At Forest NJ, getting a job done quickly should never get in the way of completing a job correctly and as safely as possible.
At Forest Electric New Jersey (Forest NJ), safety is manifested in two ways: methodical work practices and a level of commitment to its people.
“At every level of our organization—from an entry-level electrician to the members of our executive team—we emphasize that getting a job done quickly should never get in the way of completing a job correctly and as safely as possible,” explains Wayne Baruch, Forest NJ’s safety director. The company takes a team-centered approach to safety, fostering a spirit of open communication among all employees, at all levels. This approach helps to ensure that every team member has the tools, knowledge and networks of communication necessary to complete their work in as safe a manner as possible.
“We believe a successful safety program is not top-down, because it depends on buy-in from our workforce for successful implementation,” Baruch says.
To that end, Forest NJ uses a system of custom-built, web-based forms to log observations and to document quality across safety, electrical code compliance, and production. The company has also built a safety audit database documenting hundreds of tours.
Forest NJ has made significant investments in engineering technology, which has allowed the company to take on higher-risk jobsite work and move it into a closely regulated, climate-controlled and ergonomically safer production environment. These investments, Baruch adds, have facilitated other safety measures, such as reducing clutter and waste at jobsites, increasing efficiency, and creating a more effective application of the Hierarchy of Controls.
In addition, Forest NJ has created and follows a stringent “Critical Procedures” list, which is a variant of OSHA’s National Emphasis Programs. Any work considered a critical procedure requires a call to and approval from either the company’s general superintendent or safety director. This includes work involving: substations, cranes and rigging, lead, asbestos, respirable crystalline silica, trenching and excavation, hazcom and serious spills, and leading edge work.
“The call helps to ensure that our team has prepared thoroughly and carefully for work in areas that are particularly dangerous, as well as work that is outside our usual, everyday practices,” Baruch says. “During a call, we might double-check OSHA codes and NFPA standards, consult one of our substation experts for advice, or review guidelines around a particular hazardous material.”
The company is particularly proud of completing four years and over 1.3 million work hours without experiencing any OSHA recordable incidents. “Foresight is the key,” Baruch points out, “as well as a deep-rooted safety culture. In effect, we have safety leaders at every level of our organization.”