The construction industry is a rewarding career with endless paths of upward momentum. The work is challenging, engaging, and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the community thrive using projects you’ve worked on.
However, construction workers must navigate complex hazards involving machinery, heights, and weather while on the clock. OSHA provides basic guidance to protect workers, but a good workplace safety program comes down to fostering positive attitudes, hazard awareness, and detailed planning to protect both our company employees and the contractors we collaborate with.
Meet Terry Vaughn: Safety Director at Branco
Terry Vaughn’s knowledge of safety comes from a career rich in experience. With thirteen years of experience in construction, Vaughn began his career as a carpenter navigating the same stresses, struggles, and risks as the workers he now helps to protect. Since 2017, Terry has been a positive source of safety insight for the entire Branco family. His careful eye for potential workplace hazards and positive attitude towards safety values helps each worksite at Branco run efficiently and often without incident.
Creating a Safe Work Environment
According to Terry, a healthy work environment results from “a lot of preplanning and being proactive on seeing possible safety issues and head them off.” No matter the project, we always start with safety.
Using OSHA and prior experience guidance, a safety plan must be in place before a construction project can begin. This plan is actually a living document, with protocols that can be updated or changed if a new best practice is identified.
In general, the safety plan outlines how the company intends to protect workers from the unique hazards present during a particular project or task. The plan will also outline what to do in a medical emergency, how to navigate hazardous weather, workplace diseases like COVID-19, how to handle an on-site fire, lockout/tagout procedures, expectations for sub-contractors, and requirements for equipment inspections.
To safely mitigate construction hazards, workers need to be trained on best practices. Workers should understand the machinery they operate, when to use personal protective equipment, how to handle emergencies, and how to spot potentially dangerous workplace scenarios.
While your workers gain experience in the field every day, they can’t be expected to retain every bit of protective information from a single training session. Instead, frequent refresher courses can help bridge the gap.
At Branco, outside of regular training and refresher sessions, Terry also frequently reminds workers of best practices through regular company emails and communication.
Fostering a Safe Attitude
Each worksite has its own culture. This is especially so when internal workers and subcontractors collaborate on a project. Every company has its own values, safety standards, and acceptable behavior. With a unique blend of people on every project, it’s important to always establish a strong safety culture right out of the gate.
Dismissive behavior towards safety or unsafe behavior is never tolerated. Instead, we encourage our workers to be active participants in safety, to take pride in their work, look out for one another, and be open about any hazards or concerns they see.
Addressing Needs Outside of the Worksite
A safe workplace includes more than just the worksite. Administrative and professional workers also have their own set of workplace safety needs. Like ergonomics for office workers, important injury prevention topics are just as integral to the fabric of a safety-oriented company as the plans for workers in the field.
It’s also important to think about employee’s long-term health. For example, one major aspect of training in the field is proper lifting technique and industrial ergonomics to protect the body’s musculoskeletal system from damage.
While proper lifting and ergonomics go a long way towards injury prevention, they only go so far. To help Branco’s family of workers stay healthy and pain-free, Terry implemented a daily stretch routine that improves flexibility and helps joints stay healthy.
Bringing Safety Home
No one is invincible. The choices we make at home while making dinner, working on a project, or even during an emergency can have life-altering consequences. Terry strives to protect the Branco family of workers and their families by using regular communication to instill good safety habits even when they’re off the clock.
Earthquakes, severe weather, fires, and other emergencies often strike without warning. We encourage our workers to create safety plans at home and always stay hazard aware.
Safe attitudes, strong communication, and careful planning help keep Branco a safe place to work. Terry Vaughn’s passion for preventing workplace accidents and awareness of the hazards workers navigate continues to be an asset to Branco and our subcontractors and clients.
The hazard vigilance and positive culture Terry, our superintendents, and our workers have created our company not only a great place to work but a safe one, too.