Beyond compliance; Lean Construction engages the front lines to drive safety excellence
KA has a strong safety heritage because we’re fully committed to a pursuit of safety excellence. But as with any pursuit of excellence, it’s a journey, not a destination. We’ll never be safe enough. We’ll never arrive, we’ll never relent, we’ll never be able to check that box.
Because of our proven track record for safety excellence, we get to work for clients who also relentlessly pursue safety excellence. Park Nicollet, HealthPartners and TRIA for example. Having our client’s support and encouragement for raising the safety bar makes it that much easier.
One of the many strategies the KA TRIA team (A Chase Level 3 Project) used to make their project as safe as possible was a Lean Construction tool known as the Last Planner® System L.P.S. It’s a system that engages the people on the front lines (known as the last planners) to plan their own work. It empowers them to innovate and employ their own creative solutions to complex and potentially dangerous problems.
One of the most important conversations that goes on within this planning system is called the “plus/delta”, which brings continuous improvement to the planning system. In the plus/delta portion of the meeting KA simply asks the team, “what provided value? (a plus), and what could we do better? (a delta)”
Our project teams work hard to be respectful of the limited time that our last planners have. Our meeting agenda puts time limits on each topic to be sure we cover everything. That is until Peder Parizak came along. He’s a general plumbing foreman with Harris Mechanical who was working on the project as a last planner. One day he pointed out that having a time limit on a safety discussion didn’t make any sense to him.
Kyle Woody, KA’s Lean Champion, heard the story and interviewed Peder Parizak to learn more about him and what inspired him to make such an excellent observation;
Kyle: Have you ever been involved in a construction accident?
Peder: Yep, one time I slipped and fell on a piece of rebar. It was a dirty disorganized jobsite, someone accidently kicked that rebar under my foot, I was carrying a 2” piece of cast iron pipe. I tore my rotator cuff in my shoulder when I hit the ground. I also had a crew member that fell off of a ladder, she was lucky she only broke her foot.
Kyle: Do you have a family? What was it like telling them about the accident you had?
Peder: Yeah, I’ve got a wife and son. My wife was not a happy camper, she was just really concerned.
Kyle: Have these experiences changed how you approach your work?
Peder: I’m way more aware of what’s going on around me and my crew all the time.
Kyle: How did you end up in the construction industry? How long have you been at it?
Peder: My family brought me into it. Before construction I worked for 8 years at Montgomery Ward. They went out of business and I got let go. My uncle said I should join him in the plumbing business so I did, that was back in 2000. I’ve never looked back…
Kyle: Why have you stuck with it for so long? What do you love about it?
Peder: The challenges. The problem solving. Working with my hands.
Kyle: What did a day in your life on the Tria jobsite look like?
Peder: Usually on site by 6:00 AM, getting the paperwork ready for my crew so they can get started at 7:00 AM. From 7:00 – 8:00 there are usually issues my crew needs my help with. And there’s usually a jobsite meeting of some kind during those morning hours too. After that it’s ordering materials, laying things out, and verifying prints. It’s been a fast-paced job and we’ve just all worked really hard to do our jobs well and meet the milestones of the project safely.
Kyle: With all those demands on your time, what inspired you to ask our team to take the time limit off the safety discussion?
Peder: I think in the beginning of the job when there were just a few contractors the time limit was ok. But as additional trades came on board, we needed more time to get through it all. We’d end up bringing up safety items up later on in the agenda and then it dawned on me that there simply shouldn’t be a time limit when you’re discussing safety.
Kyle: After taking the time limit off the safety moment, what happened?
Peder: We had more and better safety discussions. Each trade gets an opportunity to share their concerns and hear the concerns of others. The safety culture is excellent, when a problem is encountered instant action is taken and it’s one of the cleanest jobsites I’ve ever worked on.View Comments