Recently, the first new refinery built within the United States in almost four decades was finished. Construction of the refinery was a lengthy process, but surprisingly, the entire project was completed with no work injuries severe enough to cause any of the workers to make lost-time workers' compensation claims. More than 800 workers logged more than one million hours on the project and there were no serious accidents leading to construction and worksite injuries during the duration of the project.
In light of the fact there were no injuries during this labor-intensive and physically demanding work project, Safety BLR spoke with the owners who oversaw the construction. The goal was to identify some of the key safety tips which allowed completion of construction without any lost-time injury incidents.
Five Key Safety Tips to Protect Philadelphia Workers
The corporate safety director who provided oversight and assistance in making the refinery project injury-free cited five keys designed to help other companies prevent worksite accidents. These tips have been described as the "Five E's of Safe Growth and Development." The Five E's that are part of the safety system include:
- Expectations: Expectations should be clear and the tone should be set before workers even begin a project. Safety hazards should be identified and managed. Emergency procedures should be clear, and job safety analyses should be performed before work begins. Responsibility for important safety tasks should be apportioned, and it should be clear how problems are to be reported and who has stop work authority. On the refinery construction project, one person in every eight member crew was specifically trained as a safety rep to oversee the safety processes followed and to help establish and enforce expectations.
- Education. Every worker should know the key rules for staying safe. On the refinery project, all of the workers underwent mandated OSHA 10-hour training or an equivalent training course on safety.
- Empowerment: Workers need to have the tools required to stay safe and need to feel that they have a strong role to play in helping to ensure their own safety on-the-job.
- Evaluation: Regular behavioral observations can identify safety issues quickly before anyone gets hurt. If there is a good safety practice an employee is following, the employee can be commended and rewarded right away. If problems are found, appropriate and prompt action can be taken.
- Enforcement: Employers and supervisors need to make sure that every employee and everyone on the job site is held accountable for following best practices for safety. No workers should be given a pass and rules should be enforced. However, blame should be avoided and a positive approach to correcting issues should be taken whenever possible.
Every employer across all industries can benefit from incorporating these Five E's of Safety into their own worksite practices in order to hopefully achieve an accident-free worksite or at least a reduction in the number of workers injured on-the-job.