Spring has finally arrived and warm weather soon will to follow. All over West Michigan, groundbreakings on project sites are happening at a rapid rate. Our industry, like many others, never has been busier. Workers are being pushed to work longer hours to meet deadlines. Expediency is at a premium. But at what cost? Are safety protocols still being mandated?
In 2018, MIOSHA recorded 38 industry deaths. So far in 2019, there have been seven. These were all men and women with families and friends, members of communities that were part of a church congregation, PTA, coaching a child’s athletic team and volunteers with local organizations.
For six consecutive years, in an effort to provide safer working conditions, we have hosted an annual event called Alive 365: Safety Week. This year, more than 350 people from 62 West Michigan companies participated in the programming. Participants learned proper rigging techniques, scaffolding set-up, OSHA 10 standards, CPR and more.
Our own employees are trained right alongside our trade partners. Think of the proverb, “charity begins at home,” meaning a demand to care for one’s family. Our employees are our family. It is our responsibility to equip them with the tools and knowledge they need to perform their jobs safely. But we don’t stop there. We also believe in being our “brother’s keeper.” We hope that every company shares that mantra. We are grateful to the companies that took the time to send an employee to a training session and for making an investment in their safety.
We encourage everybody in the industry, especially those in management, to make it expressly known to their boots-on-the-ground personnel that safety is second to none — not to cost, not to schedule, not to convenience. Encourage them to take the time they need to follow proper safety protocols. None of us want to lose a beloved employee to something that may have been easily preventable.