June 2014

Going The Distance

Meet a leading Oregon health and safety professional

Person Name

Company: S.D. Deacon Corporation

Safety manager: Roger Dale-Moore

Workforce: 150

Common Hazards: Falls, extremity injuries during small-tool use, vehicle and mobile equipment hazards (including traffic hazards caused by working in urban areas), and musculoskeletal injuries.

What is your background and safety philosophy?

I have been in construction for 25 years and have worn most hats associated with being a carpenter. I have been a laborer, carpenter's apprentice, carpenter's foreman, superintendent, and now safety manager. I believe safety is an integral part of the work.

We were taught to build everything straight, square, plumb, and level. I would say it should be straight, square, plumb, level, and safe.

We have to incorporate safety at all levels of the work in order to create a successful quality project and a safe work environment for all workers on our projects. In the end, it's about connecting with the workers on a regular daily basis and training, reminding, supporting, and, when necessary, correcting them to do the right thing.

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What are some of the unique safety challenges you face on current projects?

Clients want projects done faster and faster in today's market. That acceleration creates endless opportunities for always finding time to include safety planning and execution during the work.

The Villa Sports project in Beaverton presents many safety challenges, but I would highlight the nine swimming pools as one of the largest on the site. The pools were one of the first things to start and until they are filled with water (creating another safety opportunity), they are a hole in the ground we have to find a way to work safely in and around.

Now that the economy is recovering, construction activity is picking up. How do you balance productivity with safety?

Preplanning. Preplanning. Preplanning. We start at contract and the project manager with safety requirements written in. Once a job begins, all workers on our job sites receive a safety orientation and must attend a global safety meeting each week they are on the job. Regular planning with job hazard analysis is crucial and, if done well, productivity actually increases with safety built in.

How do you keep your crew engaged in safety issues day to day?

I like to use continuous positive communication during job walks, foreman's meetings, and safety meetings. Even when correcting or removing workers, we must stay professional and let them know we care that they get home safely.

What advice do you have for other safety and health managers hoping to make a difference?

Talk to the workers on a regular basis to really find out what's going on and remember construction is really a lot of hard work. Stay respectful of that even when things are tough. Do your very best to over communicate to your managers at the highest levels the challenges and successes you see. We must be brutally honest with ourselves in order to continuously improve. red square - end of article


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