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December 4, 2017 Construction

Why I have Zero Tolerance Safety on My Projects

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New buildings symbolize progress, growth and innovation. Superintendents on construction sites have a slightly different perspective. We’re thinking about a lot of logistical issues, one of the most important being providing workers and clients with a safe, incident-free work environment.

The facts are that the 937 fatal injuries in the private construction industry in 2015 represented the highest total since 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly two thirds of those fatalities were the result of four hazards: caught-in or caught-between incidents, electrocution, falls or struck-by situations. How can companies best avoid being included in those statistics? Institute Zero Tolerance at the jobsite and communicate to employees and contractors the importance of strictly adhering to all safety regulations.

At my current jobsite, a Greenfield project for a national discount grocer, we are required to follow OSHA standards 29 CFR 1926, Emergency Temporary Standards and Imminent Danger standards. We must enforce OSHA 30 Hours, daily walk-around inspections, fall protection and proper clothing. Finally, we evaluate and inspect all personal protective equipment and maintain all equipment at the construction site.

My zero-incidents philosophy means going above and beyond all those stipulations listed, and by following and maintaining the stringent safety standards required by A M King on every one of our projects. In addition, here are my top techniques for ensuring safety on my jobs.

  • Build a relationship with all men and women on the job.
  • Reward workers. I like to host a cookout every six weeks. I also like to recognize a Crew or Subcontractor of the Month.
  • Always encourage open communication between everyone at the job.
  • Make sure all workers understand how important they are to my job, the company and their families. Example: Have them pull out a picture of their wife, kids or girlfriend, look at it and tell their loved one why they won’t be home today or may come home looking different than when they left.
  • Ask workers for total participation and willingness to share their safety suggestions.

You may be wondering how well these measures work. I’ve had zero lost time, zero recordable incidents and only two, minor first-aid circumstances in nearly 100,000 hours worked.


Mark Mullinax
With 35 years experience in the construction industry, Mark Mullinax specializes in managing jobsites for complex cold storage and food distribution projects.
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