SOURCE: T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc.

T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc.

August 26, 2009 09:00 ET

T.B. Penick Safety Director Peter Lupo Advocates for Accountability

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - August 26, 2009) - Peter Lupo, Director of Safety at T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc., has ignited a nationwide debate about accountability for safety at construction jobsites.

In April, Lupo, an experienced and highly respected safety professional, published an article in Engineering News Record (ENR) magazine titled "We Need Personal Safety Records" (ENR 04/06/09), which generated a torrent of reader response. His latest article, "Workplace Safety is Everyone's Business," is featured on the cover of this week's ENR and is sure to create another stir. See (ENR 08/17/09) http://enr.construction.com/magazine/default.asp

Lupo's opinions have launched a heated debate with both opponents and supporters weighing in on the subject. "I'm pleased that the suggestion has opened up discussion and focused attention on the issue of accountability for workplace safety," Lupo said. "Regardless what side of the issue you are on, the debate raises important points and keeps the need for ongoing improvement in jobsite safety in the spotlight."

Lupo contends that the current system of regulating workplace safety (focusing on GCs and materials/equipment) is good, but incomplete because a critical component is missing from the safety framework: worker accountability. "I am not suggesting that employers relinquish their accountability for the safety, health and well-being of their workers. Contractors must continue to be responsible for safety training, ensuring safe and healthy workplaces, and fostering a culture of safety throughout their organizations and at their worksites. This proposal to create a system of personal safety records for tradespeople would add that missing piece and triangulate responsibility for workplace safety."

"Personal safety records would provide employers with reliable data about a worker's safety background and create a strong incentive for workers to internalize the responsibility for safety," according to Lupo.

In the article, he cites benefits for all parties:

--  Workers with superior safety records would be in great demand,
    commanding for the best jobs and the highest salaries.
--  Contractors could hire for safety and proactively control their WCP
    premium rates.
--  Jobsites would be safer and more profitable, a boon for everyone.
--  And the industry overall would be taking important steps to manage
    construction risk and become safer.
    

Lupo believes that ultimately workers stand to benefit most from an effective system of personal safety records because their lives are on the line every day.

"The key is to engage workers so they become proactive," Lupo says. "Construction tradespeople have ample access to resources, equipment and information necessary to enable them to take an active role in worksite safety. This is a bottom-up initiative that gives workers leverage to make employers and jobsites safer."

Lupo notes that many important and challenging issues have been raised in response to the proposal to establish a system of personal safety accountability in the construction industry and that the devil is always in the details.

"Yet I remain convinced that in our industry, safety is everyone's business and everyone's responsibility. Safety consciousness is possibly the most vital professional qualification for any construction-related tradesperson. With so many lives at stake, a worker's professional reputation seems like reasonable collateral to ensure that accountability for safety includes those whose very lives are on the line."

About T.B. Penick & Sons

For more than a century, T.B. Penick has provided award-winning construction, structural concrete, design-build and general contracting services in the commercial and public building sector. T.B. Penick has received numerous accolades, including a first place award in the National Construction Safety Excellence competition as well as recognition for Innovation in Concrete, Cornerstone Excellence, Outstanding Civil Engineering and the Architectural Concrete Project of the Year. For more information, visit www.tbpenick.com.

Peter Lupo is Director of Safety at T.B. Penick. He has more than ten years' experience as a safety professional and is a former chair of the AGCSD Safety Committee. He has helped TBP earn numerous safety awards including two NAVFAC S.T.A.R certifications and the prestigious National AGC Safety Award.

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