At Vic Art Masonry, we recognize the high rate of accidents and injuries when working with heavy stone. Building stone basements, repairing stone chimneys high in the air, bracing basement walls and repeatedly bending lifting heavy bricks and concrete masonry units are all dangerous and can lead to injury from accidents and repetitive muscle stress.
To keep our workers safe, we conduct “tailgate safety meetings” at our work sites, addressing safety issues as soon as we pull up in our trucks and open the tailgates.
Vic Art owner Jim Cox says bluntly, “There are a million ways to die in construction work, but there are lots of ways to avoid dying.”
Cox says it’s a priority for him not just to avoid accidents, but to keep his workers healthy and injury free, so they can remain part of the team for years.
“We’re trying to get everyone to be certified with a 30-hour OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) card,” he says.
Some of the areas in which Vic Art trains its workers include:
- Basic competence in scaffold erection
- Safe ladder use
- Safe practices for power tools, including operation and checking for damaged power cords
- Safe rigging
- Proper safety equipment for each task
Each morning, Vic Art’s masons and construction workers arrive early for a regimen of stretching, to help prevent injury.
Then they conduct their tailgate safety meeting: “We pull up to the job site and take a topic or two,” says Cox. “We go over the previous day and we make a plan for proper safety gear for this individual job, how to handle an accident and how to handle any risks that are coming up on the project.”
Cox says it’s important to have a good safety record, both to keep customer prices low, and to continue valuable relationships with larger general contractors.
“If we can keep our Workers Comp rates low, we can keep our prices lower for our customers, but also we care about our workers and we don’t want anyone to have an injury that will affect their home life or career,” Cox says.
Vic Art Masonry is bonded and insured, and frequently works with commercial contractors to provide masonry service on larger building projects.