We always like to say that safety is our number-one priority at National Demolition Contractors, but what does that really mean? What safety precautions are we taking on a daily basis? Who is involved in the implementation of those plans? How do we ensure that our job sites are among the safest in the world for any demolition company?
Anyone who goes out in the field, or even sets foot on a job site, goes through our standard safety program. We make sure that you understand what types of dangers are on that site before you ever get there. Once you’re on site, we have a safety board that indicates what type of safety gear is required ― nearly every job we do requires at least hard hats, protective footwear, high-vis clothing, and eye/ear protection. All of this information is posted on all National job sites, so there’s never any confusion about what’s required of our people.
In addition, we’re a union shop, so everyone has to go through the union safety protocols as well. That includes a thorough certification process, along with your HAZWOPER hazardous materials training, and asbestos and lead training. Some companies are satisfied with the union’s safety requirements, but we take the extra steps to make sure our own protocols are also being followed to the letter at all times.
As we get into larger projects, we take additional steps that align with the specific project itself. For example, we hire traffic control companies when we’re doing road work, to mitigate the risk of having traffic near our workers. If we’re working on a tall building, we take into account for additional fall protection gear and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). We understand that safety isn’t a one-plan-fits-all-jobs proposition, so we make sure to rigorously analyze the risks and hazards of each individual project before anyone puts in a moment of work at that site.
In demolition, your company is only as strong as your Experience Modification Rate (EMR). This is a number used by insurance companies to determine the amount of risk posed by your business operations. The more injuries and accidents your business has, the higher your EMR number is. National has one of the lowest EMR ratings in Southern California ― our rating is 0.93, which is just about as good as it gets. Not only does this rating help us keep costs down for insurance purposes, but it also reminds us that our safety planning is having the effect we want when it comes to keeping our people as safe as possible.
The next step in safety management for National will be the development of our own PPE. Demolition does not have much industry-specific PPE manufactured for it, compared to some other construction and mining operations, so we decided to produce our own equipment. We want to develop our own glasses, gloves, knee supports, and back supports ― that’s all in development now. That’s an example of how proactive we are in the realm of safety.
Finally, we fully embrace the role of technology in safety, thanks to software called PlanGrid. Every project has its own file in PlanGrid that includes bid documents, site plans, and safety protocols. We have a safety meeting each morning, and if anyone doesn’t attend, we add a note to the PlanGrid project file that indicates specific danger spots on any given job site ― if we’re working on potholes, digging holes, etc., we highlight the areas where that work is being done. Even if you’re not able to make it to the daily safety meeting, the information discussed is still right at your fingertips thanks to PlanGrid.
At National, nothing is more important to us than the safety of our people. We hope that by continuously integrating the best and most innovative safety protocols, we’ll be able to maintain our reputation as California’s safest and most responsible demolition contractor!