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: September Chipman
Company: Shook Construction
Title/Position: Regional Safety Manager
Years Working in Construction: 23
How did you begin your career in construction?
I originally started working as a laborer in residential construction immediately out of high school. I later worked for a public water department where I got my start in safety. I continued working in safety for several contractors while earning my bachelor’s degree in Occupational Safety and Health.
How do you contribute to the overarching safety of your company’s workforce?
- With education and experience in the field, I serve as a resource to the workforce. I am available to assist them in creating safe working plans before work begins as well as when new hazards are presented.
- Completing regular and frequent jobsite visits and safety audits to determine the overall safety on a project and to determine trends so that they may be corrected.
- Lead with respect and by example. By following the rules and setting an example, as well as addressing employees with respect and tact creates a safety culture that employees want to be a part of.
- Recognizing safe behaviors of workers. A simple acknowledgement and thank you to employees for safe and proper behaviors and work sites is encouraging to employees to keep up the good work.
What does your company do to ensure safety on the job?
- A well rounded safety team consisting of regional safety managers to provide full coverage on our projects, and a safety director that is very involved and committed to providing the best safety and health program possible.
- Open communication and support of the safety team from upper management within the company.
- Ensuring that the right people, tools, and equipment are selected for the job.
- Providing training, stand downs, and toolbox talks to keep employees reminded and up to date on safety standards and expectations.
- Requires daily pre task planning documentation from the workforce to identify and control hazards.
What is one thing you wish the general public knew about safety in construction?
Safety in construction is not just the job of the safety professional or the superintendent, it is the responsibility of everyone on the job site and it is up to everyone to keep each other safe. The safety professional on site is not there to bust someone doing something wrong, he or she is there to help aid in getting the job done safely so that everyone can go home to their families.
How can the public help keep construction workers and work zones safe?
- Obey the posted signage that is put up for the safety and protection of both the construction worker and the general public.
- Stay out of barricaded areas, these are danger zones.
- Stay alert and do not be distracted by cell phones.
- Follow the construction speed limit.