Shining a Light on Construction Safety Every Day

Started in 2014 by 40 national and global construction firms, Construction Safety Week observance has grown to include 284+ companies in 2024, including HBW Construction. Sharing perspectives from three different roles that impact safety on the job, HBW provides insight into their effective culture of safety.

Construction Safety Week 2024: Shining a Light on Construction Safety Every Day

The rising sun glints off the metal struts as Superintendent Don Johnson slowly climbs a five-story stair tower, scanning every tread, bolt, and gap for unseen danger. He has done the same climb every morning for months before anyone else is allowed to use the stair tower, an external structure that allows personnel to enter the job site and hoist materials. Don’s attention to safety details made him ideal for this ongoing project, but he’s just one of dozens of HBW superintendents who actively bring safety into work processes.

Don and the other superintendents will have their moment in the spotlight this week as HBW observes Construction Safety Week. The firm plans to share lessons learned, best practices, and words of advice from their superintendents. Blogs, social posts, and site visits will capture these stories, but they will be familiar to any subcontractor or vendor who has worked with HBW. The company has prioritized safety since it was founded, holding itself to the highest standards.

Planning can keep a job site safer

Field Operations Manager Rande Naylor explains, “Safety at HBW is an everyday thing, not just a Safety Week thing. How we do it comes down to planning, accountability, and communication. So, during Safety Week, I’ll be in Gaithersburg at the Aldi grocery store we are building, showcasing the work of Superintendent George Raivel. George’s site has the potential for situations that OSHA might focus on, but he’s followed our processes to plan ahead, anticipating the risks and determining how best to avoid them. He holds his crew accountable for following safety protocols and training and has established excellent communication channels so everyone who steps on site understands what they need to be doing to stay safe. It’s a success story, for sure.”

Safety protocols at an Aldi construction site in celebration of Construction Safety Week.

During the site visits, Rande will also recognize individuals on HBW’s many job sites who have followed safety protocols to the letter or gone the extra mile for safety. 

As the firm brings plans to life, building stores and apartments and remodeling spaces for new tenants, planning ahead for safety has become second nature to HBW employees, but it’s always remained the first priority. 

Allison Lambert, Construction Project Manager, starts thinking about safety before HBW even bids on a job. “We need to account for the time and steps it’s going to take to do each job correctly but also safely. PMs go out and do a site survey so we can even put together the estimate, and that’s when you start thinking about the safety aspects. You might think to yourself, OK, we’ll need an external stairwell, so that’s going to be covered in your bid because there are going to be extra safety costs associated with it. Once we get the job, we share all those things we’ve flagged with the superintendent. There’s a back-and-forth as we bounce ideas off of each other. We need all the eyes we can get on safety.” 

Don Johnson agrees. “Some companies don’t think about the safety aspect until they’re already on the job and an issue comes up. Here, it’s the forethought that goes into it. It’s the planning from the get-go. It’s very proactive, not reactive.”

HBW’s brand of safety

With years of field experience and training, HBW counts on its superintendents to share what they know and set expectations for safe construction. Rande routinely sends superintendents to other job sites to learn about safety approaches or see how situations are being handled. “I tell them to soak up all the knowledge.”

HBW occupational safety initiatives & protocols

Yet superintendents aren’t the only ones in charge of occupational safety. At HBW, it’s a collaborative effort between project managers who come up with the plan, superintendents who implement the plan, and subcontractors who work on the plan. And for the hazards that crop up suddenly? Rande says, “We adjust on the spot, pulling in anyone with experience to gather ideas.”

HBW also uses a third-party safety company, Diversified. They add another set of eyes to projects that are big or particularly challenging. The firm counts on those outside experts to be super picky about safety and find things the HBW team might have missed. They also look for them to share situations and solutions that they’ve seen in other jobs.

Value Every Voice: The 2024 theme for Construction Safety Week

HBW is well aligned with this year’s Construction Safety Week theme, Value Every Voice, and its core tenets to Encourage, Listen, and Empower. Indeed, HBW is living out those values every day and on every job site. 

“You want to talk to the laborers out sweeping the floor and the subs who are just there for a day. Everybody can have an idea or an opinion. We take all concerns about building site safety very seriously. For every off-hand comment, we’ll take the time to go check it out. They might just see something we’ve missed,” says Allison.

“Plus, we’ve found that if they’re part of identifying or solving safety issues, then they are more willing to adhere to the corrective steps and make the extra effort for safety,” adds Don.

Rande concludes, “At the end of the day, whether it is Construction Safety Week or week 5 on the job, we want everybody to go home the same way they came to the job site.”

Construction Safety Week is May 6-10, 2024.