What’s important to James Duncan is simple: keeping people safe.
As the safety specialist for the Explosive Destruction Technology (EDT) project, which will destroy the mustard-agent munitions in the Blue Grass stockpile, Duncan is in the position to do just that. Let’s follow Duncan on a typical day’s activities:
Morning: Duncan starts this day by conducting a visual inspection walk around the EDT construction site. He checks to make sure all workers are wearing the proper safety gear and using tools appropriately. He also looks over the site from a housekeeping viewpoint. Are tools and supplies placed neatly and in proper locations? Is the site cleared of trip hazards?
“I like field work because you can nip things in the bud there before they can become real issues,” said Duncan. “If you remind a worker about wearing his gloves on his way into the job, that will help keep his mindset on wearing gloves throughout the day.”
Mid-day: Back at his desk, Duncan writes documentation for a core-process assessment. For this task, he chooses one specific process a month, such as rigging or environmental, and does a focused assessment of that process. This effort allows him to drill down into the specific procedures and tasks of each process, and to further enhance the safety of each action taken on the EDT site.
Afternoon: Craft workers are excavating and placing pipe for a storm sewer, so Duncan goes out to observe and serve as a visible reminder of project safety.
“If you take care of the little things, that takes care of the big things,” he noted. “Being proactive with safety keeps people from getting hurt down the line when something might get out of control.”
Evening: Duncan wraps up an Activity Hazard Analysis, known as an AHA, for an excavation activity that will take place the next morning.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers describes an AHA as “a documented process by which the steps (procedures) required to accomplish a work activity are outlined, the actual or potential hazards of each step are identified, and measures for the elimination or control of those hazards are developed.”
“The EDT construction site is a subset of the main construction site so the coordination of work efforts and managing of the interfaces that James does is key to the safety of both workforces,” said Jim Harris, quality assurance manager. “From the beginning, this project has been all about safety on many different levels and James and the entire safety department take that commitment very seriously.”
According to Duncan, safety is something he and the Blue Grass project take very seriously, whether on the main construction or EDT sites.
“How we handle safety here will help project workers be good stewards of themselves and those around them in their daily activities and on future projects,” he said. “Our goal is zero accidents on our project, but also in all aspects of our workers’ lives.”