Recycling Supervisor Nicholas Gentry has been selected as the December 2023 UVA Facilities Management Safety Champion. Nick has been a fixture on the UVA FM Landscape & Recycling Safety Committee for more than 5 years, first as a member, then as an alternate, and now serving as the co-chair. This group meets monthly to review seasonal hazards associated with employees' work tasks, discuss needed training, and annually create a safety poster.
Nick has been instrumental in suggesting safety improvements across Grounds, including adjusting the location of a compactor switch to a safer location, painting loading dock edges to make the drop off more visible, and performing needed maintenance on existing compactors to prevent incidents. In addition, Nick makes it a point as supervisor to listen to his teammates and encourage them to speak up for safety. He is especially keen to hear the observations of recently hired employees, knowing that their fresh outlook is a golden opportunity for progress and change. Thanks to Nick for being a true leader in safety at work!
UVA Facilities Management would like to recognize Dan Shantler, UVA FM Systems Control Center Manager. Dan collaborated with the FM Occupational Health & Safety Team in 2023 to provide Active Attacker and UVA Alert trainings to each department at UVA FM. He has given several presentations at FM Safety Committee meetings and toolbox talks. He also created resource documents for Active Attacker Response for Employees, Active Attacker Response for Supervisors, as well as UVA Alerts. (Requires UVA FM login.)
With his help and knowledge sharing, FM employees are able to be aware and access these materials as needed to educate each other and their staff. Dan has conducted training with the following groups:
- Landscape and Recycling Safety Committee
- HSPP Safety Committee
- Energy and Utilities Safety Committee
- Custodial & Housekeeping leadership
- Zone Maintenance Safety Committee & Toolbox Talks
- Construction & Renovation Services Toolbox Talks
...and more! Reach out to Dan if you're interested in scheduling a training for your team.
Matt Acree, Assistant Director of Fire & Life Safety is the October 2023 UVA Facilities Management Safety Champion. He was selected by the Occupational Health & Safety team for his efforts to bring fire extinguisher training to FM employees. Matt worked with FM OHS and UVA Environmental Health and Safety to schedule monthly voluntary, hour-long fire extinguisher training for the everyday user to be held through December 2023. Knowing how to properly use a fire extinguisher can save lives and having the knowledge and confidence to use an extinguisher can help prevent the fire from spreading and causing harm to individuals and property.
FM employees generally are not required to fight fires but are trained in how to respond to fire emergencies by sounding the alarm and evacuating safely. This training was created to raise awareness on how to manage small fires at home and outside of work environments. It includes information on how to extinguish small fires and when to alert the fire department. Successful completion of the course becomes a part of the employee's safety training record, which can be requested from your supervisor at any time.
UVA Facilities Management would like to recognize Central Grounds Zone Senior Electrician Benji Boatwright as September Safety Champion. He was chosen by the FM Occupational Health and Safety Team for always keeping safety first both on and off Grounds. In addition to his overall efforts to promote a good safety culture at work, he is an active member of the Zone Maintenance Safety Committee, as well as a member of the Electrical Safety Focus Team, which advises on the UVA FM Electrical Safety Program. In addition, Benji assists with teaching FM's Electrical Safety Training as a subject matter expert.
This year, Benji collaborated with the OHS team to complete the annual inspections for his group's personal fall arrest equipment. Additionally, Benji serves as one the electrical instructors for the FM Apprenticeship Program and is always encouraging apprentices to work safely and be aware of their surroundings. Benji's contributions to FM safety are numerous and OHS is very appreciative of his support. Thank you, Benji!
Zachary Carter, a senior electrician working in Health System Physical Plant Zone 2 at UVA Facilities Management, was nominated and chosen by the FM Occupational Health & Safety team as the August 2023 Safety Champion. Zach was chosen due to his outstanding effort in promoting both safe practices and developing a strong safety culture in his team.
Zach has served as the HSPP Safety Committee chair in the past and remains an active safety committee member. He leads his zone's Toolbox Talk every month using the HSPP Safety Committee's Safety Insights presentation that contains incident data, safety tips, seasonal reminders, and more. He has scheduled these toolbox talks the day after the HSPP Safety Committee meets so that the information will still be fresh in his mind.
In addition, Zach maintains his zone's information and safety communication boards, as well as the PPE inventory and supplies. He takes the time to educate himself on safety equipment, practices, and products so that he can be a resource for his teammates.
Zach is a Safety Champion for leading his crew by example and taking the time to check in on them and making sure they know he is available if they have suggestions or concerns. FM-OHS appreciates his hard work and dedication to keeping everyone safe at work.
UVA Facilities Management Heat Plant Supervisor Tracy Saul is being recognized as the July 2023 Safety Champion. Tracy was nominated by his leadership and selected by the FM Occupational Health & Safety team for taking the initiative to make work a safe place for everyone. Tracy has been working at UVA FM since 2017 and joined the Heat Plant team in 2022. His Heat Plant leadership cited his “unending quest for answers and willingness to devote his time and energy to improving the process” as a key reason for his nomination, as well as his ability to “inspire others to look past the status quo.” Thank you, Tracy, for protecting those around you and being an example for us all!
Ron Crawford, Wade Sharpe, Ryan McCarthy
For June 2023, The Facilities Management Occupational Health & Safety team would like to recognize Ron Crawford, Wade Sharpe, and Ryan McCarthy as UVA FM Safety Champions for going above and beyond in support of their FM teammates. Ron and Wade work on the Central Grounds Zone Maintenance team as a plumber and a senior HVAC assistant, respectively. Ryan is a plumbing apprentice that usually works with the Newcomb Zone Maintenance team but was working with the Central Grounds crew for this event.
Ron, Wade, and Ryan, along with the UVA FM Facilities Management Energy & Utilities team were recently called to assess an emergency plumbing issue in the Central Grounds Zone Maintenance area. Everyone involved worked together to determine the source of the issue and found it to be within the Energy & Utilities crew's area of responsibility. Rather than abandon the task once the source was identified, Ron, Ryan, and Wade stayed to assist the E&U team in rectifying the situation, working to be sure drivers, pedestrians, and employees all had clear and safe ways to move around the jobsite. This allowed the E&U team to focus on identifying and addressing the root cause of the issue, restoring service to UVA residents in a timely manner and saving University resources in the long run. These FM employees were nominated by a member of the E&U team that they worked with for their professional, courteous, and diligent attention to the matter. Thank you for being team players and helping your colleagues maintain a safe worksite at a moment's notice.
Bob Manz has been nominated by his leadership and selected by UVA Facilities Management Occupational Health and Safety as the May 2023 Safety Champion. Bob works as a plumber lead with UVA FM Construction and Renovation Services. He has served many years on the C&RS Safety Committee and has been lauded by his leadership for his safety-mindedness. Bob shares his institutional knowledge of UVA facilities with other plumbers in his group to keep UVA operating at its very best. In a recent recognition, Bob received praise for finding the source of a gas-like smell and abating it, and for showing his teammates the proper way to disable a drain trap in case there are unknown hazards present. Bob's day-to-day actions and application of his safety knowledge help keep UVA running safely for everyone! Thank you, Bob, for being a great example of keeping everyone safe every day.
The UVA Facilities Management Occupational Health and Safety team would like to recognize FM Electrical Supervisor Spiro Jokic for his work inventorying and replacing outdated timer-based light switches in UVA Health buildings. The OHS team was alerted to the presence of these switches by a non-FM UVA employee who encountered the outdated wiring when accessing the switch. As part of the Health System Physical Plant Zone 2 Maintenance Team, Spiro spearheaded the replacement of these switches with a new programmable style control that uses up-to-date wiring techniques and interior controls. FM-OHS is grateful for his attention to detail and follow-through in making sure this task was completed in a timely manner.
Jamie Shifflett consistently plans for safety on his jobs and collaborates with FM-OHS team to keep his employees working safely. This includes planning safe work strategies for work at heights. In some cases, this means arranging for necessary fall protection and MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platform) training. Most recently, this collaboration and planning happened while performing work at the Aquatic Fitness Center, where the team installed banners. His attention to arranging for proper training, appropriate equipment for the task and documented inspections meant that his team went home safely at the end of the day. Thank you Jamie Shifflett for being a leader in creating and maintaining a safe work environment and positive safety culture for your team and UVA FM.
The UVA Facilities Management Occupational Health & Safety team has selected Steve Thompson, Senior HVAC Mechanic in UVA FM's & Utilities Chiller Plants. Steve has been a UVA Facilities Management employee since 2015 but has more recently begun to take part in the E&U Safety Committee, where he's serving as chair. At the helm of the Safety Committee, Steve has stepped up and willingly taken on a leadership role in keeping his colleagues safe: He's organized a monthly toolbox meeting with his entire team to review the hazards present on the jobsite as well as to review proper procedures for getting the job done safely. He's also shown his team how to navigate the FM-OHS website to find the resources they need for JHAs, safety programs, PPE requests, how to join a training, and more. As chairperson of his team's Safety Committee, he oversaw the creation of the Safety Committee's February 2023 Safety Poster, which focused on the dangers of extended exposure to loud noise. The FM-OHS team commends Steve's leadership of his peers, as he educates and informs them of safety requirements on the job.
See who is your Safety Committee.
Reach out to FM-OHS@virginia.edu if you're interested in becoming a Safety Committee Member.
UVA Facilities Management Senior Plumber Dave Brown has been selected as the January 2023 UVA FM Safety Champion. Dave works in the North Grounds Maintenance team and has been proactive with safety observations and corrections, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and identification of hazards. He collaborated with the FM Occupational Health and Safety team to recognize and mitigate fall hazards and confined spaces within his zone. Another project involved using a new chemical in outdoor water fountains: Dave consulted with OHS to be sure that his team was prepared with the proper PPE, correct safety data sheet, and a plan for use going forward. Dave is an asset to his team and values the health and safety of his colleagues. Noticing and reporting potential hazards is essential to workplace safety.
Contact the FM-OHS team to report safety concerns in your area: FM-OHS@virginia.edu
The Facilities Management Occupational Health and Safety Team would like to recognize Tanyia Moore as the December 2022 Safety Champion for her efforts to establish a thorough training program for her team. Tanyia is the Assistant Manager for Housing Custodial in UVA FM's Housing group. She supervises about 40 staff with a variety of backgrounds and experiences — half of her staff are non-native English speakers, with 10 different languages spoken among the group.
Tanyia has requested that the FM-OHS team work with her group to develop training on chemical use and safety awareness, including specific content that will be interactive and relevant to their unique tasks, as well as facilitate interpretation through our language and interpretation contacts.
Tanyia's request for her team and the resulting collaboration will be used as a template by FM-OHS as a model for implementing similar trainings for other departments that have a unique work environment and a diverse workforce. By providing training in the language employees are most comfortable in, their comprehension and at-work confidence will increase, which also increased feelings of inclusiveness and job satisfaction.
UVA FM Occupational Programs is working to make our training programs accessible to all FM employees. If you have a training coming up and need a language interpreter or other accommodation, including arrangements like pre-printed materials or being seated closer to the front, please email FM-OHS@virginia.edu.
UVA Facilities Management would like to recognize Jon Bruneau as the November 2022 Safety Champion. Jon was nominated by his leadership for reporting an occurrence of high gas pressure at UVA's Observatory Mountain Engineering Research Facility as he was conducting a building audit. Jon went above and beyond to investigate why such a high and possible dangerous pressure level was being used. He notified the utility service, the maintenance zone, and other stakeholders to alert them of this unsafe condition and he continued to follow the situation through the weekend. He made sure the proper pressure regulator was installed and that the gas service was in compliance. Jon is an example for us all — when you see something amiss, speak up, ask questions, and get it resolved! Thank you, Jon!
Jimmy Sayre, Housekeeping Supervisor with UVA Facilities Management Operations has been nominated and selected as the FM Safety Champion for October 2022. Jimmy was selected for many reasons, included his caring leadership manner and his attentiveness in following up on safety concerns and near misses reported by his staff members. He supervises the McCormick Custodial team, which cares for both academic buildings and student housing in a very active part of the University. This team is diverse, and Jimmy supports and celebrates their diversity: He works to make sure that accessible training is available for his employees that may not be comfortable learning in English; and he recognizes those on his team and those that work with his team for their good decisions related to workplace safety. A specific near miss Jimmy reported and helped to correct was a trip hazard present at the Wilsdorf Hall entrance near Wilsdorf Café patio between Jesser Hall and the Chemistry Building. This hazard has been reviewed with maintenance teams, the UVA Office of the Architect, FM Landscape, and FM Masons to find the safest solution. Offering robust support to custodial teams is one of the many keys to workplace safety, as these team members are located in all areas and are frequently accessing interior and exterior spaces. Jimmy has been a significant help with correcting hazards identified in his team's service areas and is an example for team leaders across Grounds.
Mark Polk, a welder in the UVA Facilities Management Energy & Utilities group, was nominated by his FM colleagues and selected by the FM-OHS team as the September 2022 Facilities Management Safety Champion for his close attention to potential hazards and active participation in workplace safety. As part of his job duties, Mark has been assigned preventive maintenance on fire hydrants around Grounds. This task involves assessing and removing old paint from the hydrants and then repainting them to include a cap color that indicates how much flow can be taken from the hydrant. Due to Mark's recent Lead in Construction Training, he knew to request sampling of the existing paint before he began the removal process. Of the three paint samples taken from different hydrants in different areas, it was determined that any hydrants installed prior to the 1990s were painted with lead-based paint. The E&U team assisting in the hydrant PM process is now equipped to mitigate this hazard before moving forward with the project. This, in addition to Mark's service on the E&U Safety Committee, is a great example of taking “safety is everyone's job” seriously. Shout out to Mark for his attention to safety details and to the E&U Team for celebrating his safety improvements!
Mark Evans and Forrest Johnson
UVA Facilities Management recognizes HVAC Installation and Repair Technician Senior Mark Evans and Senior Fire Systems Supervisor Forrest Johnson as August 2022 Safety Champions. Although Mark and Forrest work in different areas of FM, they collaborate to inspect fire dampers in the UVA main hospital building to be sure the mechanisms remain operable. During one of these recent inspections, they had to move a few ceiling tiles to access an area above the drop ceiling, where they encountered something completely unexpected: A cinderblock was positioned on top of a conduit, roughly 8 to 10 feet above the drop ceiling. Further investigation found that the block had been left behind after recent renovations to the area. If this block was never noticed and later fell, it would have crashed through the drop ceiling and may have seriously injured someone below. This unexpected find underscores the necessity of regular inspections as well as the importance of being aware of your surroundings — If Mark and Forrest focused only on fire dampers, they may have completely missed this hazard! Thanks, Forrest and Mark, for your attention to maintaining safe facilities!
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:
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.