National Work Zone Awareness Week is dedicated to the safety of our workers, roadways, and drivers. As part of our commitment to safety, I Build America – Ohio is giving safety managers the spotlight to share why safety is so important to our crews and our communities — and how the public can do its part. Check out the profile below for a first-hand look at why safety is important today and every day!
Name: Emmy Elkins
Company: Beaver Excavating & Beaver Constructors
Title/Position: Safety Specialist
Years Working in Construction: 18
How did you begin your career in construction?
I knew a small family-owned masonry company that wanted help with safety and I offered to fill that role for them. While it started out mostly as toolbox talks, it wasn’t long before I was responsible for everything safety related.
How do you contribute to the overarching safety of your company’s workforce?
My role is to be a resource for the field, safety, and management in multiple ways. Good planning and preparation make a job safer in addition to being more productive. Safety is integral in all phases of construction from bidding to a finished project.
Having programs, protocol, and information that are accurate, organized and easily accessible and is key. My experience and skills help that happen.
What does your company do to ensure safety on the job?
Safety is the responsibility of every employee, not just the Safety Team. Those doing the work every day are the only ones who can ensure it’s done safely. By empowering them, the entire company becomes part of the Safety Team.
What does ‘Holistic Safety’ mean to you? What does it mean to your company?
To me it means focusing on the wellbeing of the employees, not compliance. If the employees are treated well, and the company approaches safety from a place of caring, the rest falls into place.
What is one thing you wish the general public knew about safety in construction?
Sometimes Safety can have a bad reputation. Many people dread a visit from Safety. A safety person should be a resource that is used to help find ways to get the work done in the safest way possible. And a good Safety Program helps support that.
How can the public help keep construction workers and work zones safe?
Follow the instructions/signs/speed limits posted in work areas, they’re there to help keep everyone safe. And limit distractions, especially cellphones, while driving. We want EVERYONE to go home safe every day, this includes workers and the public.