A while back I stood before a Hispanic work crew in the early morning before the start of the work shift. I was doing a 15-minute tool box talk on the dangers of crystalline silica. I stressed the importance of wet cutting especially since the new stricter laws are in effect.

After the talk, I briefly walked around the job site and quickly discovered a very big problem.

The sca?olds were terribly built with bricks, blocks, wood and almost anything the workers could find to stick under it to support the very uneven ground. I have seen some ridiculous photos of bad scaffold builds that we often use in safety classes as bad examples. The pictures I took at that site could easily be used in one of those classes!

When I discussed the problem with the crew leader, he blamed the General Contractor for not clearing the site before he arrived. Once there, time was of the essence and they had to get to work. They had to make do with the circumstances they had and get the job done.

I then shared the same info with the contractor who hired that crew. He agreed with what the crew leader told me.

My issue was that if OSHA were to show up to the site, they wouldn’t be interested in the blame game. He would be liable for huge fines because he is responsible for the safety of the crews working for him.

As I saw it, there was an easy solution. The problem was really a lack of planning.

All this situation really requires, is for someone to arrive at the job site a couple of days before the crew and make sure the site is ready for the crew when they arrive. This person would be responsible to explain to the General Contractor that the site needed to be smoothed out before they arrive, or work won’t begin on time.

Although granted, the GC might be a little annoyed, he would have time to make sure he sends someone out to do the necessary prep. Any annoyance will quickly disappear when the very efficient crew arrives and can quickly and safely get to work.

Pre-planning is not only a great way to keep valuable workers safe, it enables crews to work effectively thereby increasing productivity. And as we all know productivity equals more profit!

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