Safety Story from a Structure Tone Boston Superintendent:
Earlier this month, I received a call from one of our subcontractors to tell me that an electrician accidentally cut a half-inch copper pipe behind a restroom sink on the 11th floor of our project. Water started pouring out of the pipe and into the restroom. We immediately contacted the building engineering department and the rest of our staff by group text. Turning off the water was a multistep process, but by acting fast, the team was able to shut it off within the hour. We used plastic hampers and buckets to divert the water in the restroom, and the onsite staff cut the wall open to access the pipe and fasten a hose, ensuring the water flowed out of a window.
After we contained the situation, I made sure we set out fans and dehumidifiers to dry any internal water damage. The pipe was repaired that same day and the water was turned back on. The staff checked floors 8 to 11 and didn’t see any moisture spots other than inside the room itself. We dried the room out overnight and removed drywall associated with the leak to return the space back to normal.
Thanks to rapid communication and helpful staff, we averted a major water crisis.
A Safety Story from Ajax Building Corporation’s Safety Director:
A few years ago, Ajax was working with a particular steel erector for the first time on a project in Charlotte County. Whether it was getting everyone to wear their PPE or enforcing proper fall protection practices, making sure the foreman and crew were working safely was a daily struggle. Throughout the project, we held numerous meetings to discuss safety compliance, and when that failed, we were forced to start sending crew members home for violating site safety requirements. We even assigned a full-time safety coordinator to the project, specifically to monitor this crew.
About two years later, we were starting another project in Pinellas County. Market realities at the time dictated that we expand our base of steel erection subcontractors, so we hesitantly hired the same steel erector. We conducted a pre-construction safety meeting with them prior to starting and—as luck would have it—the same foreman and crew who had been on the last project were also assigned to this project.
During the meeting, I went through all the usual safety topics and the crew was fully engaged. Afterwards, the foreman pulled me aside and told me a serious incident occurred on the project immediately following their first job with Ajax. The event motivated them to hire a full-time safety director and develop safety training programs for all workers. “That accident opened our eyes, but it started with you guys,” the foremen said. “Ajax and your insistence on us working safely made us a better company.”
They ended up being one of the top subcontractors on that project and are now one of our “go-to” steel erection subcontractors.
A Safety Story from LF Driscoll’s Safety Director:
A few weeks ago, one our large healthcare clients had a major water leak in an area of the hospital we weren’t working in. Fortunately, the leak was not on a patient floor, but it was heading towards a room that housed countless dollars of computer equipment that would shut down medical operations if they got wet. One of our painters responded quickly and stayed until the leak was fixed over 45 minutes later. We tell our clients that the collective “we” are here to assist at any time—and our painter proved it. He went above and beyond to ensure the safety of thousands of patients that day.
A Safety Story from Govan Brown’s Director of Health & Safety:
At Govan Brown, we’re currently working on a project alongside another general contractor. Both parties have issued a notice of project, but the other contractor was onsite many months before us, so they’ve taken on the role of constructor.
From the start, we’ve operated as a team—especially when it comes to safety. Together, we’re working to ensure all workers receive safety orientations from both of our companies before stepping foot onsite. The Govan Brown team has also been attending our fellow contractor’s Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) meetings. We’re in constant communication with the other firm’s site safety team to ensure we’re all doing everything in our power to keep our workers safe.
This situation is quite unheard of. In fact, the Ministry of Labor deemed it a precedent-setting arrangement. The other contractor was hired by the client, and Govan Brown was hired by the lessee. Therefore, we’re working within the same building and spaces, but operating separately. The way we’ve integrated our safety programs in this unique situation shows that two companies with the same safety values can work together to provide a safe workplace for all.