In the mere year and a half that Marcus Lois has been safety director at JM Brennan, he has managed to impart a lot about what’s needed to ensure workers are well-protected on jobsites.
For Lois, a lot of his job comes down to getting to know the people on any given job. Familiarity, he has found, breeds comfort with reporting possible hazards.
“I try to get to meet and learn about their families and what they like to do,” Lois said. “I like to try to build a personal relationship, so they will bring up safety issues to me.”
Too often, Lois said, workers feel as if they’ll somehow bring shame on themselves if they call attention to something that seems amiss.
“It’s really about getting all the contractors involved to not be afraid to speak up,” he said. “They don’t have to feel afraid to say something.”
Lois’s expertise in safety comes in part from the occupational safety and health degree he obtained from UW-Whitewater. Most of it, though, has been acquired the old-fashioned way: By working out in the field.
His concern for safety extends beyond employees. JM Brennan’s work on health-care projects means he also has to keep the well-being of patients in mind. If power, gas or water service has to be shut down at a hospital project, Lois has to make sure everyone on site is aware of the shutdown so there is no interruption in medical care.
For Lois, making safety a top priority is not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense.
“Especially in health care,” he said, “if you don’t have a good safety record you are not going to have clients.”