Texas Construction Workers Stand Down for Safety

On May 18 at 10 a.m., visitors to north and east Texas commercial construction sites saw something unusual. For 90 minutes, all work stopped as contractors conducted safety training activities to raise awareness of safety among employees.

Sponsored by industry trade associations and supported by OSHA, the "stand-down" made a strong statement about the importance of safety to all construction workers. The industry trade associations represent more than 1,000 contractors and 600 service and supplier companies.

"We're very proud to be one of the construction companies across the region who elected to participate and demonstrate today our personal commitment to safety and the well-being of our workforce," said James Fentress, safety director, Rogers-O'Brien Construction Co. "The program's No. 1 goal was to raise safety awareness by involving all elements of the workforce in sharing the training and hazard analysis activities."

"Stand-down" activities included training devoted to areas such as:

  • Identifying jobsite hazards;
  • Reporting and correcting safety hazards;
  • Inspecting work areas and equipment; and
  • Reviewing all jobsite safety rules and procedures for all employees.

"Commercial construction activity has been on the rise throughout the area for several years, and as a result the industry had to increase its focus on improving safety awareness, practices and measures," said Warren Andres, board chair of QUOIN, a chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America. "We take very seriously the OSHA requirement that each contractor is responsible for providing a workplace free of recognizable hazards to the health and safety of their employees."

In turn, he added, each construction worker is responsible for complying with OSHA standards and their employers' safety standards and rules. "And employees also have the responsibility and right to stop work when a hazard exists that they cannot eliminate or control," Andres added.

In addition to participating in safety training, construction workers used a form developed by QUOIN's Safety Leadership Team to inspect their work areas, tools and equipment. The form, as well as workers' safety comments and recommendations, was returned to help measure safety awareness by employees.

"QUOIN members are very interested in workers' safety observations and other feedback that will improve jobsite conditions," Andres said.

Future plans include circulating a summary of workers' safety recommendations to industry members, and conducting stand-down meetings on a quarterly basis.

"We firmly believe that having taken this action as a construction community will make a strong statement, both internally and externally, about the importance of jobsite safety," Andres said.

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