Construction Site Safety Insights: Q&A with Commando Contracting COO Corey Templet
The week of May 3-7, 2021, is Construction Safety Week. In honor of this event, Commando Contracting is taking a look at construction site safety as a public health issue, in addition to an important construction industry issue.
Commando Contracting’s Chief Operating Officer Corey Templet shares a number of ideas and insights from his 30+ years of hands-on experience in the industry safely working and managing at job sites large and small.
Q. What is your construction job site safety track record as a COO?
My current company and its predecessor has not had a lost-time injury or near-miss since its inception in 2016.
Q. Unfortunately, construction site accidents happen every day, but your company tends to avoid them. Why do you think that is?
A. Safety is not a chore. It’s a culture here at Commando. It’s a way of life. Our priority is simple: go home to your family each and every night. Occupational safety and health is the foundation that success is built on at Commando. Our people are our greatest asset. If our assets aren’t protected, we all fail.
Q. What is the most common mistake you've seen on job sites over the years?
A. The most common mistake with OHS is that PPE and preventive measures are taken as a “chore”. And with any chores, they are dreaded….and with any chores, the path of least resistance is always taken. The key to truly being a safe and healthy workforce is developing habits that are sustainable and holding each other accountable.
Q. What happened during your own career that led you to stay committed to being safety aware?
A. On my first $5 million project, we had a high voltage technician that didn’t cross-check the loop feed on a high voltage transformer. He only checked the primary feed (which was dead). He had an arc flash suit on, used rubber mats and took all the PPE precautions he could to prevent injury. As soon as he touched the cabling, it blew up in his face. He was rushed to the hospital (where he made a full recovery) and caused about $100k worth of damage. Moral of the story is safety doesn’t start with PPE. PPE is a last resort. Safety starts with a plan of how to accomplish something safely so PPE can become lagniappe.
Q. Is it true that following safety guidelines slows down work and causes inefficiency?
A. Safety procedures DO slow down efficiency if it is not a habitual effort. When the “safe way” of doing things becomes second nature, you don’t waste time looking for PPE, complaining about OHS procedures, etc. They key, again, is to develop a culture of safety instead of making it a nuisance.
Q. Do you have any safety insights for keeping the general public safely out of job sites, such as secure perimeter fencing?
A. Yes. Perimeter fencing is important but limiting egress (in and out) with check-in/out is not only more important but a way to track job progress, sub-contractor control, and contractual accountability (making sure trades are staffing the projects properly). Implementing this, in an indirect way, also limits exposure to the things you mentioned in your question.
C. Corey Templet, COO
Commando Contracting LLC
Office Line: (225) 217-8800
Office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org