Safety is more than just making sure your workers on site stay safe during the actual construction process. Safety comes into play early in the design process. It’s important that when we design facilities for our clients that we learn their operational preferences.
Each client has their way of doing business and moving people, equipment, vehicles, and material throughout their facility and by understanding their preferences we can help them to evaluate how this will all take place within the new site. Evaluating all the movements will help us to identify areas of concern from a safety perspective and we can work with them to come up with ways to alleviate or minimize the risk. We want our clients to have a strong piece of mind after they open that their site is safe for their employees and any visitors who may come onto the site or into the facility. This is also important in a recycling facility where you will have a maze of equipment that needs routine maintenance. Working with the equipment supplier and the owner, we develop the plan for how each area needs to be accessed safely and ensure they have the area needed to get their equipment and tools there safely. This along with good lighting help increase the overall safe maintenance practices.
We do all we can during design to work with their operations and safety team to help find these areas of risk, but the next thing we will do is even more important. At a point when the site and building are 80%-90% complete and you can see the physical structure, site traffic patterns, equipment in place, lighting, walking paths, etc.; we will host a safety walk on site with their team. By walking through the movements within the building for all the different vehicles, materials, people, and equipment, it is much easier for people to see potential hazards. Seeing something in 3-D on a computer or a 2-D drawing is never the same as walking it and seeing it for yourself in real life. During this walk, we identify additional items, develop a plan of how to deal with each one, and work with the owner to make sure the items are in place before operations. Safety has to be on your mind as a design-build contractor for not only your team on site but for years after you are done building it and your client is operating it.
It’s our job as design/build contractors to make sure we have the clients think through this and design everything safely. We don’t want to see any incidents during construction but we also don’t want to see any after we turn it over either.
Jeff Eriks – President