The Safety Management Show
The Safety Management Show

Episode 2 · 1 year ago

Navigating the Minefields of the Safety Industry


When you sign up for a career in the safety industry, you inadvertently agree to a couple of things.

You may always be seen as “the safety person” there to ruin productivity.

And you may be signing up to witness firsthand, or at least be present in the aftermath, some sort of workplace incident, maybe involving injury or worse.

On this episode of The Safety Management Show, we talk with Daniel Torres. Daniel is the safety director at Skender, one of the top construction firms in the United States, and has literally seen it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Daniel talked with us all about:

- Utilizing technology to help make safety a priority

- Making sure everybody in your organization is prepared for every possible scenario

- Responding to and recovering from a workplace incident that results in injury

Hear more stories from safety professionals by subscribing in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

You're listening to the Safety Management Show, where safety professional share engaging stories about their time in the trenches and the hard earned lessons they've learned along the way. Let's dig in. Thank you for joining a safety management show. I'm your host, my being Senior Safety Advisor Safety Services Company. Today we have a very special guess. He's been in a safety field for twenty plus years. He is a family man, proud father, husband, hails from Illinois and he's a safety director at skinder, one of the leading construction companies in the US. I want to welcome to day Dan tour is. Hey Dan, how are you today? Great, Mike. It's an honor and approach to be on your show. Thank you for for the invitation. I'm looking forward to the conversation. So thank you for the introduction, very special introduction. Thank you very much. Oh, you're welcome. So, starting off, tell my listeners a little bit about yourself, Dan. All right, so my yep, my name is Stan Tours just like Mike stated, I'm from Illinois. I'm actually from Chicago. been in Chicago my entire life. I've been in construction basically my entire life. My father was a general super tenent from one of the largest minority contractors back in the s. So my life was engulf with construction twenty four hours a day. Again, I actually got into the TRA raids early on in my career. I was eighteen years old when I started working with my father for one of the largest general contractors here in the Chicagoland area. I actually was a carpenter for over fourteen years before I got into safety. Moved Up to the ranks with this large organization that I previous worked for. Had many great opportunities work with some fantastic people, learned some wonderful things, had some great mentors and then I and about two thousand and seven, I was introduced to the safety field within my previous organization. They felt that I would have been a good asset to the team. I took rill a lot of pride in my in managing my crew and my staff that roamed around with me on multiple projects and I took on the challenge. I took on the challenge to get into the safety field. So I stepped into the safety department. I was a young buck. Did it no much. I felt like the odds were against me. But the most important thing for me was. I was very ambitious. I was very ambitious and hungry to to learn and to grow and to be a better asset for our employees and our organization. And, more importantly, I'm a construction junkie. You know, I love seeing construction go I love seeing buildings built. I have nothing but the utmost respect for everybody in the field, from the individual that's pushing to shovel up to the project manager that's that's manage using the project itself, along with the Super Tenis, because you know, they are very crafted, special individual so just to be part of that. On the safety side, I basically have almost my hands on every project, had the ability to get a pulse and every project. So I'm a nut in a junky when it comes to construction. So I love this industry very much. Came over to skender and two thousand and eighteen. I actually came here to skender as a spq manager and that's what skender pushed as a philosophy when it comes to Spq. For some individual don't know what SPQ is. It's an acronym for safety, production and quality. So our group not only looks at safety, but we also operate with the production the quality mindset, understanding that one or two could impact the other. So that's a big reason why I came over to skender, because of that mindset and that philosophy, wanting to learn more about the lend construction principles. So I came here bag I've been here for about three years and then I was promoted to safety director in two thousand and twenty. So I've been doing this for almost three, going on three years now. Excuse me, twenty. Two Thousand and nineteen is when I became safety director. So now it's two thousand and twenty one. I'M GETTING READY TO BE IN MY thirty year safety director here at skender. How often are do you get out to the job site? That's some of the my biggest problems, I think, and a probably a lot of my fellow counterparts here. I like to be a boots on the ground guy. You know, I understand in my role there's a big component where I need to be more on the operation side, more on the office side. Obviously there is a high demand and administration of Administration work that we do as safety directors. Because I don't have an administrative assistant, I don't have a coordinator. I pretty much do the all the administration on my own, along with the assistance from our risk director, who also we work together with each other, obviously when we have any risk issues, but pretty much I love to be on the job as much as I can. I love the fact that I...

...see what is the pulse in the job. What are some of our challenges? What are some of the issues we're going to be seeing? What are some of the things we go forecast? So I try to at least visit two to three projects a week as much as I can. Currently we have about thirty six projects up and running in the Chicago land area, along with some work we're starting in a New Mexico area. So maybe I'll pay you a visit one day. Might. That'll be great. I'm not going to be too far. It'd be great to grab a bite to eat get to know you a little bit more. So yeah, I think it's really important, regardless of what title you have, you have to be out on the job as much as possible because that's where the magic happens. That's where you actually see technology being brought in, that's where you see subcontractors being bringing in their own philosophies and their own way of working and and the new equipment and EP that you see out there. I mean that's where you could really get a pulse of the projects, the schedule, the management. What is the mood of the project? Is the project going on the right path? How are your people right? You know, you know, how are your people doing? Are they struggling? Are they stress or they overworked? Are they overwhelmed? So I think it's very important that we have a presence on the job. So I try to do that as much as I can. Is it one of those things when you show up on a job side everybody's like, Oh, here's a safety guy. Make sure the safety guys out here and watch out. So, you know, one of the things that I learned early in my career, and some safety professionals have a different way of operating. I mean some in them just a hey, just show up to the job and walk the job. Here at skender and even early on in my career it was very important for me to be very respectful for other people's time. You know, when I go to the project, I typically place a call or a text or I'll send an email. Hey, I'm thinking of visiting your job, it's most likely, it's a fifty chance I'm going to make it anyways because being safe director, sometimes you get pulled a different directions and you can't, you know, obviously make your make your job is because you got to get pulled into a meeting. So I actually I'm assuming it sounds like my teams are very welcoming again working with our subcontractors and having a partnership with them, and they know your face, they see you come out to the job. They know that you're going to come into the job with an open mind, that you're going to come here to help, that you're trying to come and see how the projects functioning. You're coming there too, hopefully obviously correct any unsafe conditions. You're coming into be a resource. So, you know, I never really had an issue. It's very I'm very thankful that that I had that level of respect within my peers, within our subcontractors, within all our tradesmen, because I've never had an issue where, Oh, here comes the guy, here comes the safe, the guy luck up the gate. You know, that never really has happened because, Mike, it really it's really about your approach and your credibility and what I do and, like I said, being in the industry here for over three years, a lot of people know Dan Tours, the good in the bad, right so so. So I think that's really important that establishing your credibility gain the respect, because you know those doors will always be open whenever you want to walk the job. So that's very important for me and I would imagine so you had said something what we spoke earlier. That kind of stood out to me and it tells me a lot about you and I can imagine the type of the level or respect you get on the job side. But you said before, I point the finger, I point the Thong. So that shows a level of accountability. You're right there with the guys team. were making sure everything is safe, making sure everybody is going what they're supposed to do. But that quote, it stood out a lot to me, shows that you know you really have accountability. Well, you know that's where it's starts. Mike, a lot of people, when you get into safety, don't take safety personally. Right, make it personal. We have to understand that we are coming to the job sites as a resource and when things don't work out or we have a near Miss. We have an incident, we have to be very transparent, open ass okay, what we're wrong here? Obviously we want to be quick to point the blame and point the finger, to to push or to deflect the fault away, but at the end of the day these are skender projects. The minute we open that gate, you are my responsibility. This your part of me. You're part of skender, no matter what side of the fence you're on, no matter what had you wear, no matter what's your status on the project. So our job is to put our individuals in the position to succeed. That's our goal. If they succeed, we succeed. That's another thing from one of our other senior superintendency always says, and that's our goal is. We got to put you in that position to succeed. Now something does happen, we have to ask ourselves what we're wrong and how we're going to fix it and how we're going to make it better, because that's one of the principles in link construction... continuous improvement. So we really try to ingrain that into the SPQ mindset. We just don't want to sweep the incident or the occurrence under the carpet. We want to take it, we want to own it and want to make it better and we want to be very transparent with these things are happening. So that's very important for me. Is that's why I go by I point the thumb. Before I point the finger, we could do the figure point and afterwards. But yeah, Nice. No. Absolutely. What some of the systems that you all have in place to kind of ensure safety? I know we kind of spoke about some of the analytics that you're using the technology. How are you utilizing some of those resources to make for safer job? Sign we currently are using. We currently migrated over to pro core. Pro Core is probably one of the top project management software is out there, and what I like about an instrument such as pro core is that it's a complete project management tool where are subcontractors and our project management teams and are superintendent are doing all their reporting within pro court as far as daily reports, weekly side inspections, incident reports, any type of special safety form we have to complete for the project. So what I really like about using that software is that it actually has the ability to provide us analytics. It's able to point out the trends we're going as far as on the project management side, on the field side, on the incident side, and how consistent we are with our site inspections, how consistent are we are with our reporting? So that software there, it gives us that ability to be able to forecast. What are some of the trends where we leading to? What are some of the things we need to focus on? What are what where's our trends regards to when our, instance, are current, which day of the week they're incur they are occurring, what time of the day they are and we try to use all that information that's that's filtered to us to figure out, okay, these are the things we need to focus on, because I think what we talked about, Mike, during our discovery meeting was so our biggest trend here at skender unfortune, where water incidents. It wasn't, though, not necessarily personal injuries, because we have a small group of field personnel that are self performing work, although that's expanding because we now have a self performed group. So what's happening is we're starting to track and those trends and, for instance, water, instance, we were able to find out that the majority of the water, instance, were occurring either before or after a holiday. They were occurring the last hour the day or the first hour of the day, in the morning or in the late afternoon. So what that was telling me is obviously we have to focus on when we're going into a holiday, when we're coming back, are we staying focused on the job, what type of tools we're doing as far as communicate to our projects teams during this week of a holiday, as we're stepping into stay focused on the job. You have any special activities going on, make sure you are coordinating and preplanning with your subcontractors and, most importantly, just being very transparent. What I was talking about. These are the types of incidence that we're having. We need to be aware these type of instance, are occurring on a frequency. Be Prepared and what we're finding out is that by using that analytics it's actually diminishing our incidents. So we're finding some success there and and it's been a great tool to use. Again, I know many companies don't have the the the fortune of having a system like proport so early on my career, before I became a computer junky like I am now. I think sometimes and looking at analytics. I basically will lay out all our incident reports and start looking at the trends that I would physically read the instant reports. One of they occurring. What they they are occurring? What are were we heading to? Because the more you are tracking, the better you're able to pinpoint and actually work on the things you need to work on. You're not wasting time and energy on developing process or procedures that are not going to be no value for you or your organization. So now we have the ability to really dissect, you know, what's happening on our projects. It really focus out where we're spending our time, because unfortunately there's only eight to twelve hours in a day in construction, so you only have so much time. So you want to make sure that you are really spending all your time on on what is important, what is key, where you trending towards? So when you get the the data and to tell you what these trains are, and with the holidays, for example, and you say being prepared, what steps do you take to ensure that everybody's prepared? You do by special safety meetings, focus trainings. What does that look like? Yeah, so actually getting back to our water incidents, our frequency of water instidents. So a few years when I first got you, we actually did a live example of a suppression system and a sprinkler...

...going off just to show everybody what does the amount of water that could come out of a suppression system. I give a lot of credits to the people who came up with that idea. This is was not my idea. Again, I'm the type of person as well that likes to give other individuals credit, because that's another key to Mike is when you have people that could champion certain aspects and regards to safety initiatives, you really want to give them the ability to take a lead with that and let them let them stand on the Mantel and take the credit. So, getting back to my story, we did a life sample of a suppression system so individual can see the amount of water that actually is displaced and the amount of damage it could cause. We also develop emmergency water kits that are available on our project so in case we do have a water since we have all the appropriate PP we have aqua socks, we have squeege's, we got water VACs ready to go. We also then partnered up with a restoration company that allows that gives us a twenty four hour service, because sometimes we work in healthcare facilities or sometimes we are doing night shift work. So now I have a partnership with a restoration company. If we need additional help, there on call. They could be on the project check probably within twenty minutes to help us respond to the incident and, most importantly, being transparent and actually talking about these types of incidents to our weekly SPQ's. Ore SPQ's is similar to a toolbox talks what we try to do our SPQ to stay compliance. Obviously we do talk about asbestos led we have talked about PP and and power tools and hand tools and fall protection. But we also try to spend those SPQ's because I we personally write those on a weekly basis and we try to spin a production of quality component to it as well, because we want to individuals to realize that if the incidant does occur, it could probably impact the production of the quality of your project. So you stop and think, let's put this in perspective. We talked about this solid time and we do talk about it through or during our employee orientation, because we do talk about these trends with our new hires as well. If we have a water incident, it does create a safety concern because potentially someone could get hurt slip fall, a pressured waterline hits a person in the face knock them off the ladder. You just some examples I'm giving you. But then what happens to the actual projects? Now you're actually having a loss of production because you had a massive water incident and now you have to deal with do you have? You have lea to have to assess the situation and react to that. So what's going to happen to the production of project of the Self? It's going to decline right because you're dealing with the with an immercy of water incident. Now you're thinking about the quality of the project it. Well, if you have finishes going in, what's going to happen now that water intrusion has impacted the quality of the work? Now we potentially could have some mold issues, we could touch you has some air quality issues because of that. Now you're hitting the rewind button. Now you're actually probably rebuilding a space or space is. And what's going to happen to your bottom dollar? Obviously we know what's going to happen there. But now all of a sudden the production, the quality of the project itself, it's going to become poored to demoralizing right the momentum of the projects going to go down. So I know this is a long winded conversation but it's just amazing. It just amazes me how, when I stop and think of a water incident as far as how it could impact SPQ mindset on a project, it could really impact it and it could really and really really does. Honestly, it really demoralized the project. It really does. So we want to be prepared, we want to talk about these things. You want to be very transparent with our superintendence and our subcontractors about these things. We've also started a campaign called don't knock it that our marketing team came up with and we had propaganda posters just telling individual starty subcontractors the cost of a water is it, what could happen to a project and we're trying to plaster law that a lot of that propaganda on our project so people understand that. You know, this is something that is real time. It's happening and we need to stay on top of it and thankfully knock on wood. Ever since we started this focus and we talked about posting propaganda and we talked about SPQ's and talking about this and being transparent. Now we probably gone almost nine to ten months with our single water and sit on our projects. So a lot of effort went into it by many people within this organization, as well as are outside sources like our restoration company. They're big part of this as well. But we're seeing that by doing that there is some value, there is some success with identifying those trends, being transparent and focusing and putting all your time and effort as far as what's important for your organization. Nice. Okay. With the SPQ's, I know...'re writing your own programs. You have a team around us. Are you writing up yourself? What's that process? Local? Why? You know what, that's a great question. Here another long we did story, but if you have the time, I got I got the voice for you, I got the stories for you. So the SBQ's are actually written by myself. Every week. Our SPQ's are delivered through constant contact. It actually is a pretty cool mobile service that SPQ's are sent out Monday morning at five hundred and one am they are sent out to all our project management teams. It's source of superintendence to our field personnel. They read the SPQ's. We have the ability of adding videos, we have the ability of adding links and then also they have the ability of just clicking a button that says that they read it in order and it gets recorded. So it's no more printing, it's no more signing, it's all automated and I got all that. I have a database that shows the individuals have read it. Who's been reading them? What's our percentage as far as how they're being read? Are they being opened? And it could kind of really give us a forecast as far as how effective our SPQ's are. In that mindset, so as bqs are written by myself on a weekly basis. Again I try to make those as personal as possible in regards to these things are happening on our projects, without naming the projects, but we talked about trends, we talked about what we need to focus on. We talked about leadership, we talked about management, we talked about having the pulse of your job. We talked about scheduling, we talked about many topics. I do give credit to a superintendant, and I'm going to get my shout out right now because hopefully listens to this podcast. Are Super Ten is named Brian Bach. So early on when I started, when I became safety director, I knew my responsibility was to write these SPQ's. So here I am hammering away, sending out these SPQ's, proofreading them myself, and I'm not the best of writers, you know, I am just not. And Brian Bach, you know it's to his credit, called me one day and says, Hey, man, I think you need some help with your SPQ's here and he said, I just don't want to you know, excuse me for kind of calling you out, but you need some help. And I said, you know what, I think I found my proofreader. I said, so you're nominated, my friend, you're going to be my SPQ. I call my speak whisper. So so I'm very I'm very lucky that people within my organization are going to step in and help. So Brian Actually brings out his red PAT and he proof freed my SPQ's over the weekend and he's been doing that for over a year now for me. And, like I said, I yeah, I really appreciate the help. I got a daughter in college. She helps me out with that as well, proof feeding and if I ever have to send out a email to a client or or to a large group of people, have a marketing department that could help me out with that as well, because I'm not perfect everything, and that's where I'm transparent. I'm not perfect anyway. So always use resources like that, because their individuals. I have biggers to have more strength and certain things and maybe you don't, and that's okay. So that's something that was taught to me early in my career is use the resources you have available. You know that that's really important and you know that's the sign of a good leader, utilizing your resources, not trying to take a full plate. You could have handled that totally different like, Hey, what are you talking about? You know I can I can handle this, but utilizing your resources and you know some of your personnael. So that's definitely signs of a great leader. So Hey, shout out to Brian. Yeah, shout out to Brian. Shout out to Brian, the SPQ whisperer. Yeah, but SP QU is for he's my boy. He's my boy. So you know, and I think that's really important. As as a being a leader is, you have to you have to take you have to listen. In order to be a leader, you have to be a great listener. Some of the SPQ's that I've written have come from ideas from our superintendence and project managers and some of our field guys. Heyday, and I think this be a great spq topic. Can you talk about this? Can you write about this? Sure, no problem. I mean, I appreciate all the help I can get because when I first stepped into the role as safety director and I was told to speak at a at a forum to the company, as I was being introduced, I said, I want everyone to know this is not my program this is your program you know, my job is to administrate it. My job is to hopefully help us build it, because we are starting to expand to many markets because we're now a new construction we've been doing healthcare, we we do Interior buildouts, we do assisted living, so every market is different. So their expertise is really important when it comes to safety because, though, that's how we build our program it's a collaboration. I believe wholeheartedly in collaboration.

Sometimes I say to myself, am I pushing off the work to somebody else? But I always remind myself that I cannot get blinded by my own ambitions. You know that. That's a that's a famous line from Denzel Washington, remember the titans. That's my favorite lion that movie, when he tells his wife, did I get blinded by my own ambition, that I push my team too hard to look what happened? That's something I don't want to do. I want to be very approachable. I want to be a good listener. I want to be a good teammate, because I always tell my staff, I always tell my team here I was telling our subcontractors, you know. You know I work for you. I'm here to provide a service for you and I want to do that to the best of my ability. And and if we could do this together, you know, you own it. We own it and and and we could be successful. And I think we've done that up to this point. We are a growing organization. Again, we've been doing that. We've been in this industry. You know, skander's been doing this type of work for about fifteen years, starting with interior buildouts, and it's morphed into health care and assisted living was also there early on and now we're doing new construction. Within fifteen years. We have over two hundred and fifty employees. We are also have our own self performed team now which we're self performing carpentry, demolition, final clean as well as client services and painting now. So we're growing. We're very young company and to go from, you know, twenty forty mill and now we're at four hundred million dollars in fifteen years, I mean we're really growing. So it's really important that we understand that as an organization, that with growing comes pain. Right. There's growing pains, right. So we're going to we're going to we're going to be may struggle through this and that's going to be okay. And I think that's where my value is because I've been in these shoes with my previous organization as they were growing, as they are the organization they are now because they went through those growing pains and many people within this organization have come from other organizations have been to those growing pains. So I think a lot of people do understand the position we're in. I mean, I'm very excited where we're going, but right now are focusing now turned to us self performing the work, because now that's our greatest risk, because now we have carpenters, labors and painters, and that's probably right now we really need to start focusing on okay, because we need to make sure that they are they are working safe, they got the proper tools in the training and the equipment and the resources to ensure that nobody gets hurt, obviously to make sure we're putting them in the right positions to succeed. So yeah, a lot of things are happening right now here in skander man. That's all I could say, but I'm really excited. It's a good reason to be excited. Speaking of skinder just in the resource that I've done a bunch of accolades, a lot of categories, again, top one hundred and a lot of different categories. Is there any particular accolades that you're more proud of the any others, or is there anything in the stands out more than any others? Well, you know, I I think overall it just being one of the best companies to work for. I think that's that's something that I'm very fortunate and proud of to be here. We have great people here. I mean we're in a we're an organization of relationships. You know, we're very personal people here, personable people here at skender, and they're big on that. They're big on making sure that our employees, from our field staff up to our executives, that that we are in good spirits, that we are all on the same mindset, that we're taking care of each other, we're taking care of the client and, like I said, they really pride themselves on that and we struggle the bit with that when covid hit, because of the kind of company we are. You know, we're a company that likes to get together, that loves to engage at likes to create partnerships, and that's something that was a struggle with covid hit because we're just such a personable company, you know. So we're a fun company, you know, we like to have a good time and we're hungry. We got some really hungry people that are looking to really do great things and they're doing great things and I'm just very privilege and honor to be part of this group right now. So one of the best companies to work for. I guarantee they are one of the best companies work for. So I'm very proud of that. Nice, Nice. Now, speaking of Covid, that that slow down a lot of the projects production. How did that affect the business? So yes, I mean everyone was impacted by Covid. So there was a little bit of a down term. There were some reduction and staff here at skender, unfortunately, but the good thing is that things are opening up or bringing some people back, which is really great to see. We've had about nine to ten new hires over the past two weeks, which is really great. We're bringing more resources and... to our project teams, which is what they need, which is a very appreciative that are that that ownership has stepped up and they recognize that. But being in Illinois, I mean we were deemed as essential construction, so construction did not stop. Now some projects may have been delayed or some projects may have been canceled due to the covid pandemic because, just like when a recession had happened in two thousand and eight, unfortunely we're dealing with a pandemic, something we've never dealt before. Companies Start downsizing right they start reducing their projects, they start reducing their staff and if that's going to happen with the potential client, what do you think's going to happen to a potential project? Chances of that project will be canceled or put on hold. So you know, we stood busy through the pandemic, thankfully. It was definitely a challenge for our field team because we were dealing with something that we've never dealt with before, and I would say I give them all the credit, I really do. I struggle with it just like everybody else did, because because just like the it was funny because I would have conversation with some of are super inten side offense. You areround, but construction projects open during a pandemic. It was tough for them and we did our best to keep our projects open, to keep our project safe. We had a covid task force that we put together that would assess every covid case that that were sent to us, whether it was impacted to our client, whether it was in fact to our project or through an occupied building we were working or even internally with an employee. So we assessed every covid case that came in and we assess a hundred eighty seven covid cases within yeah, with it within that year span. Our first COVID case, if I'm not mistaken, came around March twelve of two thousand and twenty. So we did our best, but construction didn't stop. And and Kudos to our teams who did their best to keep our project safe and open. But you know, it was a strain. It was a strain for our field STEFP, it really was. So I am very fortunate that everyone work together, we collaborated, we were very, I would say, open to some of the ideas that we were presenting from the client standpoint to the task force standpoint, and I really appreciate the fact that that our field team was very supportive in our efforts and recognize that we were doing the best we can. But yeah, covid did not stop anything in Chicago it came to construction. Yeah, Ye, I have a lot of clients, safety professionals that I deal with and I've had a lot of clients and had to close a business down some that were busier than ever. So guess what's kind of depending on what sty were part of the country, if you were deemed essential. So it was definitely interesting to get a lot of different viewpoints across the country from people that I've spoken to as far as how they felt about coving and implementing certain policies and procedures. Are you all, as skinder mad dating any type of the Covi evascinations for any of your employees? So right now on, unfortunately, the CDC has excusing, not as the CDC, but the FDA has deemed the vaccination is still under emergency use. So because the vaccine is undermercy use, it cannot be deemed as that we require employees to get vaccinated. We are encouraging employees to get vaccinated. We have provided resources as far as supporting the vaccine, letting them know the efficacy and the safe, the safety of the vaccine. I would I would be happy to say that right now we're over fifty percent of our employees are vaccinated, which is fantastic. But unfortunately, because the vaccine is under emergency use, it's not necessary, being regulated that you need to get the vaccines. It's not required that every employer commandate that employees give vaccinated. So that's where we're at right now. But you know, like I said, I'm very happy to say that that over half of our employees right now are fully vaccinated. If not, some are actually probably on their way to get their second dose or thinking about get vaccinated. So Very Pretty, very appreciative because of that. So I thank them for that. I have you might be asking have you had covid? No, I'll be honest, I'll be on. I mean, I have no no reason reservation to say, Oh my God, you can't ask me that kind of question because of hip by all. I said I did not have covid and I am fully vaccinated. So I will not be hesitant say that. I'm very thankful. But at the same time I do know some some people that are very dear to my heart, employees, friends, family, that family members that got covid. My heart goes out to them. Some of them may be battling through something related to covid right now. But yeah, it's again. That's the biggest thing I I think that people did not understand is because the majority the people were asymptomatic and...

...the majority of the people did it suffer any severe symptoms. There are people that were hospitalized and there were people that did die because of covid and and and that's something we have to be very mindful of and respect when we're talking about people who've been infected with covid that we cannot downplay. We just cannot. So and only, as said, not to get two personal but you know, I had covid back in July and I tell you, my did everything I could. Not Go to the hospital, I didn't want to go to the emergency room. She actually had IVS. They came to my house hook me up to IV's, but I was down, you know, for about a month and you know, I didn't fully recover as far as getting my smell taste, you know, four or five, six months, coughing, lingered. So that was probably the roughest I've ever been. I mean, you know, I realize that it affect everybody differently. You know, I had I know some people that had it, you know, didn't get sick at all or, you know, very little, but it hit me pretty tough, you know. And when I hear people say that, Oh, I don't believe in Covid and is conspiracy, you know, and I could tell your first hand experience, it's definitely real, nothing to play with. So it really is it and and that's one of the things when when covid with when we were hitting some spikes here in the area and even on some of our projects. I mean, yes, you had your daughters, that that that downplayed it, and we would do some stand downs on some of our projects. You know, we were social distance, put our masks on. I'm projects right. Felt that we needed to talk about this and I would tell everybody flat out. I said, I don't really don't care what side of the fence you are on, but I would tell you this. The minute it happens to you, that's when it's going to become important. That's when when you're going to want your employer or my self to do what we have to do to dis in fact, to make sure we get off the right reporting out to make sure we are you shut the job down and safety for safety, for safety first. But in the meantime you're being irresponsible, you're not taking a seriously. But again, the minute it happens to you, that's when everything stops. That that that's when you become a believer. So why do we have to get to that point? You know, why do we have to get to that point? And and the same thing with safety. Whether you want to wear safety glasses or not, or you want to wear a face shield or not? Not until you're an emergency room or not until you had a near Miss. That's going to make you think twice. So why do we have to get to that point? And think that's the biggest frustrating part, and I know I'm echoing with safety professionals always say, and that's the frustrating part that we have to deal with, is is we put ourselves in this position more than fifty percent of the time. We really do. Do I believe every accident and incident is preventable? No, I don't. That's why they're called access, that's why they call incidence. That's what I call your Mrs and things of that nature. But we could prevent a lot. We definitely can't and we got to keep we just got to follow the ABC's of safety, you know, protect yourselves at all times. I always tell everybody it's not so much what you're doing that would hurt you, but what's not going what you don't know, what's going around you, that could kill you, because now you're depending on what other people are doing now as well in construction right. So you got to take it serious, you really do. If you aren't the safety Google that you are and what would you be doing if it wasn't safety? Wow, you know what, I thought you were going to ask me this question. And you know what a for for individuals who I know, who are going to listen to this podcast, who you know, who really want to listen this podcast, will know that two things. Either, I would be a superintendent because, like I said, I'm a construction junkie. I've DAB with that quite a bit in my career and, like I said, I have so much respect for what these guys do and even because of the title superintendent, you know you are a super person, you are a special person. I called special intendancy, you know, I thought like because they are special people. But yeah, being a construction grew, I definitely would have loved, or potentially I would probably been a superintendent at this point in my career. The other thing is I'm a food junkie. I love to cook, I love to cook us. So I dab the I dabble a lot with with making food. I love to cook for people. You know so I say it probably be in the culinary industry. Maybe you know so. So you know what, when I when I head down to New Mexico, you know, I'll make you some card Asada something like that. You know, makes again. What's so commonly, he'll belief is safety that you passionately disagree with it. Well, you know that. That's that's a tough question. But you know, I did think about that question the other day and I'll share a little story that really made me disagree where we're going sometimes with safety.

So I got invited by an associated cause me up and says, you know, hey, Dan I, I really want you to come out and be a guest speaker at our thirty hour ocean. I want you to come here and train these young individuals and do a couple portions of the thirty hour ocean. My Yeah, okay, ser no problem. What do you want me to talk about? You know? So I'm talking about health and safety programs and talking about safety culture and things of that nature. All right, crowl cool, I'll start working on something else, even a few weeks and we'll get this gone. So I thought about I'm like, wait a minute, I mean when you're doing a training, who's your audience? That that when you're doing any type of training. This is another good topic that you could talk about, Mike, with somebody else. Who are you training? Are you talking to executives? Are you talking to project managers? Are you talking to super tendence? Are you talking to tradesmen or are you talking to a Prentiss have er experience in construction? Right? So you have to understand who your audience is when you're doing some type of training. So I'm I take training very personal because, again, it's all about providing a service to quality might work. I want to make sure that I'm delivering what I'm being asked to deliver to the appropriate audience. So I got back to my associate. I'm like, Hey, I just have a question for you. You know who am I going to be training? And he said, well, these are individuals that have not been out on job site. Shit their premises. You know, they're getting ready to go out in the field. I'm like so it got me thinking a little bit. I'm like, and you're giving them a thirty hour ocean? I said no, with all due respect, I said, had they even had a ten hour ocean? A thirty hour ocean? I mean personally, it is someone that should someone should have in a supervisory role. You know, somebody who who has extensive knowledge and experience. You know, so, so, you know. I said, with all due respect, I said I kind of disagree with that. I mean, I'm not it's not like you cannot train it as it will train it. And I now I got to figure out how to talk about safety culture and developing a safety program to individuals who really don't know about Oshana, who really don't know about construction for that matter, who don't know about culture, company culture. So that became a little bit of a little little bit of a park in my brain because I was thinking, I'm like, so, who's mandating that these individuals get a thirty hour Osha? I started going a little deeper. Is it part of your program is it about what is goes? Well, we're finding out there that a lot of general contractors in our sector requiring every person, no matter if you're an apprentis or superintendant, to have a thirty hour ocean and I said I completely disagree with that. I just completely disagree with that. So as much, as much as maybe this may bother some people that I'm making that comment, but it's because why are you going to train somebody in a thirty hour ocean that has never been on a construction site. But, most importantly, you're going to give them that type of comprehensive training and what are they going to do with it? I'm sorry. So I think in our safety realms and, you know, in our organizations, we have to be very mindful of what we're asking people to do. We are very, very mindful of what our programs are and how we're managing our projects, because that that's something that, unfortunately, I really disagree with that you're mandating every person that steps on that project has a thirty hour ocean. It doesn't guarantee they're going to work safe, it doesn't guarantee they're going to be confident what they're doing, because I think you're putting individuals possibly at risk because you're giving them the assumption that because they have that training now, they know everything, now, they have all the answers. I've been in construction for thirty years and I don't probably only ten percent of what's going on out there. I'm learning something new every single day. So you have to be very mindful of what is it that you're training, who are you training and why are you training them? I think that's really important. That's more of a compliance so you want to be compliant or you're really looking out for I understand you're looking out for the wellbeing of your employees and what the expectation is of the type of tradesmen you want on your project. But but unfortunately you're right. It just checks the compliance box. It doesn't check anything else. And I would imagine, with you know how you feel about safety and taking it, it has to be a level of front frustration when being more concerned about compliance and actually making sure that these people are safe on the job side. No, I mean I completely agree. I tell everybody you know what. I always go by this mindset. Put The book aside. Okay, if it feels wrong, it is wrong. If it doesn't seem right, it ain't right. If it all look good, chances it's bad as it's so you know, we're all creatures of habit. Unfortunately, you know, I was taught early on in my in my career, how to do things, probably the dumb way, and I always thought, you know what I'm just doing with this individual showing me how to do this. You know, I'm just following what this person is telling me to do. And unfortunately things have happened throughout people's careers or we've been on projects when things...

...have happened that that's when it clicks the light bulb. And and trust your instincts. I always say trust your instincts. It's not that hard, it really isn't. I think sometimes we tend to make it too difficult and hopefully, personally, I've never made it I've never made it complicated, but you know, sometimes I can. I know that, but I try to simplify it as much as I can. But again, I always go by by instincts. If it doesn't feel right, see right or look right, chances arts nap and I agree with that whole heartily. Speaking of things going on the job side, with compliance and safety, what's one of the worst situations or instances you've been through as far as on a workplace when the job side? Okay, so, I mean I unfortunately, being in safety, we have a lot, but I'll probably I'm going to go a little bit on the extreme here, Mike, if you don't mind so, back in two thousand and ten, I'll paint a little picture here. I was actually doing a thirty hour ocean and at the time and our coordinator or department coordinator Kemp comes into the room as I need to pull you out of a room for a few minutes and I'm all right, excuse myself in the class. We're talking for a bit and she tells me, you know, Dan, there's been a serious accident on the job site and you need to get over there. I'm like, okay, so dismissed. The class broke everything down. I'm over here thinking, you know, broken leg, you know, back injury, you know, maybe a vehicle crashed into you know, to a window or you know. That's what I'm thinking because those are the kinds of incidence I dealt with early on my career. Now this is two thousand and ten. I got into safety and twenty and too and tool set. Twenty seven right, two thousand and seven, excuse me, and that was I was three years into the safety profession. So, ironically, our safety director, who was out of town, thankfully, was in route from St Louis Missouri visiting another project. So before I get on the phone, before I get on the road, I talked to our safety office. Were out the project and nice and I asked them and I said hey, how's it going? He said, Dan, it doesn't look good. We had a structural steel canopy collapse. Like okay. So again I'm thinking, maybe it's just a structural can it be fell, maybe nobody got hurt, not thinking the real worse. So I got in my vehicle, I headed out to the project. The minute I step foot on the project, I found out that we had a fatality. It was a tradesman was killed when this canopy collapsed and a forty foot to with steal crush them and killed him instantly. Yeah, so it was. It was a very traumatic event and I do I want to share a little bit more because it's just it's just very important to me that I talked about this, if you don't mind. So, being a safety professional, right here you are in the scene of a fatality. The most important thing make sure the site is isolated, make sure the project gets locked down. Everyone's been sent home. Here comes a news media. Bad News makes good news, you know, here's all the news media is coming out. You're trying to takes footage. My phone's blowing up because people are saying, Hey, Dan, I see you walking. What's going on? What's going on? What happened? Would happened? Would happen? At that point, unfortunately, your emotions. You got to put those aside. You know, your job is a safety professional. Now is you have to manage the scene. You have to stay composed, you have to stay professional, you have to act professional. You have to just be very level headed. First thing I got to do, I know, I got to notify ocean. You know, Call Osha, Hey, this is Dan Torres. We just had a fatality. I need you to come out to the site. This is where we're at. In the meantime, you know, we're taking photo is. I mean, unfortunately, you're taking photo, you're starting to gather information. The site is contained. Were contacting the owner of the organization. Were contact and subcontractor. Everyone's flocking to the job and you have to stay composed. You are the coordinator, you are the individual that is managing this crisis. Now. That's something that I really want people to understand and I believe I got there maybe around one o'clock or twelve o'clock in the afternoon. I was there to one o'clock in the morning. As far as talking to subcontractors, we're doing interviews with some of the individuals that witnessed the incident, talking to the owner of our organization, talking to the owners of their the organization that unfortune suffer the fatality. You had union representatives that got involved. So during this whole time, you're, you're, you're, you have to be composed. You just have to be composed. And surely when I got home around, you know, to to thirty in the morning, you know, I just broke down. I lost it. I lost it because someone died on a job, not necessary during my watch, but in my tenure. I have that in my tenure now. And and it's not...

...about a fatality, it's about a person that just got killed and and and that's something that's going to resignate me for the rest of my life and the rest of my career. And and that's probably the toughest part. And I'm going to I'm up. Like I said, I'm a very transparent person. When you have something like that happened on a project, what is your Ployans to its program because there is an after effect with something like that happens on the job, very traumatic. So employee assistance program for the individuals within our organization. Even for myself, you know, I had to go through some assistance for a while just because of the traumatic event that we went through. Now what happens to the scene? The scene becomes a seat of an investigation, though. So that scene unfortunately stood in place for three to six months because you had engineers, you had lawyers, you had investigators, you had third party companies come out because they were putting together their investigation. Unfortunately, and that was probably the most demoralizing thing for a project that when back up and running after a few days and had a walk and see that walk through that not walk through the sea, but walk past it every single day until the scene was cleaned, until we were able to dismantle everything and close the investigation. It was so tough for every person that walk that job every single day to walk past that canopy and just to remember what happened that day. So that's the worst of the worst, unfortunately. And, like I said, you want to get into safety, that's very important. You have to be prepared for the Horse. Unfortunately, unfortunately, you have to early on and me attaining this role as safety director during the forum, when I was introduced as safety director, that was one of the things as we talked about. We talked about an event of a crisis. What are we going to do? This is the action plan and we talked about that on a yearly basis for speach us, because it's going to happen when you least expected like it's going to happen. You. You can't predict these things and you just have to be prepared. So that was probably the most unfortunate event in my career that I was ever involved with being in safety. Yeah, yeah, I can imagine, especially with only having a few years under your bill as the safety guy, I can imagine just the impact and dealing with that. I would imagine a lot of lessons learn from that a lot of growth from that situation. Speaking of workplace injuries, we have a lot of clients that are smaller business owners don't have access to different safety programs or some of the analytics that you may have access to. But what kind of advice could you give them and dealing with the injury on the job and how to handle ocean and just some basic things that they can use or cover themselves? Oh, absolutely, Mike. I mean number one, ocean dot go is of Ava Resource. I mean that is a valuable resource here in Chicago and I'm assuming some states may have safety trading centers here we have the Chicago and Safety Center, where there are some awesome trainers that trade you from record keeping up to fall protection. has come whatever you need. So there are a lot of available resources out there. I would also say that, you know, jumping into social media, there are some great training videos that are offered for free. Going to Safety Expos I mean for a hundred dollars, you go in for a two three day x Bo and you hear some awesome speakers. You find some vailable resources and, like I said earlier on skender, we're big on partnerships here. Partner up with your vendors, partner up with those professionals, partner up with your subcontractors, partner with your general contract if you're a small subcontractor. That's something that I'm starting to do here at skender is I'm bringing in our subcontractors and we're doing small round tables. We're walking the job together. We're talking about what are some resources that we have available. We share information with each other. I mean I'm big on sharing is caring and that that's that's a big thing in the safety world. Nothing really changes. We have to be compliant. So you could dig into even Google a silica plan or silica program and ever, it's almost all the same. Many universities, you know your state universities, that they have actually safety programs where they do research. CBWAR is another resource as well. Again, going to Nyash again. All those resources are free. They're free and and if you look me up on Linkedin you ever have a question for me, I'll have time for you as well. That's that's my job. I want to be available resource and I tell anyone ever talk to or meet. I don't care what company you are. Vender, small, ten employees, a hundred place. Here's my card. If there's anything I ever, ever I could do to help question concerned, call me. I mean safety is a very small world. Actually it means turned into a very big industry any thing, but the... world is a very small, tight fit world. You know, there's another podcast I listen to the Safety Justice League with Jason Meldonado, Jason Lucas, Abbey Ferry. I mean they do some great podcast as well. Again, they bring some awesome guest speakers. Give you resources. I mean we're here, we're in this together, right, so we I think it's very important that you use those resources that are available. Out there for you and you network with people. Networking is huge, it's huge. It's helped me throughout my career. I give credit to many super tendence and safety professionals throughout my career that I have learned from, you know. So shout out to them. They're they're big part of my career, where I'm at today. I couldn't have done it without them and to this day. And Yeah, I thank you for that. I know a lot of our listeners will appreciate that bit of advice and Mint Deyla with Moshan on the job site. I have some curveball questions for you and it just being caught up in our conversation being interesting at what you're saying, but I do have a curveball way left field. I'm going to catch off guard with this one. Lebron or Kobe? Who? I thought you'RE gonna say? Jordan man. You're got my answer for that. You know what's funny, because Kobe was into Jordan era. You know, he started off at the job. I really didn't get into Kobe. You know, rest in peace. You know. You know great man. You know it was tragic what happened to the guy and his daughter. I mean, how sad, but you know, I never got into Kobe because Jordan was still in the scene. So so I would say Lebron. I know you're happy because of that might, but I would say Lebron only because, you know, he got so much height coming out of high school. I was watching his games and ESPN and all that stuff. Great player. You know, I lost a little bit when he was doing the Miami thing and Joe growing all over the place doing this stuff. But I really respect what he's doing for the Ohio community. I believe he opened the High School of a charter school. He's starting to be more of an advocate of the future and because he didn't have a father and being that big brother or that father for all these kids in these under Polish communities. I really hats off to time, hats off to the man. He's doing good things with his platform. That's what I want to see. So and he's a good player. I never seen a lot of a guy with a Bundy but linebacker move like that's at his age as well. Listen, Dan, it was a pleasure speaking to you, getting to know you. I look forward to corresponding with you in the future. And you know, I feel like I've gained a safety contact myself and I appreciate it. You know, we can spend hours talking to about this stuff. Is there anything you want to leave as with before you go? Any quotes, where as or wisdom? You know, I texted my wife. I'm like, I'm nervous, I'm jumping on this podcast, my first one ever doing and shout out to my wife. She said just be you, just be you, and and, and that's the advice I could give to everybody. Safety, professional, superintendent, Project Man, whatever be, you be ambitious, if you love this, you will succeed no matter what. In need of a blueprint for workplace safety and compliance. Safety Services Company is North America's leading provider of Safety Training and compliant solutions. We supply custom safety manuals and policies and onsite and online training solutions that will enhance the safety of your workplace, and our compliance services will save you time and resources, guaranteeing peace of mind. With eighteen years in the industry, we have a proven track record of helping customers achieve better safety outcomes by providing customized solutions that fit the unique needs of each business. To learn more, head to safety services COMPANYCOM. Thanks for listening to the Safety Management Show. To hear more stories from safety leaders, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you enjoyed the show, leave us a rating. Until next time, stay safe,.

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