With caution and innovation in mind, Mortenson Construction’s outlook on safety is more than an expectation, it is an obligation for all team members, subcontractors, customers and visitors.
The company has a zero-injury policy that is reinforced by encouraging staff to be in control of their surroundings and their courses of action.
“Giving our workforce the empowerment to help control our surroundings is what creates our positive culture and our safe work environments,” said Superintendent II Brandon Gehl, who has been with Mortenson for about 14 years and led crews on projects like Froedtert Health’s Integrated Procedural Platform.
He seeks innovation in the workplace, focusing on ergonomics to introduce safer, more efficient tools and methods to every task.
“We’d rather eliminate the hazards by altering the environments we work in as opposed to guarding it. I’m a huge advocate for our team members to find safer, better, faster ways to innovate our industry,” he said.
For example, Gehl organized a tool show during National Safety Week, and through Mortenson’s Innovation Challenge he assembled a team to develop a hands-free hydraulic trash dumpster. This eliminated the need for workers to handle material, which is one of the leading causes of injury for laborers. Within the coming months, the product will be introduced into the equipment inventory.
Gehl also participated in a committee to redevelop the company’s pre-task plan card, which is now used daily by not only staff, but also other trade partners.
Through workplace practices like the “Take 2” or “Be here now” mantras, employees are encouraged to take time to rethink a plan, focus on the minor details and make any necessary adjustments.
“Doing the right thing … even when no one is looking,” Gehl said. “Just hearing it makes you think about what you’re going to do next.”