UVA Facilities Management would like to celebrate Geri Findley as the July 2022 Facilities Management Safety Champion for her willingness to act to correct a potentially unsafe situation. Geri is a housekeeping supervisor in the Newcomb Custodial Zone where she and her staff work to keep the buildings in their care clean and accessible for the UVA community. A true steward of her work zone, Geri took notice of a contractor worksite that may have been using unsafe practices. Despite this being outside of her typical responsibilities, Geri knew she had to keep everyone safe at work. She notified the UVA Facilities Management Occupational Health and Safety team who were able to visit the area of concern and collaborate with the workers on site to make sure that a safe work plan was followed. This type of proactive attention to the safety of ourselves, our coworkers, and other work partners is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Geri, for looking out for everyone at UVA!
Jason Floyd, David Gowen, Adam Proffitt, Steve Shifflett
UVA Facilities Management would like to recognize a team of employees from UVA Chiller Plants as Safety Champions for June 2022: David Gowen, HVAC Mechanic; Adam Proffitt, HVAC Mechanic Senior; Blake Shifflett, HVAC Apprentice; and Jason Floyd, HVAC Mechanic. The original nomination was submitted by Jason Floyd for his teammates. The FM Occupational Health and Safety Team have made the decision to include Jason as a champion for contributing to the culture of safety and recognizing his colleagues for a job well done safely. This team was nominated for their safe work during a procedure to lower the ends off Chiller 1 located at UVA's Aquatics and Fitness Center. Jason says:
“I witnessed a perfect execution of ladder safety. The work performed required the safe use of several different types and heights of ladders. Not once did this group of men fail to use the team method of holding the ladder whenever a co-worker was aloft as well as ensuring that ladder footing was proper and secure.”
Ladder safety is an often undervalued part of safety. However, falls are the number one cause of construction worker fatalities, accounting for one-third of all on-the-job deaths in the industry. Falls are preventable. Kudos to Jason and his team for selecting the right ladders for the job, knowing ladder inspection techniques, setting up ladders correctly, working as a team, and using caution and common sense to get the job done safely!
UVA FM Ladder Safety Resources:
- Download the UVA FM Stairways and Ladders Program
- Download the UVA FM Ladder Inspection Form
- Online Ladder Inspection Form
UVA FM would like to recognize Cameron Ratliff, E&U's Associate Director for Utility Systems Distribution, as the May 2022 Safety Champion. Cameron was chosen by the Occupational Health and Safety team because he has been a proactive leader in identifying training needs for his team and developing content for several FM-wide training topics including Rigging & Hoisting, NCCCO (crane operation), and confined space. He maintains open lines of communication with the OHS team to be sure the health and safety needs of his team are met. Thank you, Cameron, for being a model in safety planning and support!
Jonathan Racey, a UVA Facilities Management landscape & grounds worker, was nominated by an FM colleague and selected by the Occupational Health and Safety Team as the April 2022 Safety Champion for his efforts to have UVA FM's dump trucks outfitted with backup cameras. The purpose of these backup cameras is to decrease the driver blind spots that occur around large vehicles and to help drivers to make safer decisions. These backup cameras additionally serve many uses year-round to the Landscape team operating dump trucks: During snow removal, FM dump truck beds are outfitted salt and sand spreaders, which drivers cannot see using rearview mirrors. Backup cameras allow the driver to monitor the spread of salt and sand, as well as more clearly see any hazards or pedestrians that may be behind the truck. Also, every autumn, the FM Landscape team is responsible for leaf collection and removal across Grounds. With a backup camera on the leaf collection truck, drivers can see the employee operating the leaf vacuum, improving jobsite awareness and communication. Jonathan noticed this need for FM dump truck operators and spoke up with a solution, possibly preventing an incident. Safety is every employee's job, and with the support of leadership, FM continues to work towards its goal of being the safest workplace in higher education.
Hasan Al Mulhem
Facilities Management would like to recognize Hasan Al Mulhem as the March 2022 Safety Champion for his attentiveness and actions after the last January snowstorm. Hasan, a senior trades assistant in FM Housing Maintenance, was on the way back to the maintenance shop at Lambeth housing when he noticed an underground electrical service enclosure had been damaged near the road. The damage had created a hole in the top of the normally weather-sealed enclosure, creating a trip/fall hazard, as well as allowing rain and melting snow to encroach on fragile equipment and connections within the enclosure. Assessing the hazard present, Hasan immediately placed a caution cone near the opening and reported it to his manager for further correction. Hasan's attention to detail and quick thinking prevented a possible accident and absolutely prevented further water intrusion into an electrical enclosure. FM would like to extend our thanks to Hasan for taking action and knowing safety means looking out for and correcting potential hazards in our surroundings.
Snow removal teams
UVA Facilities Management employees came together after snowstorms on January 3, January 6, and January 16 to get UVA back up and running. This included some employees staying locally instead of returning home, and other employees continuing to do their job at home. Their work during this time helped keep UVA safe and accessible.
FM employees use their expertise and knowledge of Grounds to identify priority areas for snow or debris removal and create plans for repair or maintenance. In addition to maintaining operations at UVA, many staff members were also dealing with power outages at their homes.
FM employees who were a part of the snow response have received heartfelt thank yous from Rollie Zumbrunn, director of FM operations (UVA Today article), Don Sundren, UVA FM AVP/CFO, as well as UVA President Jim Ryan (Twitter).
See photos and the “By the Numbers”: Snow support article on Exposure
Vince Marshall was nominated by his leadership and selected by the Facilities Management Occupational Health and Safety team as the January 2022 FM Safety Champion. In late 2021, Vince approached his supervisor with the idea of adding reflective safety tape to the sides of our dump trucks, trailers, salt spreaders, and even some of the larger pickup trucks to make them more visible at night, in winter weather conditions, and in all low-light conditions. With the support of his supervisors and the FM Fleet office, Vince took the initiative to source, purchase, and install reflective safety tape on large vehicles, trailers, and salt spreaders in FM Landscape, enhancing safety for equipment operators as well as those around them. Vince's resourcefulness and the support of his supervisors made this safety improvement possible.
UVA Facilities Management would like to recognize YOU — our employees — as our December Safety Champion. For nearly the last two years, FM employees have consistently performed and completed their ongoing duties in a rapidly changing environment as COVID-19 swept across the globe. In addition to this, employees rallied and cooperated within and outside of the department to create UVA-specific health and safety procedures and practices by sharing their expertise and institutional knowledge, which helped stop the spread of viral particles and kept the community safe. Thank you for your ongoing teamwork, cooperation, innovation, and support of our community.
Hans McInturff and Matt Pannell
Hans McInturff and Matt Pannell are the UVA FM Safety Champions for November 2021. Each are Construction Project Managers in FM's Construction and Renovation Services group that were tasked with the Heat Plant Office Renovation and HVAC upgrade project. In order to access the HVAC equipment, FM employees would have needed to enter a roof to switch out the equipment. The area needed enough support for the weight of the workers. Matt and Hans worked with the trade teams and FM's Occupational Health and Safety team to come up with safe access options: They called in a structural engineer and scaffold specialist to shore up the roof from below and erect a complex, safe scaffold system to help FM employees safely complete their work. OHS would like to recognize their willingness and openness to be flexible on the job to prioritize safety and to defer to other subject matter experts when needed.
UVA Facilities Management would like to recognize Mark Conner as the October 2021 Safety Champion. In addition to his commitment to safety for his own group, he recently went above and beyond to help a contractor perform their work in the safest way possible. Mark's extra effort to check that the vendor had a safe plan of work protected the vendor, Mark's team, and potentially the University. Mark's leadership and Facilities Management took note of this extra effort and will use it as an opportunity to reach out to other areas at UVA and within FM to educate and inform parties the correct work procedure. Mark's willingness to work with OHS to find a viable solution so that the vendor can complete their work in a safe manner is an example for all of UVA.
Chris Harvey, Trades Utility Senior Worker with Housing Maintenance, has been selected as the September 2021 Safety Champion for UVA Facilities Management. Chris was nominated by his colleague for his thoughtful actions during a recent service call: Chris was called to Metcalf dorm to correct a motion sensor not working on a light. He checked the breaker to ensure nothing had been tripped or turned off. As he cycled the power to the breaker, he noticed a faint hissing sound, which concerned him. He called a coworker for an opinion and another set of ears. Together, they de-energized the panel and noticed that the bolt attaching the breaker to the busbar had been cross-threaded and stripped. Because of the poor installation, the breaker was not making a proper fit with the busbar and was causing a small arc which created the hissing noise they heard. Chris fixed the situation with a fresh bolt and correct fitting. Had Chris walked away from this issue without investigating it further, the outcome may have been much worse, resulting in fire or electrocution.
Barry Wood, a supervisor in Facilities Management Housing Maintenance, was nominated and selected as the August 2021 Safety Champion for his initiative to help keep electrical distribution panels accessible. It started with a panel one of the maintenance zones kept finding blocked. When Barry was looped in to help solve the problem, he enlisted the FM Sign Shop to create special signs to place on the floor in front of the panel to alert building occupants of its presence. West Grounds Zone is already seeing the benefits, reporting improvements. Barry's innovation can be easily instituted across Grounds and can alleviate hazards associated with blocked panels, including fire hazard and fire marshal citations, as well as improving access and response for maintenance and emergencies. If you are aware of areas on Grounds that need these stickers, create a work order for the Sign Shop!
Tony Love was nominated for the July FM Safety Champion by his Health System Physical Plant Zone 2 colleagues for his safety mindedness at work. Tony, a Trades Utility Senior Worker, is lauded by his colleagues as being “a huge asset to Zone 2 with his work ethic and safety mindset.” He ensures that his colleagues and other teams on the job have access to up-to-date, well-stocked first aid kits, PPE, and other needed safety equipment. It's seemingly small actions and a disciplined routine that can make a world of difference in safety on the job site. The FM OHS team applauds Tony for keeping the workplace safe and healthy!
Jerry Craig & Jay Ortengren
Jerry Craig and Jay Ortengen are managing a large HVAC renovation project by UVA FM's Construction and Renovation Services at the Lambeth Field Apartments. Before construction started, both Jerry and Jay identified several safety concerns to be addressed such as roof-top fall protection, electrical hazards, and the need for readily available first aid kits and fire extinguishers. They contacted and collaborated with Facilities Management Occupational Health and Safety while the project was still in the pre-construction phase to resolve these issues to insure a safe work site for all employees. This job involves UVA FM employees as well as multiple contractors. Jerry and Jay also had to plan and prepare for this project while many students were still in the dorms and COVID-19 restrictions were still in place. Jerry and Jay have made safety a top priority and an integral part of this project and did not allow hazards to go unaddressed due to financial or scheduling constraints. Their foresight and preparation should be a model for all FM projects.
Glenn Tolbert, James Pace, Travis Eubanks and Matt Proffitt
UVA Facilities Management Historic Masonry team members Glenn Tolbert, James Pace, Travis Eubanks and Matt Proffitt are FM's May 2021 Safety Champions for their work piloting a new Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) app. The work of the pilot group, in addition to implementing a new process, was to provide feedback on the app and its usability to the FM Occupational Health and Safety team. Once the app has been vetted and tweaked to appropriately serve the many teams at UVA FM, OHS hopes to deploy it across the organization. A JHA app on UVA mobile phones will mean that more FM employees can easily access one of the tools needed to start work safely and eliminate hazards and prevent jobsite incidents. Thank you to this masonry team for their usage and review of this new app!
Ronnie Herring and Kenny Graham
University of Virginia Facilities Management would like to recognize McCormick Zone Carpenter Lead Kenny Graham and Recycling Worker Ronnie Herring as March 2021 Safety Champions for their quick action last month: Their clear thinking and willingness to respond helped a fellow employee who had fallen on icy steps. Ronnie and Kenny jumped into action, performing first aid, and calling in a Medevac to help assess the injury and transport to the emergency room. Their quick response helped the employee receive the care needed in a timely manner. Thank you to Kenny and Ronnie for working as a unit to support an employee who was hurt on the job and for keeping UVA safe for everyone.
Ryan McCarthy, second year plumbing apprentice at UVA Facilities Management, has been selected as the February 2021 Safety Champion. All UVA FM apprentices attend two weeks of intensive occupational health and safety training as part of their onboarding in order to best prepare them to enter the skilled trades workforce. Not only did Ryan excel at this initial training during her onboarding, she has embraced all aspects of workplace safety and wellbeing: She serves at the apprentice representative on the UVA FM Inclusive Excellence team, which engages employees to improve the culture at FM through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to this, she assists OHS along with other FM tradeswomen in finding better fitting personal protective equipment (PPE). We appreciate Ryan's enthusiasm and perspective as she works with the Occupational Programs team to create a safer, more inclusive culture at UVA FM.
UVA Facilities Management is celebrating the 2020 Safety Committee Chairs with the January Safety is Ours to Shape recognition. Marcus Klaton, Kristina Williams, Victor Martin, Jim Murphy, Johnny Gooch, Forrest Johnson, Zach Carter, Bernard Curry and Benji Boatwright have all done an amazing job engaging their respective Safety Committees this year. Throughout 2020 they made safety a top priority by submitting Safety Recommendations, hosting FM All-Staff Toolbox Talks, creating newsletters, increasing awareness, and engaging their peers to recognize safety hazards and Near Miss reporting. Their dedication to safety, safety mindedness, proactive approaches, and positive attitudes have truly made a difference in one the most trying years we have experienced. Thank you for being role models and leaders when it comes to everyone's safety!