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Coffee Conversations - OSHA! The Top Five Things to Watch in 2022 - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Coffee Conversations - OSHA! The Top Five Things to Watch in 2022 - WATCH
May 19, 2022 at 4:15 p.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Trent Cotney of Adams and Reese, Ed Hausknecht of Tremco, and Frank Marino of Safety Check Incorporated. You can read the interview below, listen to the podcast here, or watch the webinar.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We're ready to go. Hello. Good morning. My name is Heidi Ellsworth, and I'm with Roofers Coffee Shop, and welcome to Coffee Conversations. Coffee Conversations is the conversations that answers your questions, so we want you all involved. We thank you for being here today, and we have got a great panel. We're going to be talking about OSHA and safety stand down. It's going to be a great conversation. Please feel free to be asking questions. We want it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So make sure your chat is up as we go through the conversation. Of course, this is being recorded, and you can share this out with any and all roofing professionals and friends. And once we get started, we will be taking your questions and asking our experts. So before we get started, I want to just say thank you to our panelists who are here today. Frank Marino, Ed Hausknecht, and Trent Cotney. And they are going to be talking about what you should be looking for with OSHA and what is happening out there. The good, the bad, and the in-between.

Heidi Ellsworth:
But before I start, I do want to say thank you to our sponsor, Tremco and WTI. This company, you will find them all over Roofers Coffee Shop. They have great information on safety. This is a culture that truly leads by safety. [inaudible 00:01:29] any time you talk to a Tremco or a WTI employee, and today we have Ed Hausknecht here who's going to talk a little bit about that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
But anytime you talk to anyone from Tremco first thing out is safety. And so, we are very honored to have them sponsor this Coffee Conversations today, and we look forward to hearing more about what is happening in the company. So today, I would like to start out by introducing Frank Marino. Frank Marino is with Safety Check Incorporated. And I'm going to ask Frank to share a little bit about himself. So good morning, Frank. Welcome to the show.

Frank Marino:
Good morning. Thanks for having me. Yes, my name's Frank Marino. I've been doing health and safety consulting for about 25 years, located here in the Chicago area. We work mostly with construction contractors, and within that, probably 70% of our book of business is roofing contractors. And we do everything from building programs to management training, employee training, and onsite inspections.

Frank Marino:
And again, mostly contractors here have been involved with the MRCA for several years and have had the opportunity to speak at the IRE over the last several years. So get a little bit of a national feel for what's happening in the roofing industry. Like I say, we do a lot of construction stuff here locally, but definitely a lot of work with roofers.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's great. Frank, I'm so excited to hear about what you're doing. I mean, nationally in there in Chicago. It's very impressive. I would secondly like to introduce who maybe doesn't need an introduction, but Trent Cotney, Adams & Reese. Trent, welcome to the show.

Trent Cotney:
Hey, thanks, Heidi. It's good to be here. I'm Trent Cotney. I serve as NRC General Counsel, Western State General Counsel, at Forest State General Counsel, CRCA, so on and so forth. But I'm also a practicing lawyer, capital partner, and practice group leader of the construction group at Adams & Reese. We are one of the largest construction law firms in the US. This was a recent thing. I had my own firm for 10 years and then merged with Adams a couple months ago. So very happy to be here. Obviously, OSHA is something that I live and breathe. I've published a couple books on it and really look forward to being able to share some insight today. So thanks for having me.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Great. Thank you for being here today, Trent. Excited to hear about what you're seeing out there. Lastly, I already mentioned, but I would like to introduce Ed Hausknecht. Ed, welcome to the show. And please share a little bit about yourself.

Ed Hausknecht:
Hey, well, thank you for having me. Yeah, I've been long time in the industry, 40 years plus. Been with Tremco over 22 years, and that's not an anomaly for Tremco. A lot of folks with double-digit tenure there. It is a great place to work. A registered roof consultant, got a bunch of different credentials as I've gone through. I believe what I have. I've been an OSHA instructor since '04, and I have really resonated with that side of the business after 20 plus years of hands-on.

Ed Hausknecht:
I've worked for other manufacturers in a technical side of things. I've worked for roof consultants. I've worked for our general contracting division. So what I bring to the table is a really unique view of the industry. I've seen it from almost all sides. And what I've learned over those years and now can apply it with that safety aspect to it. I find really exciting and refreshing. So I love to share what I've learned and when you put that safety aspect on it going forward, I do believe people are interested because I've walked the walk, and now I can show them the path.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is so cool. Thank you. I'm excited. This panel. All of you. Thank you for being here. This is going to be great. And we're going to start with really what you see as the top five, and if it's not exactly five, that's okay, but the top initiative at OSHA that's really affecting, you're seeing in your business, and you're seeing with your contractors. So Frank, let's start with you.

Frank Marino:
Well, I think number one would definitely be falls. If you look at statistics from last year, falls accounted for the number one citation in the roofing industries by SIC Code. But it also was a leader of fatalities, and that was the same number the year before, and the year before that, and the year before that. So although we tend to spend a lot of time on fall protection, there's a good reason.

Frank Marino:
And I think that moving into this year that we're going to see continuous and added couple notes to bring up about enforcement. I think we're going to see more so enforcement as a whole, but certainly, it's going to be fall protection. And it's led by the accidents that have not only taken place over time but even within the past 12 months.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. Yeah. I mean, it's part of the roofing culture, is making sure they're safe, and fall's at the top of the list.

Frank Marino:
Yep.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So Trent, what are you seeing?

Trent Cotney:
Oh, I think there's a lot of different initiatives that are coming up right now. And what I'm focused on, I guess, is, what does 2022 and '23 look like kind of moving forward? When I look out there, there's a lot of rule-making that's currently in process. One of the things that really interested me, Heidi, and Frank, and Ed can kind of both attest to this. With the new administration, there's been a renewed focus on sort of rebuilding the agency and making sure that there's enough people out there to inspect. So there's been a lot of hiring initiatives, things like that.

Trent Cotney:
As far as rule-making, the heat injury and illness standard is something that I'm watching pretty closely. They just announced just last month that there was going to be a National Emphasis Program on this, which means that there's going to be a lot of targeted enforcement. And basically, if are on a project where it's 80 degrees or higher, similar to the Cal/OSHA Standard. Now there's a potential issue there. Some other interesting things that are kind of out there, recently, Fed OSHA announced that they were proposing to decertify Arizona State plan.

Trent Cotney:
So for those that are listening, there's roughly half the states or federal. I think 24 or so, and then 26 state plans. But the state plans have to comply with the federal standards. So right now, they're looking to unwind Arizona's State plan, which is interesting. I think it's kind of a sign of the times and what we're seeing from the current administration. So a lot going on, Heidi. It's been very busy the first few months of 2022.

Frank Marino:
To jump onto what Trent said there. The one thing we've had in common with our past, I would say four OSHA inspections and safety check goes out and sets contractors through that. In every single instance, OSHA's training a new employee during that inspection, every single one of them. And I tell the contractors, "That means there's more compliance officers coming." That was something that was promised by the Biden administration, and they're certainly following through. So I would agree 100% on what Trent just said.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's really interesting too. I mean, I wouldn't even think about seeing that. But if you're having all these new OSHA folks coming on and training, it does show that they are really ramping up to get more. Plus, I'm sure through COVID, I mean, there was a lot of loss anyway, from the ranks. Ed, what are you seeing?

Ed Hausknecht:
Yeah. I mean, I guess I'll start off with what Frank was saying, talking about falls. And one of the things that we like to hit home on when it comes to falls is people immediately think of roofing and falling from height, and that's not necessarily the case when you talk about falls. There's a lot of other things linked to that term falls, whether you're just walking on the ground or whatnot. So I thought that was an important add-on to a very important topic.

Ed Hausknecht:
The heat standard that will be coming out. We've been preaching that to all of our new folks coming on board with our OSHA training as well. Just anticipate it. You might as well. We have seen heat illnesses over the past couple of years, and it's like, "Hey, why not?" But one of the biggest things that we're doing at Tremco, besides our training, constant training, is we want to change the paradigm over to a behavioral-based culture. We don't want to always just react to something. We want to have our folks being safety leaders out in the field. They see something that isn't correct. They have the stop-work authority to, "Hey, wait a minute, let's fix this before we go on." And that starts with the day one person or somebody that's been here for many years.

Ed Hausknecht:
So we really want to preach that it's no longer, "Oh, we've had an accident. What do we do now?" It's, "Let's prevent that accident before it goes." And having that mentality, and like you were saying, OSHA's ramping up the volume of people that they have, and that's kind of the dog chasing the tail. It's like, "Well, if we have to have more inspectors, why is that? Is the messaging to the employees failing?" And so, by ramping up our training to our folks to teach them to do the right thing, the right time, the necessity to have more agents shouldn't be there if you follow... in a grand scheme of things, but humans are humans. We have just a constant turnover of personnel in this industry and construction as a whole.

Ed Hausknecht:
There's always a lot of personnel. A lot of new people coming on board. And it seems that I guess the old thought that, "You have to go to college. You have to get a degree, and you have to get into this," is changing too, because now the trades are starting to really make inroads and making it a, "Hey, this is a viable career choice that I have for my life." And with that influx of new folks and young people, I think that messaging of behavior-based culture starts with them. So as they grow in teaching their new folks, "Hey, boom. We're one step out of the curve. And we don't have to rely on the feds to bring in more people to babysit." Right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I've been hearing that too. And Frank, I'd be really interested and Trent. But when I think about 10 years ago compared to today, or even five years ago compared to today, so many roofing companies, their culture is all-around safety. I mean, when you are looking at their core values, when you're talking about culture, one of the very first things that comes across the safety. And so I have seen that switch, Ed. I mean, I think there's still a long ways to go with the industry as a whole. But Frank, what are you seeing with the companies out there?

Frank Marino:
I would definitely agree with that. But before we get too far away, I do want to mention one thing. Trent had brought it up, and then Ed had followed up on it. If anyone's not aware of the new heat standard that's coming, I think they're ways off yet. You need to take a look at it because I think it's going to surprise a lot of people what's in it. And there'll probably [inaudible 00:12:41] some modification between now and the time it comes out, but it's going to be a pretty significant impact for any of those outside of California, obviously. So definitely make a note to at least follow-up and see what's coming with that because it could significantly change your programs, especially when you get to the hot weather.

Frank Marino:
So going back to what we're seeing from a workplace standpoint or behavior-based standpoint, I would agree with that. I would also say that so much more responsibility is being put on the field. And when I say field, I would say up to the foreman level where when you look at safety 20 years ago, even around the time I started. You had safety managers and safety directors. And sometimes it got even the ops people, as far as what they were doing. The amount of responsibilities for safety now at the foreman level and not just what OSHA would expect, but this goes mostly to the customer base.

Frank Marino:
Especially those contractors out there doing work with big GCs or fortune 500 companies. They're looking to see that, and they're putting significantly more emphasis on it than even, let's say, OSHA. So we work with several contractors that work with the Abbot Labs of the worlds or the Mortensens on the GC side. And they have a whole new level of compliance that they have to meet, and they get followed up on. It's not a matter of if OSHA comes out. These customers want to see this stuff all the time. So getting the workforce more involved is probably more prevalent now than it ever has been simply because the expectation is so much higher.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Trent, are you seeing that same thing?

Trent Cotney:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I've always been a big believer. I mean, you and I have talked about it plenty times, Heidi, that the goal is always to be proactive rather than reactive. And I think regardless of whether it's for your own employees, it's for your subcontractors, or it's for your customer safety just makes sense. You want to keep all... Everybody wants their employees to go home safe and sound every night. No one would say anything different than that. But there's also a big reputational component to it, right. You want to make sure that you are being a professional roofing contractor. That you are actively doing, click, checking the boxes, making sure that you're crossing T's and dot the I's. And I think part of that is making sure that you've got a safe program.

Trent Cotney:
It will help you sell jobs. And a lot of people don't realize that, right. A safe contractor means it's going to be a productive, efficient, and worry-free contractor on a job site. So if I'm a developer or an owner or a general contractor looking to hire a roofing contractor or subcontractor, that would be one of the things that I'm looking for. So definitely paramount. I think a lot of owners miss that key element that it's not just about having to comply with federal standards. It's good for your business as well.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Exactly. And I think that's so important. I do want to remind everybody that we want your questions. So we do have our first question in here. We have Megan Ellsworth, our producer, in the background, and she is helping to bring the questions together. And also, we'll be chatting up any information that we need out there. So gentlemen, we have our first question, and it's a really interesting one. It said, "Can you reiterate some of the guidelines with specific criteria?"

Heidi Ellsworth:
So some of the things that you already went through. The numbers we should really take away from this talk like fall protection above six feet and the type of restrictions for work in temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So maybe Trent, you talked about some of that. Do you have some key numbers or statistics that they should be aware of or thinking about?

Trent Cotney:
Yeah. I mean, they hit on some of it in the question itself, but I'll turn it over to Frank and Ed. You guys are the safety professionals. They can rattle that stuff off of the top of your head. But those are the two key guidelines that generally I'm always concerned about, regardless of whether it's heat. And keep in mind that 80 degrees, they are still in the process of rule making. Okay. That is the standard within Cal/OSHA, but we're not to the finish line on that. That is what's been proposed.

Trent Cotney:
They're modeling a lot of it off of what we see over in California, but there's a long way to go. Last I saw, there were over a thousand comments. We provided one. We did a white paper on what we thought would be good for the construction industry. So not there yet, but that's kind of what I'm familiar with. So I'll tee it up over to Frank and Ed [inaudible 00:17:15] you guys are the safety [inaudible 00:17:17].

Frank Marino:
One thing I've learned over the years, and I actually learned is from OSHA, they don't comment about anything or give direction until it's actually out and printed. And Trent's exactly right. And what I mentioned before is with the heat, the one thing I would say now is best practice. Use good best practice for hydration, work rotation, any of those things we're doing now. As far as actual compliance, we just don't know 100% until it comes out. So those are the numbers that [inaudible 00:17:43]. 80 degrees, 85 degrees, heat index. That's what we're hearing right now. But until it actually comes out and what the rule's going to be, I hesitate to give any direction other than what are the best practices out there.

Frank Marino:
Roofing work six feet. Anything above six feet is going to be that number you always have to keep in mind. Where I think people tend to get a bit confused is where they start confusing work operations, if you will, and you hear numbers like 15 feet or 10 feet. And how come that always makes [inaudible 00:18:18]? 10 feet is scaffolding work, or 15 feet could be certain areas of ironwork. So six feet for roofing contract is really one that you need to keep in mind. And then that's going to launch into when you need to pick one of the various means of fall protection.

Ed Hausknecht:
Yeah, [inaudible 00:18:39].

Heidi Ellsworth:
Ed.

Ed Hausknecht:
Yeah. Just throw in starting with the heat index. I would say, Hey, we know it's coming. We just don't know the finite details for that heat index. Best thing to do, put something in writing. Get a best practice or some sort of plan and start now while the weather is cool and heating up because new folks, even if you've been in the industry a long time, each year, it takes your body some time to acclimate to the heat. And when we're specifically talking about roofers, and it's 80 degrees ambient outside, that roof surface temperature could be a hundred degrees by noon. So all that heat goes up through the legs. It wears you out quicker.

Ed Hausknecht:
And if you don't have safety leadership in all of your people. What to look out for, things like that. By having a best practice, something, a plan, a written plan that you can share with your employees, "Hey, this is how we're going to keep cool, folks." Something as simple as having a water basin with ice in it to put your wrists in during the middle of the day to help you cool down. Simple things, but it's a plan. And if you have it written, now it becomes practice a lot easier to say, "Hey, this is what we're doing, folks. This is how we're keeping you safe." And when you show your employees that you care about them, sometimes that's better than giving them a raise here and there.

Ed Hausknecht:
When you show you actually care about your employees, they're going to see that and respect it all the more. More so than just whipping out the wallet and throw money at them. As far as fall protection goes. A lot of people say, "What about this? What about that? What about..." Again, one of the best things you can do is just read about it. It's pretty simple. There's a lot of, let's call it, layman's terms information available, even on the OSHA website. They try and make it so simple to learn multiple languages. It's there for the taking.

Ed Hausknecht:
You just got to do a little bit of homework on your own, and you can find that information. But I'm more than sure there's plenty of resources out there that if you don't feel like maybe that's not your way to do things, you'd rather have someone tell you. There's a ton of free resources out there that I'm sure you could pick up the phone and say, "Hey, can you clarify this for me?

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's one of the things that we had down here really wanted to talk about, and you led right into it. Perfect, Ed. Thank you. But the importance of safety manuals and [inaudible 00:21:03] the safety leadership, with the safety director really being aware of some of these initiatives, where there's heat or ongoing with falls or even new enforcements that's going out there. So maybe, Ed, you can start with... I'd love how you talk about a plan, right. So maybe some tangible items on what contractors should be doing right now to be reviewing their safety manuals or their safety plan to make sure that they're kind of getting ready for some of these initiatives that we're hearing about.

Ed Hausknecht:
Sure, sure. Yeah. And I guess I want to break that down even a little bit more. So you're talking about a safety plan for a company or a safety policy, safety manual. How often should somebody update that? I'm going to say annually. They should at least look at it annually. But, "Okay. So I looked at it. What does that mean?" Well, during the course of the year, hopefully, a company has been tracking incidents, near misses, whatever the case may be, and that's what they need to reflect on. What did my company do throughout the year that maybe I have to go back into my manual and tighten it up a little bit? And I think if you start with that. Start with yourself. How can I improve this manual? Because it's real easy to get into just something that's real simple and canned if you will.

Ed Hausknecht:
But once you start getting into, because every roofing contractor has a specialty. Okay. So if your specialty is tear-off and replacements, then maybe that's... You just do a step-by-step phase of your business and analyze each one of those. And maybe instead of having this daunting task of rewriting the whole thing. January, we're looking at crane safety. February, we're looking at ladder safety. March, we're looking... And break it down, make it easier on yourself because nobody has the bandwidth. We're all just running and gunning. And if you take smaller bites and you attack it little by little, and then at the end of the year, you assess all the things that have happened, good, bad, or indifferent throughout the year. Now you have a better game plan and a roadmap for your company because a lot of times, part of my duties here at Tremco is to review site-specific safety plans from our subcontractors.

Ed Hausknecht:
And you would be surprised how many people submit their 140-page safety manual. And it's like, "No, that is not a site-specific plan." And when you go back, and you explain it to them that, "We need to look at the individual hazards of this job. I don't care what your whole policy is. That's not going to help the guys in the field. They're not going to read 140 pages." But if you can break that down on a job-by-job basis, and I think that would mirror and reflect and grow your safety manual for your company better than just saying, "How do I do this?" And again, don't make it this daunting task in December. "Now I got to rewrite this whole thing and review it all." No, take it in segments and look at your own company and what segment helps the best, and that's how you would grow and make your company safer.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Frank, I see you nodding.

Frank Marino:
No. I couldn't agree more the value of a site-specific safety plan. And I think what we're seeing in the industry is, well, twofold. One, there's a lot of requirements for site [inaudible 00:24:16]. But I don't know if contractors are taking as advantage of it as possible. And one of the reasons why it is important is because the corporate manuals, in my opinion, are becoming more unusable regular documents. I wish we had 140-page corporate manual. The ones we're writing now are up to 350 pages because I know, and one of the main reasons for that is if one of our contractors has a problem.

Frank Marino:
They get into a significant accident where there's legal... or challenges to it. And I refer Trent, and his team has to come in. There's stuff that he's going to expect to be in there to protect the company legally. And some of that stuff isn't as usable in the field. So one of the solutions to that is, and we've seen in the past employee handbooks are a good way to pull certain things out of the manual that you needed today, but really to site-specific plans.

Frank Marino:
You're going to, A, site. You write that plan for that site. You have five different options for fall protection. But on this site, we're only using the one. So why don't we just put the one in there and make it cleaner and clearer for everybody, and that there's that expectation, while at the same time protecting the company. And that's going to certainly be Trent's realm. We're fortunate to Monte speak a bit to that, but we've seen more and more of that over the past even five years.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Trent, documentation, right?

Trent Cotney:
Yeah. You guys have heard me say it before the party with the best paper wins today. So safety manuals are obviously incredibly important. That forms the baseline of what your safety program is. But that CYA proactive documentation, like job site, safety plans, things of that nature, they serve a couple of purposes. One is they really laser focus what the safety issues are on that job site, but also from a legal perspective, what that does is it really shows OSHA that you've got a culture of safety. That you're focusing on whatever specific issues that may occur or potentially happen on that job.

Trent Cotney:
One of the other things that I really recommend is just think about how can you document the safety efforts that you're taking on a job? A lot of people don't use some of the construction documentation that's part of the normal course of business and the way that they should. If you're on a commercial project, you're usually filling out a daily report that talks about your means and methods, what you accomplish today, if there's delays. That kind of stuff. Why not put in there, did a safety check this morning, checked all the equipment, everything checked out okay.

Trent Cotney:
We had a brief talk about hydration this morning of potential issues. Self-serving documentation that shows your current mentality of what was going on that job site. That's a great recording of what you did at that time. So having that kind of mindset where you're actively thinking about not just performing the safety, but making sure that you got the documentation to back that up and present to OSHA in the event that you're inspected. It's critical for any kind of defense.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I think it's interesting too. I love this when you're really talking about site-specific and what you, Trent, incorporating. I think that's what Ed had said before too. Just really incorporating it into everything you do. So safety should be part of it all. So one of the questions I have. This is kind of one thing I'm always interested in, is what type of technologies are you seeing out there that is helping the contractors do this?

Heidi Ellsworth:
I mean, there's just... when you talk about all the documentation, about everything that's going on, I would really be interested in the different types of technologies you're seeing from contractors or that you're recommending or helping people use. Maybe, Frank, we could start with you.

Frank Marino:
To answer your question. Yes, technology is playing a huge role. So much so that we've actually gone into the software business because we see the need and actually developed our own inspection software with really the idea of getting information accurate. And most importantly, back to the decision-makers as fast as possible. One of the things that I found, and I got to go back over my time over 20 years when I started, it was doing the trifold paper where you write down, and it's you got the two copies beneath it. You leave the one copy with the foreman, you bring... you mail the one, and then you get in to typing the reports.

Frank Marino:
And one of the challenges with that is you could see a hazard out on-site, not be able to get ahold of somebody or not think to get ahold of them. And they're not getting that report for one to two days later. That's a lot of time, both from a liability and a safety perspective, that those employees are exposed. Technology has allowed to communicate so much faster and to be able to get this information to those, to not only make them aware of what's going on but also accelerate the abatement process.

Frank Marino:
So if we can send a report with photos back to 10 different people immediately, all of which with different functions of follow-up, we're going to be able to eliminate those hazards a lot faster. So from my perspective, communication with technology has helped out the safety efforts tremendously.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And bringing that background too, is OSHA, I mean, as with reporting, and just staying current with them. Is that technology helping kind of stay in front, be that proactiveness we've talked about in regards to OSHA and OSHA inspections?

Frank Marino:
Well, I can speak to the people I know at OSHA, and a lot of them are still carrying around those old cameras where they literally have the film rolls on there. And again, just my experience, I haven't seen them really embrace that. There was some time ago I saw one of the local area directors here in Chicago had showed me they had applied for some permitting or something [inaudible 00:30:25] to use drones for inspections. I haven't seen that yet. I would've... At the time, I'm like, "Man, this is going to revolutionize roofing inspections if OSHA flying drones around." But I haven't seen it happen. And that was several years, but I haven't seen it as much.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Ed, you were kind of nodding there.

Ed Hausknecht:
Yeah. And I have heard that Frank, just as well, especially on larger construction projects where they're using drones. And I think some of the resistance that they got getting those permits and that was the drones where what airspace are they in?

Frank Marino:
Right.

Ed Hausknecht:
How close to airports and all that. And I think we are... They're finally realizing that the drones are not where the airplanes are, and it's becoming easier and easier for you to get a permit for drones. So I've definitely heard that where OSHA is in need of that. One of the things that I'll piggyback onto, not to steal the microphone. But we're kind of beating around the bush here when it comes to using technology and having a site-specific safety plan or having some sort of hazardous check and OSHA does show on your site, how great is it that you can pull out your phone and say, "Here was my hazard assessment I did today."

Ed Hausknecht:
So here at Tremco, we use safety culture, the iAuditor. Every single person on that crew, if you have a five-man crew or 10-man crew. They have to do their own independent hazard assessment on every single project. So again, OSHA shows up, and everybody can pull out their phone and say, "Yeah, I did an assessment my own way." Then we had a huddle. We talked about it." I think the OSHA guy's going to be like, "Nothing to see here, folks. I'm leaving. I'm going to go find somebody else that doesn't have this kind of attitude towards safety." And I think that's huge.

Ed Hausknecht:
So once you tackle that elephant in the room, you get your crews on board to say, "You know what, I'm going to start my day with safety. I'm going to assess all this hazard. I've got a platform." Once they do that, as soon as they hit complete, everybody on the safety team has access to that report. The sales reps can pull that report and walk into the customer with a 10-page document with photos saying, "This is what our folks do on your roof. This is how we are safety conscientious." So I think that technology has really raised the bar as far as being a safety conscientious company and using that technology.

Frank Marino:
I can't agree with Ed more. And he brought up a really good point that I just don't want to let get away. Is the value of the first impression. And if you can show some of that kind of stuff right away on inspections. I had a compliance officer years ago and then this was on an excavation. So it was outside of roofing. And he had been at it [inaudible 00:33:11], so probably a 25 year [inaudible 00:33:13] time. And I was on an inspection with him, and he told me he said, "You know what the first thing I look for after the inspection started?" He said, "I look at the condition of the equipment because if the company takes care of their equipment, they're going to take care of their people. If they don't take care of their equipment, I don't assume they take care of their people."

Frank Marino:
Now that is an assumption. It's just that. But that's how it starts. That's that first impression. And if you have this stuff, if you can answer the questions properly, talk about policies, procedures, you're going to be off on the right foot. And again, this is kind of news to some people. OSHA are human beings. They do have different attitudes and different moods, and so forth. And those kinds of things can make a big difference in how it all plays out. So good point.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's really good. And I'm just kind of sitting here chuckling in my head, and it shouldn't chuckle. But I'm thinking I remember the conversation four to five years ago about, should we allow people to have phones on the roof? Right. Or should we allow people to have their phones on the jobs? And now it's like, you have to have your phones because that's the technology that is really the proof and that first impression. So how much things have changed? Trent, maybe you can talk about that.

Trent Cotney:
Yeah, absolutely. So it's really interesting. The use of software and apps, and Frank does this all the time with the contractors that he provides safety for. The integration of technology is key now because people want less paper. They want less clutter. So the ability to access data and manipulate data is the most important thing for businesses right now. What's interesting is there was a lot of conversation about drones and OSHA can use drones.

Trent Cotney:
Right now, there's a memo that came out not too long ago. The problem with it is that OSHA's got to get the consent of the employer. So if you're an employer that gives consent for OSHA to use a drone, come talk to me, Frank, or Ed before you do that. I would question that. But I do think that the use of robotics, automation, and drones is something that is important for safety.

Trent Cotney:
John, Kenny, and I were talking about how you can use drones and automation to really act as that second set of eyes and help identify potential problems on a job site. Part of it has to be educational. You've got to be able to audit your job sites, figure out what the problems are, and fix them. I have a lot of contractors that say, "Well, Trent, isn't that bad for me if I identify a problem?" It's like, it's only bad if you don't fix it, right.

Trent Cotney:
So the goal is to find the problems and fix them, and what better way than to have stuff like that can assist you in doing it. But it's absolutely amazing how quickly technology has advanced in the last few years. I was handling five different things on my phone earlier. And I think about three years ago, I probably couldn't have done that. So it's moving light speed, Heidi.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It really is. It is. Well, we have a couple of questions here, so I want to make sure we get them. And one of them is kind of fun. So, Ed, there is a question on wanting to know if that is an Ibanez in the background. Yes.

Ed Hausknecht:
Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's from Henry Staggs, and Henry's going to be on the show two weeks from now. So...

Ed Hausknecht:
[inaudible 00:36:29].

Heidi Ellsworth:
There you go, Henry.

Ed Hausknecht:
Actually my daughter's [inaudible 00:36:33].

Heidi Ellsworth:
[inaudible 00:36:34]. And then this is really... this is a great question and actually a follow-up from our Coffee Conversation two weeks ago. But Mandy McIntyre, sorry, Mandy, asked, "I'm curious what their thoughts are on safety in regards to mental health in the workplace for installers and field employers?" And what you're doing. Toolbox talk. I'm adding this to Mandy's question, but toolbox talks. What are you doing around mental health? Frank, let's go ahead and start with you.

Frank Marino:
Sure. I think that's a great question. And one that you probably won't get a lot of help from OSHA or from a compliance standpoint. But it goes back to culture. Your safety culture. And that is something that is not only the most important but one of the more challenging things to try to accomplish. And we say it a lot. We hear it a lot, safety culture. But you can tell the companies that really do it right. And one of the things that I think every company can do specifically do to address the concern about mental health is good communication.

Frank Marino:
Take toolbox talks, for example. Are you passing them out and everybody's signing them and turning them in and reading it, or is the foreman giving a presentation? And better yet, is the foreman having a discussion? Are they getting input from the field? Are they picking up when employees may be unhappy or disgruntled or feeling like their voice isn't heard? Some of the better companies do like a town hall where they get in, and they allow direct communication from the field to the CEO and or president of the company. It's certainly a challenging coming out of the pandemic. I think we're dealing with things. It's interesting.

Frank Marino:
What a lot of people fail to realize is COVID affected OSHA just as much as it affected everybody else. OSHA's changing their procedures to protect their own people, let alone try to go out and enforce the rules that were put in place. So it was unprecedented for everybody in trying to navigate our way through that. And then, when you get that all the way down to the end-user, you can imagine the impact it still had on them. Maybe they have a lost loved one, or they had a bad experience with COVID themselves, and that's carried it into where we're at now kind of coming out of it.

Frank Marino:
But it's certainly a very real thing. I think we've seen it more now in the past several years. The stigma is not as bad as it once was. And I think that I would recommend anything you're doing with your current program to include or increase communication will ultimately help in that scenario.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Good. Trent.

Trent Cotney:
I'd like to add to that, Heidi. Mandy, thanks for that question. I had the opportunity to listen to you not too long ago. And one of the things I think is really important for any safety program, but also just from an HR and employer, employee standpoint, is understanding how to listen. And what you're listening for is you're listening for the signs of distress. You're listening for the things... There's key things that, if you really listen, you can understand when someone is going through some mental issues. And from a safety standpoint, you want to know that as well, right. You want to know what's going on. Sometimes there's drugs involved. Sometimes there's not. Whatever it is, you want to combine both the HR perspective and the safety perspective at the same time because they're like this, right.

Trent Cotney:
But I think the key thing is, and kind of the key thing that I took away from what you said before, Mandy, was the ability to kind of really truly listen. It's hard with all the distractions we have now to really focus on that. But from a safety director standpoint and from an HR director standpoint, it's absolutely critical. Because as Frank and Ed mentioned, coming out of COVID, the amount of mental health issues has increased dramatically. I don't know about you guys, but I can tell you, I don't want to go back to that. That was rough. So, great question. Thank you for that [inaudible 00:40:44].

Heidi Ellsworth:
Ed, have you seen some of that at Tremco?

Ed Hausknecht:
Yeah, absolutely. And Tremco's always had a long policy. We've got 800 number. We have people to talk to. We have third-party resources that people can go to. But again, we look at on the individual levels, the foreman's, the leaders on the crew. Hey, get to know your guys. Talk to them. Is everything okay with them? And you don't have to share it with me. But just reassure that, "You know what, there is help if you need it. It's always available." We do the toolbox talks and such as that.

Ed Hausknecht:
One of the other things I was going to add is before I became the full-time teacher here for the safety, I was also international safety. And I still get a lot of emails from the UK. And it's interesting because they do have a lot of mental health programs, mental health week, all in regards to construction and safety from that aspect. So I thought it was a unique way of looking at, "Hey, how does the rest of the world go about this?" And picking up some outside of the box, if you will, ideas and thoughts. And that was one of them that resonated with me. I was like, "Wow, look at the UK talking about mental health, mental health..." [inaudible 00:41:59] like, "Wow, that's a thing."

Ed Hausknecht:
So, again, we have companies over there and workers over there, employees over there that do roofing work and stuff like that. Canada, they're under the crown, same kind of approach. So it's not a unique thing to the Americas, but we can maybe glum some of their information where it's not so prevalent in the states as to how do we reach out to our roofers and our technicians out in the field and help apply it. Bring it to the forefront because you're right. With COVID kind in the rearview mirror, what did it leave behind as we go forward? And without raising those concerns or giving people the know-how or the solutions to go about it, that leaves a big void.

Ed Hausknecht:
So I'm proud to say, "Yeah, Tremco and WTI. We have all sorts of resources that we can go to." And I think it begins with the leadership, both from the top end and the supervisor's informant level saying that, "Hey, it's okay if you need some help, if you want someone to talk to, or here's a toll-free number from a third party," and it's all there.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Frank Marino:
[inaudible 00:43:12]-

Heidi Ellsworth:
Go ahead.

Frank Marino:
[inaudible 00:43:14]. The one example I guess I could give is going back to COVID. So we ended up once OSHA determined it's a recognizable workplace hazard, companies are required to have programs. In Illinois, we were fortunate for the construction labor to really not stop. That work was proceeded to go, which I think was a good thing. And we wrote a lot of COVID programs. However, a lot of schools shut down. And my sons, I have two sons, 16 and 12, and their schools were closed, and I was constantly preoccupied with the impact that was having on them, not being with their friends, not being... So the mental health aspect of it.

Frank Marino:
So I'd be at a training presentation with leadership and some even field workers and going through some of the protocols, and afterwards, I would bring up, "So how were you guys handling that?" I mean, I knew some had young children or kids around my age as well. And then we shared stories about what they were seeing and what I was seeing. And then, all of a sudden, they were having more of a peer-to-peer conversation, and I think it was healthier for everybody all around.

Frank Marino:
So again, that's where I really went to communication is going to be better here no matter what. And here I came in to present these programs to help them, or in turn, they end up helping me because they gave some ideas, things they were doing with their kids to try to give that sense of normalcy as much as possible. So I think, like I said, everybody can help everybody in this one.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love that. I love that. Well, I want to make sure, Mandy, thank you again, and Henry, thank you. And if anybody has any questions, get them in, but I do want to be sure to kind of take that communication topic and make sure that we talk about national safety stand down. That was last week. It was May 2nd through the sixth. And a lot of people did some great things, and they're carrying it through the whole month of May, which I always kind of think of that. I think of May as safety month. But, Ed, maybe we could start with you. What were some of the... How did you work with OSHA? What did you do for your stand-downs, and what are you doing with WTI and Tremco?

Ed Hausknecht:
Yeah, that's a huge. What do we do? So we individualized our regions across the country and kind of threw it in everybody's... the safety managers and stuff like that. "Hey, show us what you want to do?" And across the country, we had different programs. We had different stand-downs. We had trainings. We did a lot of photo montage. We distributed t-shirts to all of our techs, saying that safety begins and ends with me. And then we had the guys out in the field taking pictures or doing demonstrations. I got a great photo of one of our subcontractors doing a demonstration to his crew using the fault protection. And he's literally in a 45-degree angle showing what it means to be tied off properly.

Ed Hausknecht:
We had food trucks come in doing stand-downs and things like that. Guys brought in donuts to get everybody's attention. And we're continuing it for the next couple of weeks because in the UK theirs is next week. So we've continued it this week. We're going to do it next week as well. Invite people just to continue with that, leading with safety. What can I do to make this at the forefront?

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's excellent. And it's something that... I like how you... It's going to be international, but you still it's constant, it's constant part of the culture. Frank, what are you seeing with your contractors out there? And I really want you to talk a little bit about inviting OSHA.

Frank Marino:
Sure. So one of the things that we've done, and I began the conversation today with falls, is really going to be a big initiative. And this is one of the wiser things I think OSHA's done in the past. Pick that week and say, "This is the national safety standout." And what we've done is tried to coordinate getting OSHA out with some of our contractors. So the contractor will put up a job or location, and we then invite OSHA, and it's got to be in their jurisdiction. And we invite them out to that site to participate in the stand-down, which is ultimately a training.

Frank Marino:
Now, on the surface, many of your viewers or attendees today are thinking I'm nuts for doing something like that. Here's where it... This is really something OSHA is in, and it's their idea. So why not get them involved? And they've been very excited about doing it. They're very thankful to the contractors that do that. And in fact, this past year, we utilize companies, contractors that have had some problems in the past. One of them had some run-ins with OSHA from an inspection. And one of them we had met after the fact actually had a fatality and had OSHA out.

Frank Marino:
It's a good opportunity to get in front of OSHA to put your best foot forward. And at the same time, hear from OSHA, get some feedback from them. So surprisingly, everyone's a little bit apprehensive at first. I have the opportunity to know a lot of the compliance officers from OSHA, particularly in the Chicagoland area. For the most part, they're good guys and girls. The contractors, you just think... I suppose that's how I feel about the IRS is how people feel about OSHA. But they're actually pretty good people when they get there, and it's not really in that enforcement mode.

Frank Marino:
People kind of get their guard down. They have that communication. And the one thing that I always try to aim for is to get people out of the mindset that OSHA's always going to find something. Safety directors or inspectors are guilty of that. You're going to find something no matter what. That's not the case. If you utilize, just like my colleagues laid out today. If you do these things properly, you can get through an OSHA inspection without citations. And OSHA really does reiterate these types of meetings. So we've tried to take that outreach to the next level, get OSHA in front of our contractors and it's been a great... Within the last couple of years, it's been great.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I love that. I love that. Just bring it in and get the information and keep it... build those relationships. Trent, any last thoughts on OSHA overall and all of this?

Trent Cotney:
Yeah. I think with safety stand down and a lot of the other programs that are going on, I think it's very important to educate. I've always been a big believer in getting the word out and trying to avoid the citations through planning, through making sure that you've got the right SOPs in place. And I think that if you train your crew on what to expect at an OSHA inspection, that's probably one of the best things that you can do. Obviously, from a safety perspective, we need to really make sure that we're drilling the basics. Right. And a lot of times, we focus on the granular. We forget how do you tie off a lot? How do you put on a harness? How do you ... go over the basics. You'd be surprised how many of your seasoned crew forget what they need to do on a daily basis.

Trent Cotney:
So I think this is a great opportunity for everyone to take a look at your safety program. Really think about how do you shore it up? How do you make sure that you're approaching it from all angles? I know, Heidi, you and I have talked about this. When I talk to my team, sometimes they listen to me, sometimes they don't. But if I'm bring in somebody else, if I bring in a third party, they're going to listen to them, right. It's like me talking to my son, right.

Trent Cotney:
So I think having that kind of mentality, brushing it up. Use videos, use talking points, use articles, bring in third-party consultants, whatever it might be. There's a lot of benefit with that. But the key thing that I want everyone to really focus on this week is take the time, go back and take a look at your safety program, figure out how do you evolve it? How do you keep up with technology? How do you take it to that next level to ensure that there aren't any problems down the road?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. And I just want to kind of reiterate to everyone too that Ed said this earlier, taking it in pieces and chunks. I'm just thinking back kind of on the Coffee Conversations we've had this year. One of them was on [inaudible 00:51:25], right. Mobile platforms and safety that went around that. And we had the experts from United Rentals and a number of folks talking about what the rules and safety was around that. We've had mental health talking about the mental health part and adding that to your program.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And now I mean, I really see this heat stress [inaudible 00:51:47] OSHA comes out with that and really how to take care of your families, I mean [inaudible 00:51:57]. And so, how are we dealing with that as a industry? So yes, Trent, I think that's good. And I would say, use the resources and go back and watch some of these Coffee Conversations as we've had with the panelists like this because there's a lot of really smart people out there who are trying to provide this kind of information.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I want to say thank you very much to all of you, all of our panelists, for sharing this. I mean, what a great presentation, great information. We've had some excellent questions, and the chat is still rolling. So I want to make sure that everybody, if you do have questions, you can find information. We will have this available. So you can get a hold of Frank at Safety Check. You can get a hold of Trent at Adams & Reese. You can get a hold of Ed at Tremco WTI because these are the folks that you can go to who can help you. We also have, as you all know, directories on Roofers Coffee Shop, where you can find all this information as we go forward.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We are going to bring this Coffee Conversations to a little bit of an early stop, just because we have a couple of folks that have to leave early. And so we're all going to give you maybe five minutes back in your day. But before you go, I want to make sure that everyone knows, and we just heard from Henry earlier. Two weeks from today, we are going to have apprenticeship training. It's all going to be about NCCER, which I am super excited about.

Heidi Ellsworth:
The schools that are out there that are starting to train schools like what Henry Staggs have, what the NRCA is doing with John Esbenshade, and Steve Little from KPost, who's going to be talking about what the apprenticeship programs they've put together with ABC. Really, you got to catch this one. It's going to be amazing. So I want to thank our sponsor, WTI and Tremco, one more time. Amazing culture of safety. Ed, thank you for everything you shared with us today and really showing you walk the talk.

Ed Hausknecht:
Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. Thank you gentlemen, for being with us today.

Frank Marino:
Sure. Thanks.

Trent Cotney:
Appreciate it.

Ed Hausknecht:
Thanks everybody.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. And thank all of you for being here today. We will see you next time on Coffee Conversations. Have a great day.

Ed Hausknecht:
Be safe, everyone.



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