Just in Time! Meet our Safety Techs

“The GC’s were impressed with our response,” said Charles Juarez, Jr., one of our company’s two new Safety Techs.

“When COVID-19 first hit we went really heavy on jobsite inspections: posting our Safe Jobsite Guidelines; conducting Toolbox Talks; and distributing masks, gloves, goggles, hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays to our field teams. Basically, supporting our Foremen however we could,” he said.

“And in the beginning, Xcel was the only trade doing it, and on some jobsites the only contractor doing it,” he said. “In fact some of the GCs asked for me copies of our postings for their jobsites while their programs came around,” he said. “Xcel obviously hit this thing head on.” 

Juraez and counterpart Manuel Madrid, Jr. transitioned from our Field Construction Team to the role of “Safety Technician” in January.

The first two Safety Technicians ever at Xcel Mechancial.

The initial plan Prisk laid out called for both men to complete OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 training to begin with. They would then shadow Prisk during his new-hire safety training and employee re-currency training. Once up-to-speed, they would then split evenly all of Xcel’s project sites, each assuming responsibility for half.

At a high level, their job was to keep an eye on each jobsite, help each Foreman, and to make sure all our Field Teams are supported so their jobsites are operating safely.

They made sure required signs were posted; that all tools and equipment were serviceable; that safety barriers were built and tie-off locations secure; that hand-wash stations were accessible; and that our teams had and wore PPE at all times

The two men even came up with a moniker for their Team: S.A.F.E, or Safety Affecting Field Employees.

Then the COVID-19 crisis hit.

“It was a crazy time,” Madrid said. “Charles and I going out to the jobsites showed our guys that we care, and that the company cares. They appreciated us going out. And, if our guys felt safer and it saved our Foremen some time, than it was all worth it,” he said

[Company President] Kevin Michel made a big call here. I see the other contractors now looking at this, and I’ll bet they’ll try to copy it, if they can.”

“It was kind of scary,” Juarez said. “When California first issued the Stay at Home order, it didn’t clarify the `construction as essential’ part. I have a young child at home and we ‘re expecting another baby. Manny is too,” he said.

“We knew that if we didn’t take it seriously and push hard to make sure our jobsites were compliant and that our guys were as safe as they could be, we’d run the risk of bringing something home,” he said. “But Xcel did take it seriously. We are all battling through. And now, especially with Paramount opening back up, it seems like it’s all trending in the right direction.”

Juarez said the message Prisk has been preaching from Day One hits the nail on the head. “I really feel – especially in light of the COVID-19 situation – that what we do is just as essential as installing the ductwork or hanging the pipe.”

“We are helping to keep you safe and also protecting the company. If we don’t take this seriously, nobody wins.”

Said Prisk of his latest safety initiative: “This could not have come at a better time.”