Contract Glaziers Talk About Critical Steps to Ensure a Safe Jobsite
September 20, 2010

Jobsite safety is of critical importance for glass companies across the United States and their efforts, as well as others in the construction industry, could very well be paying off. For example, statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, preliminary results of its 2009 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries showed 4,340 fatal work injuries, down from 5,214 fatal work injuries in 2008. However, while the number may be down, safety continues to be a prime focus for many and cannot be taken lightly, as accidents can and still do happen. Some industry glass companies talked to™ about the measures they take to ensure the safest possible work environment for their employees.

Dave Nohr, president of Glassworks in Muskego, Wis., says that his company works closely with vendors that offer certifications/training on various equipment types such as forklifts and scaffolding.

“We utilize those vendor relationships,” Nohr says, noting his company is not a union shop. “The two biggest on-site safety risks on which we focus are falls--luckily we’ve never had one--and getting cuts.” He adds that they also provide a higher base rate of pay for those who are certified. “The certifications also have to be maintained continually.”

Danny Davis, principal of Arrow Glass & Mirror in Austin, Texas, says his company’s safety manager is responsible for attending OSHA classes and trainings and then scheduling training with field employees.

“We make sure [employees] are trained on all of the equipment we use, such as harnesses, lifts, etc. The safety manager is also responsible for documenting the training and making sure that training is part of our standard operating procedures (SOPs),” says Davis, adding that employees must also stay current with their certifications.

“I think safety is becoming more and more important, especially now because so many of the jobs are public jobs,” Davis says, adding that they have daily safety meetings on every job.

If there ever is any type of loss-time injury, both companies say they offer return-to-work programs in place.

“These are individually based upon what the physician tells us, such as a light work load,” says Nohr. “So the employee will be on a light work duty until the doctor tells us otherwise.”

Davis agrees.

“Employees would go on a light-duty program until they are able to be back in full.”

Both Nohr and Davis agree that maintaining a safe, productive work environment is critical and something that should never be taken lightly.

“It’s important to have a program in place and a safety director and to make sure everyone follows the rules,” says Nohr. “If you have a worker’s comp claim, don’t treat it lightly; immediately report it to the insurance company and follow their guidelines, because if you don’t then your liability just expands. Also be sure and follow through on the physician’s orders.”

Davis add, “Have a safety manual for employees to read and sign off on that they truly comprehend what it says; daily safety updates are important as well. You want employees to understand that they are important and you don’t want them getting hurt.”

“And, document everything,” Davis adds. “If your SOPs change be sure and do the updated training and have the employees sign off on it.”

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