Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although his words were uttered hundreds of years ago, they still hold true today—especially when it comes to mechanical services. While skills and availability are important factors to consider when hiring mechanical contractors, knowing they follow safety procedures is an absolute must!
The Importance of Safety Policies
When contractors walk onto your property to perform mechanical services, you want to ensure they follow safe practices, and the quickest way to do that is to ask about their safety policies. Every mechanical services company issues a safety manual that covers policies on drugs and alcohol, elevated work, tie-off rules, hot work, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Although mechanical contractors may not be able to quote these manuals word for word, they should understand the spirit of their safety policies and have a manual on hand in case they need to refer to it while on the job.
New Tie-Off Rules
Sometimes when safety standards are updated, they go through a transitional stage. For years, contractors who climbed ladders had to wear one safety lanyard located off the back of their harness. Once they reached their work destination, they’d hook the lanyard onto a safety point.
However, recent changes now state that workers must wear two lanyards and remain hooked up 100 percent of the time. Although this development is designed to protect them, some workers view the new rules as a nuisance and are reluctant to keep their safety lanyards hooked up. Because of this, it’s important to check in on your mechanical contractors throughout their service to ensure they’re following the latest safety protocol.
FYI on PPE
A harness with two lanyards falls under the term PPE, which includes helmets, goggles, and other items designed to guard against physical, electrical, heat, chemical, and airborne hazards.
Depending on the nature of the job, even the color of a contractor’s clothes, or the length of their sleeves, may matter. For instance, the MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) requires contractors to wear bright colors such as orange, yellow, and chartreuse when working in open quarries and mines.
For some companies, proper PPE simply refers to wearing a hard hat and safety glasses. For others, such as TMS, PPE includes those items plus safety boots and clothing without holes and rips, since torn fabrics can be grabbed by moving equipment. In addition, TMS believes it’s not only important that mechanical contractors use PPE, but that they understand the reasons for using it.
To reduce risks during your mechanical servicing jobs, ask first about the contractor’s safety policies and inquire about their experience modification rate (EMR), which is tabulated by comparing loss prevention and control practices as well as workers’ compensation claims and mechanical servicing experience.
The average EMR is 1.0; the lower it is, the better the record. You’ll want to hire a mechanical contractor with an EMR of 1.0 or lower. Even so, you should also check in on them throughout the job to ensure they’re following regulations, wearing their PPE, and taking preventative measures.
If you’re looking for mechanical contractors who are up to speed on all the latest safety policies, contact TMS at www.tmsmech.com.