of personnel hoists for areas where a building is more than 60 feet in height. At 36 feet, these hoists must be operational. This can add significant costs to a project that may only have a small portion of the building exceeding this mea- surement. More owner contracts are requiring the highest level of compli- ance with these rules. If contractors don't know and understand these requirements before they bid, their scope of work can become very costly. Technology Technology is increasingly becom- ing a major part of company safety programs. Contractors should be us- ing the many apps and devices avail- able to document safety efforts and concerns. If there is an issue, this documentation and data can easily be reviewed and a plan can be created to ensure the same issue does not oc- cur again. This is much more effective and time efficient than relying on em- ployees' memory or paperwork filed away in an office somewhere. It also encourages workers to do the right thing from the start because there is accountability for adhering to the safety plan. Which technology you should use depends on the level of technologi- cal sophistication, age of your work- ers, your company's business objec- tives and many other factors. There are numerous options out there, but ultimately the best choice depends on what type of data and documenta- tion would be most useful for the job at hand, and what workers feel most comfortable using. Employee Empowerment While inspections are always an important part of job site safety, it's even more important to empower employees who are onsite every day to promote a safe environment. One of the methods C.W. Driver uses to encourage this behavior is challenge coins. When someone is seen going above and beyond to promote a safe environment or, alternatively, making a choice that eliminates their risk, they are awarded a challenge coin with an explanation of why they are receiving it. By accepting the coin, they now ac- cept the responsibility to be an active part of promoting safety, identifying unsafe conditions or actions and tak- ing steps to prevent injuries no matter what the trade. This simple program encourages communication sur- rounding safety issues and empowers employees to act the moment they no- tice something. To comply with California Occupa- tional Safety and Health Administra- tion's (Cal/OSHA's) injury and illness prevention program requirements, companies must establish manage- ment/employee safety committees on projects. This requirement mandates the use of an anonymous method for employees to report unsafe acts or conditions without fear of reprisal and/or establish a management/em- ployee safety committee. C.W. Driver has developed a safety suggestion system for individu- als to report unsafe acts or conditions and establishes safe- ty committees on each project. These committees are com- posed of project and field manage- ment, trade supervi- sion and craft workers. Project safety committees come together regularly to discuss and review project safety efforts and establish an open line of communication. Recognition Programs Recognizing employees and con- tractors for their safe work is not only a great way to reduce hazard- ous behaviors, it also boosts morale. Verbal acknowledgments are always important, but we like to provide tan- gible rewards, too. We pass out raffle tickets during job site walks, giving tickets to those who are adhering to and promoting safety protocols. We then raffle off everything from 55-inch TVs to hats and coolers at our regu- lar safety meetings. These types of in- centives encourage workers to go the extra mile to ensure job sites are safe. They also make the process more fun for everyone. We also like to recognize subcon- tractors who receive the Golden Gate recognition from Cal/OSHA Consul- tation. This program is an active part of our overall partnership program with trade partners. There are several levels of safety partnership programs that can be obtained regardless of the type of business you're in, whether it's agriculture, construction or manu- facturing. The Cal/OSHA Consulta- tion has become an integral part of the way we do business. By utilizing the state's consultation, we've incorporat- ed our trade partners into our safety culture and created a more collabora- tive approach to safety. Ensuring contracts are comprehen- sive and up to date, using technology to document and pull data, empow- ering employees to take action and implementing recognition programs are all important aspects of prevent- ing safety issues from occurring on job sites. While not as obvious as the train- ing programs and safety planning that is common with any construction job, these factors can be equally important in promoting a safe environment for workers. Jim Wathen, Safety Director, C.W. Driver Companies in Pasadena, Calif. Wathen Our magazines, newsletters, websites and conferences cover all aspects of commercial real estate. We offer those in commercial real estate the ability to receive content specialized to their geographic area and sector. www.francemediainc.com Scott France | 404-832-8262 | scott@francemediainc.com ANCILLARY RETAIL TM SENIORS H O U S I N G B U S I N E S S ®

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