Safety and Effective Communication Matters

The company’s safety policy states,

“Colonna’s Shipyard and Steel America strive to maintain a safe and healthful working environment. The prevention of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for all employees, customers, subcontractors, and visitors is of the utmost importance. Management is fully committed to support all safety efforts in support of this mission. Every individual is a part of the Safety Team. The management team believes safety and continuous improvement is as important as production and that a safe working environment ultimately enhances production efforts.”

Chris Hartwig, Fabrication Shop Program Manager, says,

“Steel America embraces the principle that Safety and Effective Communication is a part of every work day.  Over the past several years we have embraced these values much more as we realize how critical they are to the success of our industries and customers.  We are currently on track to reduce our safety ratings by approximately fifty percent!  The Management Team and Shop Leadership have developed several programs that we believe are the largest contributors to the success of this reduction. The biggest help is that everyone has embraces the face that we need to change our safety culture. The team lives by the phrase, ‘Nothing we do is so important that it cannot be done safely.’ We have figured out that in order to be more productive, ensure quality goals are achieved, and to have continued success supporting our markets, safety and communication are extremely important.”

Three of the major safety programs at Steel America are daily JSA (Job Safety Analysis) meetings, our Safety OFI (Opportunity For Improvement) program, and our Safety Reward program. The daily JSA meetings are open to all employees for their honest input and to review the tasks at hand, preventive action to take against weather conditions and/or machine/tool hazards, and corrective action before job assignments before each shift. The OFI program allows shop employees to provide ideas for Safety improvement to top level management for their review and action. The reward programs range from individual employee recognition (either tangible prizes (hats, shirts, etc.) or additional paid time off hours) to full shop luncheons provided by the management team.

With the summer heat rolling in, another big push in the shop is the importance of recognizing signs of heat stroke/heat exhaustion and ways to prevent such illnesses from occurring. 

Some symptoms of heat stroke/heat exhaustion include:

  • Headache, dizziness, fainting
  • Weakness and wet skin
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Irritability and/or confusion
  • Red, dry skin with no visible sweat (primarily heat exhaustion)

Ways to lessen your risk of heat stroke/heat exhaustion

  • Drink small amounts of cool water frequently
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine and lots of sugar (sports drinks)
  • Wear light-colored, looser fitting (without compromising work safety) cotton clothing

It is also important to watch out for your co-workers. If you see a co-worker exhibiting signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, report it immediately to a supervisor! Heat stroke/heat exhaustion has the potential to be deadly; acting fast can save lives!


Machine Shop Production Manager, Chris Chapman, congratulates the machine shop employees on being 100+ accident free!