E Light Safety, Training and Leadership Blog
Being an electrical superintendent is an extremely difficult and demanding job. You are ultimately responsible for planning your project, communicating that plan to your crews, ensuring your crews have one hundred percent of the tools, information, and materials they need to work safely and efficiently and do all of that while juggling a constantly changing construction environment and schedule. All of that is assuming there are no problems which arise that must be dealt with quickly, which of course there will be.
You need help and the best way to get that help is learning to lean on your crews and develop key people to not only help you but to someday be your replacement.
Start by identifying those members of your crew that demonstrate the willingness to take on responsibility and who are motivated to become a supervisor. Their level of experience is not important, what is important is their desire to learn and advance.
Once you have identified them have a one on one talk with them and let them know that you recognize great potential in them and let them know you want to help them advance. Ask them if they are willing to spend some extra time with you learning to pre-plan, lead and supervise. If they are willing, take them under your wing and become their mentor.
Be careful to not overwhelm them. The trick is to find the balance between pushing their limits and not giving them too much so that they become frustrated.
Here are some tips that I have used in the past with success.
1. When I needed to write an installation plan for a task, I would select one of these team members and ask them to write the installation plan for me. I would give them some tips to get them started and then give them a deadline to get it back to me to review. When reviewing their plan, keep in mind they may not plan it the same you would have but if their plan will work, run with it, and empower them to execute it. Be sure to have them do it completely and correctly. Always keep in mind that practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
2. When they ask questions, answer their questions with questions that guide them through finding their answer. I learned this from the great teachers throughout history. They all had one thing in common, they rarely just answered questions. They probed and asked questions which required their trainees to think for themselves and find their own answers.
3. Give them responsibility which includes deadlines and expectations and let them know that you believe they can succeed and that you will hold them accountable for that success.
4. Sometimes they will fail. When they do, help them learn from that failure and give them another chance to succeed.
5. Never accept as an excuse from them that they failed because the crew you assigned them failed. Strive to always teach them the axiom my mentors taught me: "When a crew succeeds the crew did an excellent job, when a crew fails the leader failed. "
Leaders very often tend to try and take on everything themselves. The real key to success is to lead from the back, and guide, train and develop those that want to lead to help you lead. This accomplishes two very important things: It takes some of the pressure of you and it also develops the next generation of leaders, after all, none of us can do this forever. We all must train our replacements.
Ted "Smitty" Smith
A true,. yet frustrating fact of business and construction. We have chosen a career as electricians because we like to build things, we like to work with our hands. We like to problem solve, take on challenges head on, and get dirty in the process. Hard work has never made us back down and no problem comes up that we are not prepared to conquer. Yet, a single document can frustrate us to no end. I understand, after all, if we liked doing paperwork, we would have sought out a career in an office, instead we chose to build those offices.
A testing and troubleshooting plan is required for all construction projects. The purpose of the testing and troubleshooting plan is to meet our corporate requirements of having a reviewed and approved written Energized Work Plan for all energized work. All projects will have to do some testing and troubleshooting and this will have to be done live. It becomes cumbersome to write our an Energized Work Plan each time you need to do some testing. We have provided you with an ability to meet OSHA and Corporate Requirements without being cumbersome. A Testing and Troubleshooting plan is written one time and reviewed and approved. It is a plan for how you will do all your testing and troubleshooting on site. After that is written and approved, all you will need to do is assign the personnel that will be allowed to do the testing and troubleshooting, put their names on the plan, have them read it and sign it and make sure they follow it for all testing and troubleshooting. After that, you are good to go. If they have to do more than just test and troubleshoot, they will have to stop and fill out an energized work permit for that work.
I suppose you dont really HAVE to write a testing and troubleshooting plan, as long as you are willing to do a full blown energized work permit and submit it for approval before each time you test circuitry.
Please make sure you have a Testing and Troubleshooting written and submitted for approval and use. PLEASE ALSO REMEMBER that all Testing and Troubleshooting plans are done on the Operations: Testing and Troubleshooting Plan iAuditor Template and Energed Work Permits are done on the Operations: Energized Work Permit iAuditor Template.
One more related item. The iAuditor templates are named such that if you put your Template Filter in Sort A-Z they will sort by category such as Operations, Safety, Quality, Daily, Weekly. ,Monthly etc.
The templates that are named Daily are the reports that you are required to use Daily. The templates that are named Weekly are the reports that you are required to do Weekly. The templates named Monthly are the reports that you are required to Monthly. Please take a look at all of these.
The other templates are reports that you will need or are required but they are based on circumstances typically.
There has been some suggestions from the field that we move the Job Hazard Analysis and the Installation Plan templates from the Operations category to the Daily Category because they are required on a Daily basis. We have made this change and you should see this change in your template list.
By Marshal Redlin- Regional Safety Manger- E Light.
Creating a culture on the jobsite where employees feel comfortable stopping work is crucial to maintaining a safe and productive jobsite. Employees should be encouraged to stop work any time there is an unsafe condition discovered or an unsafe act observed. Employees are not always aware that they have the authority to stop work. An effective stop work authority program starts with management. Management personnel need to train their employees to recognize unsafe acts or conditions and promote a culture where stopping work is freely exercised. Employees need to know that they will not be retaliated against for stopping work due to unsafe acts or conditions.
When an unsafe act or condition is observed the following steps should be taken:
- STOP work
- Notify supervision of the unsafe act or condition.
- The unsafe act or condition should be investigated.
- Correct the unsafe act or condition before resuming work.
After these steps have been taken, and affected employees have been made aware of the changes made to mitigate the unsafe act or condition, work can be resumed. Supervision and/or safety staff on site should follow up and identify any opportunities for improvement.
Whenever there is a stop work action, there shall be a report generated on the action. Stop work actions should be tracked which will help in evaluating the effectiveness of the program.
By Ted Smith
We recently experienced a situation on a project where an employee suffered a minor heat related illness. The employee began to feel the symptoms of heat illness during the work day and reported the effects to their supervisor and then returned to work after resting for a short period. Fortunately there were no serious consequences to this issue but we could have had serious consequences. At orientation we stress that every employee of E Light Electric Services has not only the authority but the responsibility to stop work if they believe the situation is unsafe. This applies to everyone and everything, including heat related illnesses. Please discuss this with your crews on a daily basis. Let them know that it is our expectation that they speak up when they feel something is unsafe or if they are uncomfortable with a situation. Discuss it with their supervisor and find a resolution. Make sure that they understand there will be no consequences for doing so and make sure that they and the supervisory staff understand that we need everyone's input, feedback, and questions in order for us to be the best.
Please add comments and suggestions on how we can better manage and communicate this message and culture.
From Adam Richmond- Safety Manager- E Light ELectric
Understanding Stop Work Authority (Level 1 and Level 2)
Level 1: Immediate Correction
• This is a situation where an employee observes someone doing something unsafe and asks them to change that behavior to prevent injury to themselves or another employee.
o Example: A person not wearing their safety glasses when using a power drill. If you see this you should remind them of the need to wear safety glasses. The person with the drill should put on their glasses and the concern ends. You've made the site a safer place and possibly prevented somebody from losing an eye.
This should be documented on your Pre Task Plan Card as a near miss.
• If the unsafe condition or action can be corrected immediately, there is no need for further action.
o THIS STILL NEEDS TO BE DOCUMENTED ON THE PRE TASK CARD AND REPORTED TO E LIGHT SAFETY SO WE CAN PREVENT THE ISSUE FROM HAPPENING AGAIN.
Level 2: Delayed Correction
• The second level of Stop Work Authority occurs when the safety concern cannot be immediately corrected, and the work needs to stop until an acceptable fix can be put into place.
o Example: An example might be where an employee is spotted climbing onto a piece of equipment from which they could fall. If you see this and tell the employee your concern, and the employee says, "I'll just go get an aerial lift so that I can reach it safely," then you are back at the first level of Stop Work Authority. But if neither you nor the employee knows an immediate fix, you are at the second level. Perhaps the employee would need scaffolding, fall protection equipment or an aerial lift. Additional training might be required.
If the solution is not apparent right away, the job must be stopped and E Light Safety must be IMMEDIATELY notified.
• The job cannot be restarted until a safe method of performing the work has been found, and E Light Safety authorizes the work to continue.
• This level of Stop Work Authority should be used when needed when a quick fix cannot immediately abate the hazard. These are the times when deliberate investigation into a solution is required.
• Employees should be encouraged to keep in mind that the person who stopped the unsafe work is trying to help them.
• Supervision should be immediately contacted to let them know the concern so that a solution can be found as soon as possible.
• The supervisor should also notify E Light Safety right away so that they can help you find a solution and get the employees back to work quickly.
Reply from Marshal Redlin
It has been my experience that employees don't have a problem reporting an unsafe condition when it is a severe one. What is lacking is the reporting of and recognition of the seemingly less significant acts. For example, it is E Lights policy that personnel do not jump into or over trenches. This is something that doesn't seem as significant as walking underneath a suspended load, however the results could have similar consequences in the worst case scenarios. Nails sticking out of pallets are something that is constantly missed. As we have learned, this is a serious hazard that is looked past by almost every employee who walks by. I think putting emphasis on these seemingly less significant unsafe acts or conditions would improve the safety culture on any jobsite.
The question remains; how do we get employees to adopt this mindset?
E Light provides training, and discusses these items constantly through tailgate meetings and weekly safety meetings. We have a great program that makes reporting very efficient and simple. What if we put an incentive program together that goes along reporting of unsafe acts or conditions, or even a job well done. At the Decatur project we had a weekly drawing. A $20.00 gift card was given out to one individual who had reported a near miss, and/or an unsafe act or condition. The first week only a couple cards were turned in with the near miss section filled out. This was a huge improvement from prior weeks where there was nothing being reported. By the third week there would be at least 10 cards turned in that had legitimate information about what is going on in the field and how it can be improved. This trend continued through the end of the project. Not only were employees reporting things because there was an incentive behind it, they were actively improving their own safety and the safety of others on the jobsite. I also found that more employees were approaching me to verbally let me know about conditions in the field. This was a sign that employees were not only more comfortable in reporting these conditions, but they were also paying more attention to their work environment and correcting issues without thinking twice.
REPORTING AND INVESTIGATING AN ACCIDENT
First and Foremost, Call The Director of Education and Loss Prevention and inform them of the accident.
Secondly, start an Accident Report using iAuditor. The iAuditor Accident report asks the questions that need to be answered. Do this right away, don't wait. The more information you can record right away the better. Hand your device to someone else and have them start taking pictures, and entering information if you need to keep doing something else.
Remember to get the persons involved pretask cards and JHAs right away and preserve them and using the iauditor take pictures of them for the report. If the persons involved in the incident did not have JHAs or pretask cards, provide a detailed explanation why they did not have them.
A good accident investigation tries to answer these questions:
When did it happen?
Where did it happen?
Who was involved?
Why did it happen?
How can it be prevented from happening again?
When these questions are answered for all accidents and near misses, patterns often emerge and preventable causes are often discovered. But the patterns may not be true unless information acquired during the investigation is complete and accurate. The observations of co-workers, as well as from employees that were directly involved, can be critical. It helps if everyone will:
Make mental or written notes about the accident before the investigation starts.
Avoid talking to others before talking to the investigator, since this may confuse the facts.
Answer all questions about the incident as accurately as possible.
Take the investigation seriously–give it your best.
The first thing to do when an accident happens, is make sure the worker’s injuries are treated. The next step is to carefully investigate the events surrounding the accident. The reason for investigations is not to place blame on anyone, but to learn what happened–so similar incidents can be prevented in the future. All employees play an important role in this.
Should all accidents be reported and investigated? Ideally, not only accidents, but also near misses should be reported. The study of near misses can help prevent more serious incidents, where someone is actually injured. Such investigations needn’t always be extensive, but records of near misses often indicate trends or hazardous conditions that can be corrected.
Top priority will be given to the most serious events. An accident that results in hospitalization or death must be immediately followed by a thorough investigation, once the injured receive care. Multiple injuries and fatalities are also investigated by OSHA and insurance personnel, so accurate facts must be gathered carefully. Photographs, samples and measurements are often necessary.
The actual investigation is generally carried out by supervisors or personnel who have been trained for this. Nevertheless, all employees play an important role in the accident prevention process and in preventing future mishaps. Once employees understand why it’s important for them to report all accidents and near misses, and to cooperate fully with investigations, management can benefit from their experience and input.
Employees should be constantly alert to potential causes of accidents–before they happen. All unsafe acts or conditions should be reported to a supervisor immediately, whether or not someone has actually been hurt.
PREVENTING ACCIDENTS IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY!