Safety First: 1,461 Days and Counting
Whether you’ve spent some time working in a warehouse or simply seen the opening sequence of The Simpsons a million times, you’re probably familiar with the tried and true “__ Days Without an Accident” sign.
While it’s easy to make light of such a stereotypical wall-hanging, you really can’t argue with its overall effectiveness in the workplace. For better or worse, the vast majority of us are willing to do almost anything to avoid public sign-shaming, and that includes taking a few extra safety precautions.
Not that we need to though. As humans, we’re constantly in need of that ubiquitous feeling of safety (it’s second only to food, water, and rest on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs after all). You could say that basic security and self-preservation are hardwired into our very DNA.
As a for-profit business comprised of safety-seeking humans, it makes sense that we would be willing to do whatever it takes to avoid preventable workplace mishaps—and that’s exactly what we’ve done.
While we don’t actually have the physical sign to prove it (trust us, we wish we did), we are incredibly proud to say that Greiner Construction has gone 1,461 days without a loss-of-time injury!
How did we get here?
In case you didn’t feel like doing the math, that checks out to just over four years of flawless safety. While it may go without saying, in this industry—that’s a really, really big deal.
At Greiner, we started tracking safety back in 2005 at the height of the so-called “safety awareness” boom. While workplace safety had been important to us long before then, it wasn’t really something that was talked about and certainly wasn’t recorded in any great detail.
All that changed when Paul Kreutzfeldt was appointed as our very first Field Safety Leader that same year. It wasn’t long before the number of daily safety precautions started to go up and the number of safety “incidents” began dropping.
Pretty soon we had an honest-to-goodness culture of safety on our hands. It was nice.
What does Greiner do to keep team members safe?
The personal health and safety of every employee are of primary importance to our project teams. In fact, the prevention of injuries is so important that it is even given precedence over other field activities.
To ensure that every member of the Greiner team goes home safe each night, our firm maintains a safety program that conforms to the practices outlined within our company’s safety manual.
While we won’t bore you with the granular details of the manual, it is important to note that we always make certain of the following:
- All team members are provided with reasonable safeguards to ensure safe working conditions.
- Teams are provided with neat, clean, safe, and healthy working conditions.
- All equipment, tools, and machines are kept in good condition.
- The Project Management team has developed safe work methods and trained employees accordingly.
- Our company has complied with all federal, state, and local laws regarding accident prevention.
- A weekly newsletter (Toolbox Talk) will be issued every Monday that focuses on a particular element of job site safety.
Setting a precedent of safety in the healthcare industry
With nearly 90% of our healthcare projects completed in occupied spaces, we understand the importance of not only keeping our team members safe but the other building occupants as well.
In order to protect patients and staff from construction dust and infectious pathogens, Greiner utilizes STARC panel technology on all of our healthcare projects. These panels exceed ICRA Class IV requirements and are easy to clean and sanitize.
Our healthcare teams are credentialed ASHE members, and our on-site tradeswomen and men receive specialized ICRA training from our local Carpenters Union. Members of our team are also CHC certified, meaning they are experts in healthcare construction and have knowledge of new regulations, which helps keep our job sites consistently safe.
In other words, we have the right team of professionals in place to safely serve your healthcare facility’s construction needs.
Talking workplace safety with Superintendent Paul Kreutzfeldt
Paul is an OSHA 30-certified Senior Superintendent and has been with Greiner since 1998. Having served as our Field Safety Leader for the past 15 years, he was the perfect person to answer our questions about workplace safety in the construction industry today.
Here’s what he had to say.
Why did you want to take the step to become the Field Safety Leader at Greiner?
When Greiner progressed forward with a formal safety program, I made it both a personal and professional goal to be part of the change, lead the company forward, and support our team as we work towards an injury-free environment.
How would you describe the safety culture at Greiner?
People want to work safely and want the right info in order to do that work in a safe manner. At Greiner, it’s always been more than just a standard to meet.
Every day, the foremen plan what is happening on the job sites and assess the risks in each task. In addition, superintendents have weekly meetings with all the carpenters and subcontractors on each job site, which often touches on safety concerns and preparations that need to be taken.
Everyone—and that includes our trade partners—has a voice on a Greiner job site. Safety is truly everyone’s responsibility.
What is the difference in safety between a ground-up and an interior-only project?
In general, there is more risk in a ground-up project, as there is typically a broader spectrum of work to be done. Not only that, but you need to consider the addition of heights, larger equipment, and unpredictable weather elements, which can all come into play.
Trust Greiner to get your job done safely
We know that to be successful, everyone must have the proper knowledge and attitudes toward injury prevention. This includes all superintendents, foremen, laborers, carpenters, and office personnel.
Our 30 years of experience has taught us that only through such a cooperative effort can a great safety program be established and maintained.
Do you have a safety-related question?
You can contact Paul directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.