“It’s in our hands.” That’s the theme of Safety Week 2017. In its fourth year, the annual initiative brings together groups across the construction industry through training sessions and other events nationwide to emphasize the importance of creating a culture of safety on the jobsite.
This year’s event runs May 1 to May 5 and promotes jobsite safety as a shared responsibility. The theme also draws attention to the prevalence of hand injuries, as work-related damage to hands, fingers and tendons is one of the most common causes of missed work days. We spoke with Smoot Construction’s Matt McMillion, Corporate Safety Director, about the company’s approach to safety.
How would you describe Smoot Construction’s overall approach to safety?
The foundation of any successful safety program is of course Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance – however, in reality, this is just the beginning. A large part of Smoot Construction’s approach to safety is to stress the importance of creating an exceptional overall safety culture at all of our jobsites, as well as the company as a whole.
We have achieved a safety-first culture by placing a strong focus on accident prevention, continual employee training, which features customized safety and health OSHA programs, as well as management training and consultation (referred to as OSHA on-site). This training can help employees determine potential hazards at worksites, improve occupational injury and illness prevention programs, and possibly even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.
Within our company, who holds the responsibility to ensure worker safety?
Though the responsibility of worker safety ultimately falls upon the shoulders of the company’s Corporate Safety Director, our leadership tasks all employees with safety. From new hires to our most seasoned employees, each and every one of us are ultimately responsible for the safety of our workers on jobsites.
What is Smoot Construction’s future goals related to safety?
Smoot Construction’s number one goal regarding safety has remained the same for countless years – and will surely never change. Our employees, inclusive of leadership, work tirelessly to ensure each worker on our jobsites goes home safely to their loved ones every single day.
What are the benefits of Safety Week, and how does Smoot Construction participate?
By participating in Safety Week, we are able to turn our attention to safety-specific issues that may be occurring within the industry as a whole. This year, Smoot Construction is focusing on fall protection with a company-wide safety stand down. All employees and subcontractors will be trained to heighten the awareness of fall protection, as well as the new OSHA Fall Protection Standard implemented early this year.
What does leading our firm’s safety efforts mean to you, personally?
Leading the company’s safety efforts is beyond immeasurable and immensely humbling. I have found that it is the opportunities in life you do not take advantage of that you tend to regret the most. I see clearly that it is this career choice that has provided me with the opportunity to ensure hundreds and hundreds of people go home safely to their families every day.