F.E. Moran leads Chicago’s mechanical contracting industry with effective safety programs and systems

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

F.E. Moran, a third-generation privately owned mechanical contractor, has taken the lead in safety as company president Mike McCombie, MCA Chicago’s incoming president, supports safety initiatives within his company and the larger community.

Safety director Jason Galoozis indicated the company, which employs between 700 and 1,000 workers, has achieved safety standards in the top five to 10 percent of its peers.

He said F.E. Moran’s safety success relates to both support from the company’s leadership and, equally important, the “buy-in” to safety practices at all levels, with individual workers having the power to speak out, report unsafe work conditions, and stop work where necessary until conditions are corrected.

“We have a comprehensive orientation training course, launched in 2011,” Galoozis said. “This is a six-hour class required before new employees enter a project site or fabrication facility.  We need them to understand our safety requirements, which often exceed OSHA’s.  We also have regularly scheduled special topic training seminars on topics such as fall protection and rigging that are offered both online and in our training conference center.”

Galoozis says company safety policies and a strong safety culture are important, though, ultimately, individual employees need to make their own decisions.  Job-site conditions can vary from day to day and F.E. Moran works at many different locations, so individuals need to make smart decisions and plan accordingly.

If a worker discovers a hazard when he or she arrives at a job site, the worker is encouraged to report the hazard to his/her supervisor, stop work until the conditions are safe, and allow F.E. Moran to make necessary remedial measures. Safety issues are always preventable. Necessary equipment, pre-planning, and proper precautions are a must for every construction site task.

“Employees are required and empowered to take corrective actions, and support the team and the safety goals and objectives,” explained Galoozis.

A focus on improvement

While Galoozis is happy with the progress of the safety program over the past five years, there is an area he’s looking to master: soft-tissue injuries.  Soft-tissue injuries are common in construction and can be devastating to both the employee and the company.  F.E. Moran has put great effort in reducing this type of injury in particular.  The company provides education, custom-designed equipment for lifts, and dedicates resources toward researching new technology to prevent soft-tissue injury.

“If we have incidents occur, these usually are soft-tissue challenges such as shoulder strain, pulled muscles, or herniated disks,” said Galoozis.  “The construction industry as a whole needs to focus more on ergonomics and working smarter, not harder.”

F.E. Moran recently created a rotator cuff online course with videos showing the proper way to use a pipe wrench in various working conditions.  It’s easy to choose the quick way to do a job.  It takes training to get someone to choose the right way that might take more time.  The business has long-term plans to continue its focus on preventing soft-tissue injuries and keeping employees safe.

These improvements will enhance F.E. Moran’s enviable and improving multi-year safety track record.

“Everyone is on-board.  They make my job easy,” Galoozis said.  When you have a culture built around job-site safety, the employees, contractors, and clients know you care.  You care about their safety and you care about their well-being.”

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