Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring 2022

Spring2022| 13 “Our work involves extremely large machinery – excavators, loaders, dozers, scrapers, and such – none of which can stop on a dime. Hitting the breaks isn’t the way to prevent accidents. Direct eye contact with the operator and confirmed communication eliminate assumptions to keep everyone on the same page at all times.” Like the machinery used to do the work, a site’s soil conditions also often present hidden dangers that require vigilance. Montes points out that not all earthwork is the same, and the quality and capacity of site soils play an essential role in how work is safely executed. “It is important to keep an eye on the soil type and conditions. Some ground is rocky, some is mainly clay, and some is sandy loose soil that can slide or shift when moved. Understanding the specifics and following OSHA Standard 1926 Subpart P is imperative for excavation where a hole could collapse inward. Trench safety relies heavily on a checklist of considerations that must be observed and accounted for continuously.” Pre-task planning is an everyday obligation for OE’s construction crews. Accurate utility locates pinpoint the precise placement of everything in the ground before work begins to avoid unintentional utility strikes. Daily start meetings involve team stretch and flex activities, workflow planning including hazardous analysis, and equipment inspection checklists to ensure machinery is well-maintained and all safety guards are as required. “Fundamentally, our biggest resources in assuring job site safety are the people doing the work,” shares Montes. “Everyone working on an OE job is given a Stop Work Card that can be used at any time in any situation that doesn’t seem right. Take that card out, and we’ll stop work without hesitation. We will inspect the situation and resolve the problem every single time without regard for the production schedule.” Wet Utilities: Chris Crowley, Safety Director, Fiore & Sons, Inc. Dedicated to total site management, Fiore & Sons, Inc. provides a complete spectrum of civil contracting and heavy equipment services to Front Range, Colorado. Working across a combination of public and private-sector assignments, Fiore & Sons takes responsibility for over lot grading and ground preparation, site utility installation, demolition, environmental cleanup, and civil construction management (CCM). Safety Director, Chris Crowley, has been with Fiore & Sons for five years and takes a lot of pride in the company’s strong safety culture and performance. “Fiore’s safety culture is an important part of the way we connect as co-workers; it’s part of who we are as a company,” says Crowley, a Certified Safety Professional and an OSHA outreach trainer for 10- and 30- hour construction courses. Crowley oversees five safety officers who monitor the safety performance of the firm’s 340+ employees on job sites from Greeley to Pueblo. “FIORE PRIDE is a peer-to-peer recognition program that encourages teammates to nominate one another for positive behaviors that improve our performance and make our job site’s safer places.” Crowley shares that for Fiore, safety links directly to quality and productivity, and everyone’s focus needs to be on all three. Starting with Speak Up, Listen Up strategies and Stop Work authority for everyone on the job site, Fiore’s safety culture requires that crews doing the work be precisely matched with the work itself so that only highly trained personnel are ever engaged in any task. In addition, every new employee is assigned a mentor and goes through a 30 and 60-day review to begin their tenure. “Specifically in the realm of water and wastewater construction, there are a lot of really specialized dangers,” says Crowley of working with wet utilities. “In every case, people are either working within a trench or in a confined space, two situations that require training with added planning and care to execute safely.” Within any trench, there is the possibility of a collapse. Therefore, Fiore takes special care to pre-plan each task and ensure the right people and safety equipment are on hand. Using the cut and cover method, Fiore plans to open only