The Breinholt Standard - Safety
How can you tell is a contractor has a good safety program? How can you tell if they actually operate safely? With a little bit of information here, you should be able to distinguish the good from the bad....and then make the decision to get yourself on the good side.
Contractors can use slogans like, "Safety Is Our Priority", and after reading this page you will know the indicators to be able to determine if that is actually the case.
#1 Employee Training
Training employees is a huge part of operating safely. Ask your subcontractors if they are conducting all or any of the following:
Asbestos Contractor Supervisor
Confined Space Entry
Aerial Lift and Fork Lift
MSHA 24 Hour
All or most of this training comes with a certificate or a card, and their employer should keep copies of this training. So, first ask if they conduct the training and then ask to see copies of the certificates. The contractor should be able to produce the training records very quickly.
A lot of the above trainings have annual refresher courses too, so be sure to check to see that they are up to date and current.
In addition to these specific trainings, all construction companies need to be conducting a weekly toolbox talk. This is where everyone gets together to discuss something short and sweet to be reminded about items they have been trained on. It is like mini refresher courses on specific subjects related to safety. It is also an opportunity for the contractor to go over any procedural updates and keep all the workers safety minded.
When these tool box talks are conducted, there is always a sign in sheet, and the topic for the meeting will be attached to the sign in sheet. The contractor will keep a record of these meetings. Ask your contractors to see copies of the meeting notes and sign in sheet. If they aren't doing these meetings, then it will probably take some time for them to produce something for you.
Call today and ask to see all the training records and meeting notes for Breinholt Contracting and we will have it all emailed to you within minutes.
#2 Safety Planning
Good contractors who work safely have a safety plan for the company and for each job. This is not the kind of safety plan that gets written by someone in the office and then stuck in the file cabinet. The contractors who have safety as a priority are the ones that make their safety plan a living part of their daily work practices.
These are somethings that the contractors you are looking at should be doing:
1. Have a written safety plan and program for their entire company.
2. Have a written safety plan specific to each job that they work on.
3. Have a written safety plan for all of the tasks that they perform. This is usually called a THA (Task Hazard Analysis). This is where the workers analyze each specific task that is going to be performed on the job and then identify all of the hazards that might be associated with that task. Then they will look at ways to eliminate the hazard so that the task can be done safely. This is done for each task on each job and on a daily basis.
Contractors that are doing these activities, and this level of safety planning will be able to provide you with their safety plan, their safety program, examples of their site or job specific safety plan, and provide you with examples of their THA's that they use on the job. Call your contractors and see if they are doing this.
#3 Safety Statistics - The Fruits of Your Efforts
A good safety plan that is well executed, and that has the management and the workers on board, will result in safe workers, safe jobsites and very few injuries. So how can you measure all this?
There are two items that need to be looked at for sure. If those items look just ok or questionable then you can dig deaper.
A key indicator that measures safety is called an Experience Modifier Rate, or EMOD. An EMOD is a number given to a company by a national rating organization and the number is based on worker compensation losses and payroll for a given woker classification.
In general, the more injuries, the higher the EMOD score is. If the company has no injuries and no worker compensation payouts, then that affects the EMOD for that company in a possitive way (lowering the number). The EMOD is based on a 3 year running average.
An EMOD rate of 1.00 is the average for any particular industry. If a company has an EMOD of less than 1 (like 0.75) then that means your company is better than average for your industry and the type of work that is done. If a company has an EMOD rate of more than 1 (like 1.20) then that means that company is worse than average.
Another way to measure how safe a company is by looking at its Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR). A recordable incident is counted as anything that requires more than onsite first aid. If a worker gets a cut on their hand and is all they get is a bandaid, then that is not a recordable incident. If a worker gets a deap cut and has to go to urgent care for stitches, then that is a recordable incident.
A company calculates the TRIR by taking the number of recordable incidents over the period of a year and multiplies that number by 200,000 hours, then divides that amount by the number of total hours that company worked for the year.
For example, if a company had 6 recordable injuries for the year and worked 100,000 hours of labor for the year, then the math equation would look like this:
(6 x 200,000) / 100,000 = TRIR of 12.0.
In a case study conducted by the US Department of Labor on Workplace injuries and Illnesses in 2007, page 18 shows the following statistics for TRIR in the construction industry:
Specialty Trade Contractors: 5.6.
Ask the contractors that you are considering to do work for you what their EMOD and TRIR is for the past 3 or more years. These should be numbers that they are proud of.
If these numbers are not as good as you might have hoped for, you can dig deeper. Ask them to show you how many injuries they have had for each year, the number of fatalities, and the number of work days lost due to injury.
OSHA 300 Logs
OSHA requires each company that has more than 10 employees to fill out what is known as a 300A form. On this form, when a worker has an injury, the employer is required to fill out information on the form related to how the accident happened, what type of injuries the worker got, what type of treatment they received, and information about the recovery and so on. These are public forms and you can ask your contractor to produce those for you so you can see what types of injuries were sustained on their jobs.
The Breinholt Standard
We would like to say that we are 100% perfect in this category at all times, but we do still have minor accidents from time to time. However, approximately 7 and 8 years ago we had a few sort of rough years on the safety front. Nobody was killed, and nobody lost any limbs, and nobody had to retire because of loss of function of any limbs, but we did have a little rash of several injuries.
We had some workers have knee injuries, foot injuries, hand injuries, and a vehicle accident and some things of that nature. As a company, we felt very badly that these things had happened so it unfortunately, but fortunately put us in a position where we had to analyze how we operated. It forced us to take a close look at our safety program.
As a result, we have become a very safe company. We make a big deal out of training our employees. We make very detailed plans about how we are going to be safe on a job so that we can have safe production. We have our workers take a close look at each task at hand having them identify the hazards and make a plan to eliminate them.
We are a better company now. We are a safe company. We have a very good track record now as well to show for our efforts. We will continue to get better as time marches on.
2014: will be calculated at the end of the year
In the history of our company, we have never had a fatality.
If you would like to inspect any of our OSHA 300 logs, we would be happy to share those with you upon request.
Breinholt Contracting sets the STANDARD. We challenge you to find a demolition contractor in the state that has a better safety plan and better safety statistics. If you want a contractor on your jobsite who has the skills and abilities to work safely then you are looking at the right contractor. If you are looking anywhere else, you might just be looking for trouble on your next job.