After a young worker fell 35 feet on a job site, he was life-flighted to the ER but miraculously walked out that afternoon.
“Praise God he didn’t die, but he hurt himself,” says Scott Overby, Construction Health, Safety & Environmental Manager at McInnis Construction. “A 35-foot fall, you don’t survive that. That’s a miracle.”
After assuring the worker was alright, Overby faced the dread of the OSHA investigation triggered by the fall. “I’m nervous, scared: it’s OSHA! They’re going to write me a ticket here. This could cost me a lot of money.”
OSHA estimates that a worker sustaining multiple physical injuries from something like a fall can cost a company over $160,000–not to mention the potential for a lawsuit and the indirect costs if a company’s reputation becomes one of unsafe practices.
In fear of a citation, Overby was quick to assist the OSHA inspector with anything he needed. “I said, ‘Hey, by the way, I want to help you. What do you need from me? Are there any training documents you’d like to see? Any inspections? So he gave me a list.”
“I went home, pulled up my HCSS, printed out all the training this individual had, all of the toolbox talks he’d attended, all the daily huddles he’d been a part of, and covered the new employee orientation that I do, which gets into a lot of the main safety aspects.”
Armed with a thick, printed report of the worker’s entire safety history, Overby put all of the requested documentation into the inspector’s hands the next morning.
“And he [the OSHA investigator] goes, ‘Wow, this usually takes about two to six weeks, or maybe we’ll never get it because it never existed. You need to let your owners know that you’re doing a good job here.’”
The OSHA investigator then wanted examples of write-ups given per the company’s safety enforcement policy. “I said how many do you want? He said six, I sent him seven. That took me about five minutes. All I did was go to HCSS, pull up the last three months of write-ups, and I emailed them, just like that.”
Following the interviews and walkaround, OSHA concluded the investigation and told Overby: “Your company is safe. It looks like it was an employee error because he was trained. I have found nothing to cite you for.”
“I owe that to HCSS,” Overby said. “HCSS (Safety) helped us win with OSHA.”