Zero Lost-Time Injuries: The Secret(s) to Our Construction Safety Success
In the simplest terms, “safety” means being protected from danger, risk or injury. But here at Ryan, it means so much more. Besides being one of our core values—one championed by Scott Beron over his 27 years as Safety Director—we make it our mission to send all of our employees home safe and healthy at the end of each day.
Safety of both body and mind, for employees in the field and in the office, is, and always has been, our top priority.
Every hour on the job our field workers and subcontractors are exposed to serious hazards and risks, making rigorous and thoughtful safety precautions even more important. In 2022, Ryan employees worked a total of 4,051,797 hours—an increase of more than 11 percent from 2021. Even with this increase in hours worked, we still had zero lost-time injuries* last year. (Yes, ZERO!)
This is something to celebrate! That’s why this Construction Safety Week, we’re highlighting a few things we’re doing to keep everyone on our project sites safe. Keep reading!
- We enforce personal protective equipment (PPE) for everyone onsite. There is a 100 percent eyewear protection policy on project sites at all times and, even though it’s only required in Minnesota, we require Class 2 high-visibility vests nationwide.
- We designate specific safety personnel. On top of our senior superintendents who are in charge of safety, our larger projects have a designated safety person or a safety carpenter on the job at all times. We also hire outside safety consultants to walk our sites on a weekly basis to provide unbiased feedback and perspective.
- We begin each project with a safety orientation. At the beginning of each new project, all onsite workers have to go through a safety orientation that highlights rules and site-specific information for safety, including what to do if there’s an accident, who to report injuries to or where to go in the case of severe weather.
- We go above and beyond OSHA’s requirements. We imposed a 6-foot tie-off rule on all of our project sites across the country, even though OSHA standards only require them at 15- and 30-feet for steel erection actives and 10-feet on scaffolding. Note: There is a 4-foot fall protection requirement in the state of Washington.
- We hold our subcontractors to our construction safety standards. Subcontractors must be prequalified, as well as having a written safety and health program in place, before bidding any work on any of our projects. If their experienced modification rating (EMR)** is above a 1 and the company has had OSHA violations within the last four years, they will need to be further evaluated by our safety department. We also require that they have at least one of their field staff supervisors (i.e., competent person) have an OSHA 10-hour safety certification. This employee must be onsite while work is commencing.
- We use our mornings to prepare for the day. Our onsite teams hold daily morning meetings to discuss what tasks will be performed that day and how to do them correctly and safely. And on our larger projects, there is a similar meeting with foremen and their crews. Besides meetings, our field teams go through a stretching routine each morning to help prepare their bodies and prevent soft tissue injuries.
- We implement construction safety micro-learnings. We send out a multiple-choice construction safety “question of the day” to all of our field workers across the country as a way to engage, educate and involve our employees in a safety mindset every day.
- We participate in National Stand-Downs: Fall Prevention. For the ninth year in a row, during May 2-6, 2022, our jobsites nationwide participated in the 9th National OSHA Fall Prevention stand-down. Over 4,000+ workers attended this safety awareness opportunity at jobsites in all regions. The stand-down tradition will continue again later this month.
- We train our employees in CPR-AED / First Aid. 175 employees were trained in CPR-AED in 2022, as well as first aid throughout the country.
- We ensure safety is a team effort. Construction safety begins with our senior management and is carried out by all of our team members onsite. Each project site has a safety committee, which is made up of employees, subcontractor staff, foremen, representatives from unions, laborers and carpenters. These committees ensure that each member of our team is able to be heard and knows that they play an important role in keeping themselves and others safe.
*Lost-time injuries: an injury that occurs while on the job that makes you unable to complete your regularly assigned job duties for a minimum of one shift or one full workday.
**Experience modification rate (EMR): a metric that insurers use to calculate a company’s insurance compensation premiums.