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: Michael Bocanegra
Company: Walls Brothers Asphalt
Title/Position: Construction Foreman
Years Working in Construction: 31 Total and 27 at Walls
How did you begin your career in construction?
I was 19 and needed a job and just happened to stop by a construction company to see if they needed any help and they hired me! It was my first job out of high school. I was checking construction companies because I knew that I wanted to work outside. I also thought to myself, “there are always going to be people building stuff,” so I figured it would be a job that could turn into a career for me. Funny story, I actually applied to a company in Darke County that is now one of our competitor’s and they passed on me!
How do you contribute to the overarching safety of your company’s workforce?
Ultimately, I am responsible for everyone’s safety at my company. Any time we are working, my first priority t is for my team members to stay safe. At the same time, I also have to keep in mind the safety of the public.
What does your company do to ensure safety on the job?
The leaders at Walls are always open-minded about ideas for safety especially those ideas coming from frontline workers like flaggers, etc. Recently, my team bought bright hardhat lights to try. If it’s something they like and I get positive feedback, we will continue to use them. Whatever it is that we may need, they offer the resources for us to get it. We never get complacent and always try to get better.
What is one thing you wish the general public knew about safety in construction?
I wish everyone could walk a day in our shoes on the back of a paver or walking beside a paver. When a car goes by you at 60 mph, it is a scary feeling. I have actually been hit by a mirror on a vehicle and I don’t think the driver even knew it happened. Work zones are even more dangerous now that the use of cell phones is so prevalent. Drivers are paying less attention than ever before.
How can the public help keep construction workers and work zones safe?
Attentiveness should be made priority #1 as soon as a driver enters a work zone.