Safety Week 2021: Why Gray Focuses on Safety
At Gray, our No. 1 core value is: we put safety and quality of life first. This isn’t a slogan or saying we came up with to attract team members. This is the lifeblood of our company. This is how we conduct business, in the office and especially on our jobsites, every single day. Safety is who we are. Safety is Gray.
Here at Gray, safety doesn’t begin and end at the front doors. Safety is a culture that has been cultivated throughout years of conscious choices from each and every team member, and it is an effort that continues to grow as the company continues to grow.
“As projects get faster, larger, and more complex, we must condition our industry experts to focus on the fundamentals,” says Patrick McCowan, chief operating officer, Gray Construction. “Providing training is always important, and we strive to make sure our subs and vendors have the proper training prior to working on our jobsites. The construction industry is rapidly growing, and new individuals continue to enter the profession. We must guide them to proper training and educate them on their importance in the overall project success.”
Gray is committed to safety because the numbers are not really numbers, they’re people. Our people. Even one single incident, no matter how small it may appear, is too many. We understand that even after 60 years of dedication to building a strong safety culture, there is still work to be done, because ‘safety’ is never something you arrive at or complete; it is a constant work in progress and a process that is continuously in motion.
As a part of our commitment to safety, Gray is excited to again participate in Construction Safety Week. This is our eighth year participating in this event, which is geared toward raising awareness of the daily dangers of jobsites and equipping teams and workers with education to be safer.
During Safety Week, Gray will have team members on more than 40 jobsites around the country participate in safety stand downs, toolbox talks, safety trainings, and other safety initiatives to increase awareness about safety on the jobsite.
This year for Safety Week, we asked some of our team members about Gray’s dedication to safety and how this emphasis is making a difference, not only within the company but also around the industry.
In your own words, why is it important that Gray be built on safety?
Joe Schmiade, Safety Manager – “It is crucial that safety be the first consideration when carrying out our day-to-day functions across Gray. The way the industry is trending makes this not only essential for us to continue to grow, but also sets us apart from the competition and will give those executing the work a comfort level they might not have had on previous jobs.”
Jonathan Malakoff, Subject Matter Expert, Liquid Systems; Safety Manager, Spec Engineering, A Gray Company – “It is important for Gray to be based on safety because there are lives at risk directly involved in our work. We encourage ‘Safety in Action’ with our engineers designing equipment systems that are safe to manufacture in our shop, safe to install in the field, and safe for our customers to operate and maintain.”
Robert Campbell, Site Safety Technician – “In the two and a half years I have been with Gray, the company has grown in team members, projects awarded, and efficiency. Policies and procedures that have been implemented within the safety department allow projects to be completed safer and more efficiently. This creates trust with customers and solidifies the Gray name as a leader in the industry.”
Kevin Wurschmidt, Site Manager – “The most important reason for Gray to be built on safety is to protect the hardworking individuals who are performing the work on all our jobsites every day. They are consistently surrounded by hazardous situations and make many decisions every day, so it is vitally important for us to continue to build the company on safety to keep them safe.”
Abril Ramirez, Site Safety Technician – “I’ve only been with Gray for a couple of months but have already seen how the company genuinely cares for its team members and treats them with respect. On the jobsite, Gray is always looking out for our wellbeing.”
How is Gray building a stronger and safer industry?
Jackson McKnight, Site Safety Technician – “Gray is building a stronger and safer industry by showing those in our industry that being a safety-driven company leads to overall company success. As a company that takes a proactive approach to safety, we are constantly self-evaluating and accessing how to improve our safety program. Subsequently, you see these safety principles being adopted by our customers and subcontractors.”
Amanda Flowers, Manager, Operations Integration, Gray Solutions, A Gray Company – “In short, a proactive approach. All Gray companies are continuously working to educate and train their team members in core safety strategies and integrating safety recognition via stand-downs, daily meetings, and personal engagement of individuals working on job sites. Gray has created a culture of awareness and responsibility by empowering everyone, no matter their job function, to stop any process that is perceived as being unsafe.”
Brandon Ashley, Senior Site Manager – “Through our safety culture, we are building a strong subcontractor base that values safety. Our safety culture begins to impact their culture and actually grows their safety programs above and beyond industry standards.”
How has Gray’s commitment to safety changed the way you see safety in your personal life?
McKnight – “When you are ingratiated into Gray’s safety culture, you find yourself implementing these values and practices in your everyday life. Whether it is a small household task or a large project, I am still subconsciously going through the same processes as if I were still at work.”
Wurschmidt – “After experiencing Gray’s commitment to safety the last seven years, it has become ingrained into my decisions that I make at home. It’s almost second nature to make better decisions, whether it’s just wearing your seatbelt in a vehicle to making sure you are wearing the proper PPE if you’re working at your home.”
Who or what inspires you to put safety first every day?
Schmiade – “Ultimately, it is the families of those that are ‘turning the wrench and swinging the hammer’ that inspire me to put safety first every day.”
Malakoff – “One memory that inspires me to put safety first every day is a sign that I saw posted at the jobsite for one of our customers. Interestingly, it was in the men’s room on the mirror, the sign stated, ‘You are now looking at the person most responsible for your safety.’ How true!”
Campbell – “The fact that the safety managers have my back when it comes to safety on a site inspires me and shows the overall company commitment to the safety motto. Many companies talk the talk but when it comes down to it, production comes first. I’m proud to work for a company that values safety and its employees’ well-being over production.”
If you could describe Gray in one word or phrase, what would it be?
McKnight – “Genuine, from the top-down.”
Schmiade – “An agent of change.”
Flowers – “A progressive collection of talent.”
Campbell – “Committed.”
Ashley – “Dedicated. Dedicated to the safety and quality of life for everyone.”
Ramirez – “Familia.”
Wurschmidt – “Family.”