Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

Taking an Organizational Approach to Elevate Safety

Participants learned how to take a proactive approach to reshape their safety program into a successful company-wide safety culture during the convention session “Elevating Your Safety Program to a Safety Culture.”

The panel of safety experts included Ralph Natale, safety director with McKamish Inc., Dominic Caminiti, director of loss control and workforce development at University Mechanical and Engineering Contractors, and Donovan Seeber, vice president of corporate safety with ACCO Engineered Systems.

They agreed that safety, quality, and productivity go hand-in-hand with successful projects and moving toward a company-wide safety culture. They provided examples of their specific safety programs that most contractors should consider implementing in their shops and jobsites.

Members learned how safety professionals at McKamish Inc. significantly reduced hand lacerations through a job safety analysis program that included a thorough investigation into cut hazards and getting employees involved in selecting the proper gloves and work practices.

A key factor in successfully moving to a company-wide safety culture is commitment from upper management, said Ralph Natale. He shared how management buy-in and team building at McKamish was vital to their safety record.

University Mechanical’s Safety Observation Program, Caminiti noted, identifies and eliminates at-risk behaviors and conditions early on to protect workers’ safety through a multi-step, continuous improvement program. Hazard identification should include identification of at-risk behaviors and conditions to predict accidents.

“We also correct hazards like work-area traps in our Spot the Trap program,” he explained. “We also do safety refresher training and teach staff at all levels with our Coach and Correct program.”

At ACCO, Donovan Seeber emphasized the importance of a company-wide safety vision with safety as a core value. He said that recognizing and celebrating safety successes was a great motivation for workers.

“Upper management’s acceptance of safety is an essential element of a successful safety business model,” Natale agreed. “Also, management’s support of safety at all levels during the construction process is important.”

Randall Krocka, administrator of the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT), was also on hand to share safety resources available on the SMOHIT website