In March, more than 130 Graycor Industrial craft supervisors and managers attended the company’s Safety Excellence Workshop—held for the first time at its operations and fabrication center in Portage, Indiana.
The annual boot camp, which took place this year on three days in March, kicked off a new safety initiative and provided training for the company’s project supervisory personnel who are rebooting the company’s weekly observation program at each of its project sites.
Sam Potter, president at Graycor Industrial, began each boot camp reporting on the company’s current safety record, advising, “Our safety is good, but we want to be great.” He reiterated, “We have programs, policies and procedures in place, but we’re taking a closer look at what we’re doing and what we can do differently to improve our safety performance.”
After viewing educational videos about construction job-site safety observations, attendees separated into small groups and participated in five training modules stationed throughout the Portage facility.
Presenting the modules as skits, Graycor Industrial managers enacted job-site scenarios covering topics of material handling, forklift use, rigging, welding/cutting hot work, and working levels/overhead work. A Graycor executive facilitated each module and coached participants on properly observing behavior and communicating their observations in a constructive, non-punitive manner.
During the camp, each attendee was required to play the role of ‘official observer’ in one of the modules as preparation for job site implementation.
“It’s important our field supervisors learn to observe safety behaviors objectively, not just focusing on what’s wrong, but also noticing what’s right,” stated Joe George, vice president of Graycor Industrial who oversaw the module on forklift use.
Each boot camp ended with a feedback and discussion session where recognition was given to those who best observed safety behaviors during each of the module skits. A total of 22 participants were named and asked to convey his or her observation experience to the group.
Jason Traylor, superintendent assigned to the AEP SCR Project in Rockport, Indiana, called the new observation method a “back-flip” perspective on the usual way of observing field work behaviors, learning that approach and gaining trust for future observations are key.
Mike Keeton, superintendent serving on AK Steel’s Middletown, Ohio, maintenance projects said, “Everybody’s approach on observing behavior will be different, but the goal will be to reinforce safe behaviors in order to reduce the number of at-risk behaviors on our job sites.”