Construction Safety Week: Q&A with the KPRS Safety Team

Kristy Eudy

Whether there’s a multifamily complex under way or a new ground-up office taking shape, whether it's any jobsite large or small, the full spectrum of KPRS projects are within the view of the KPRS Safety Team. Although it may seem they operate largely behind the scenes, their work and oversight is vitally important to the health of each project and team. As part of the industry's nationwide recognition of Construction Safety Week, we took some time to talk more specifically on the role of the KPRS Safety Team, and what it means for the overall culture of safety for the entire organization.

KPRS has nearly 300 employees and serves over 10 different markets and project types. Tell us about your role as the Safety Team, in overseeing the company-wide safety program?

There are four of us on the team including the Safety Director, and we support all KPRS projects from NorCal to SoCal. Our job is to ensure that we effectively execute the KPRS Safety program so that compliance requirements are met-- requirements as set by government regulations and set within the industry's own best practices. Our goal is to protect our clients and the company from legal liability, citations from government agencies, and above all else, protect the individual workers who practice their professions on our jobsites.

How do you define Safety at KPRS?

We define safety as the mitigation of risk by identifying issues before they exist. We do this through subject matter expertise, effective planning, and coordination, and the abatement or alleviation of present hazards through engineered methods, administrative solutions, and the use of personal protective equipment.

How do you think a culture of safety is built? How do you partner with project teams here and influence a culture of safety?

Culture is built through clear and constant communication, with consistency of messaging and enforcement from ownership and senior leadership down through to each person. We help build this consistent message and understanding with project teams by holding each to the same standard. We emphasize the importance of the Safety program both in protecting the company and in protecting the individual worker, who relies on them implementing the safety standards. We deliver this message with an attitude of positivity, cooperation, and urgency.

What aspects of the safety program have you found to be most successful or are you most proud to have implemented?

It’s been great to see how we’ve applied quantitative metrics in several areas to gauge performance and identify areas of weakness, and we’ve been able to effectively communicate these standards across the company.

What role does your team have beyond the knowledge of each project team?

While each project is responsible for daily safe practices, our team is in the know on current Cal/OSHA trends, as well as specific knowledge and contextual information on safety regulations. We are also the primary resource for integrating digital technologies to document and ensure compliance.

Does each safety officer focus on certain project types?

Each of our personnel focuses generally on a geographical area, and while certain areas tend to have more of one type of project over the other, each Safety team member is familiar with the breadth of product types KPRS offers.

Most of your team has military experience. Do you think this has significance in how the team operates?

We would say it has an impact as the military provides valuable experience in interpersonal skills, task prioritization and management, and dedication to taking care of the people around you.

What do you want clients to know about your team or the safety process at KPRS?

On every jobsite, we value the lives and livelihood of the workers constructing the buildings that KPRS clients envision. We take pride in creating a safe and healthful work environment out of the firm belief that in doing so, we can prevent any delays or injuries. We're committed to building morale within our organization, and among our subcontractors and vendors to continually grow a culture of safety. With this strong Safety culture, we continue to deliver a product that meets and exceeds the expectations of our clients-- on time and under budget, with everyone who took part in its construction safely going home at the end of the day.

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