Manhattan Mechanical Services, a merit shop industrial mechanical contractor based in East Chicago, Indiana, recently celebrated its second consecutive year with zero OSHA-recordable injuries. This safety achievement spanned both 2019 and 2020, with Manhattan Mechanical already in steady stride towards the third year.

The official celebration took place on April 21 at Manhattan Mechanical’s first maintenance site: A large University Park chemical plant recognized as a global leader in materials, chemicals and solutions. This particular maintenance contract holds an impressive safety record as well — seven consecutive years injury-free. 

OSHA requires employers to record any serious work-related injuries and illnesses to help evaluate risks and hazards within the workplace, assessing safety to identify and prevent future injuries, illnesses and fatalities. OSHA defines recordable injuries as any injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid or resulting in loss of consciousness, time off work or restricted work, and/or transfer to another job. 

A “recordable” also includes any work-related, diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, punctured eardrums, as well as work-related fatalities. 

At the April 21 safety event, a team of Manhattan Mechanical craftsmen gathered for the luncheon to celebrate the company’s accomplishment. Corporate safety manager Nate Hassett addressed the group, recognizing the top-notch performance of team members after several visits to this site. 

“I really appreciate everything you guys have done to help us achieve this Zero OSHA-Recordable Record. Keep that up and keep engaged. Keep identifying all the risks and hazards every day when you come in. We want to go home the way we came in.”

With an eye on a new safety milestone of three years, Manhattan Mechanical supervisor Jake Gilette advised his team: “Be diligent and focus on effective communication. Everybody knows what they’re supposed to do and when to do it. That’s always key.”

Extensive preliminary and ongoing training 

Manhattan Mechanical’s belief that safety is paramount reflects the extensive safety training team members undergo before stepping foot on site. Onboard training; fall protection; site-specific, OSHA-10 training; in-house training (heights, lock out tag out, confined space entry, etc.) are all among the numerous mandatory training programs craftsmen must complete. These training programs ensure that team members will have a well-rounded knowledge and understanding of safety hazards and risks.

Proactive approach critical to success

Manhattan Mechanical Services prides itself on its proactive and preventive approach to identifying and avoiding potential loss. Leading indicators and their integral role in Manhattan Mechanical’s Loss Prevention Observation Card ensure the company’s trained craftsmen stay attentive on job sites, identifying potential issues before incidents can occur.  

Before starting a project, the requirement of job safety assessments, or JSAs, assures the necessary mitigation of daily risks on site. This information provides a proactive risk assessment and identifies key aspects of safety, such as safety showers, alarm systems, and more. Completing important paperwork drives a collective understanding of safety among team members and makes certain that safety remains the top priority on site.

The proactive safety team dissects this information, providing the necessary tools to avoid injury. These tools include, but are not limited to, weekly safety meetings, toolbox talks and job-site visits.

Employee rewards to promote safety

Manhattan Mechanical Services rewards its craftsmen for contributing to ongoing efforts to promote safety. From trophies to monetary bonuses, Manhattan Mechanical recognizes the commitment made by team members by offering incentives and designing programs to encourage active participation towards safety goals.

As Manhattan Mechanical’s strong reputation attracts new clients and steadily increases incoming projects, the team continues to grow. This inevitably brings the added challenge of acclimating new team members to the company’s rigorous safety culture. With thorough onboarding and in-house training, plus the collective efforts and support by existing team members, recruits are mentored closely to ensure safety knowledge and measures reflect the Manhattan Mechanical safety culture.

“We have our safety techs and managers on-site to actively work with new recruits,” explains Support Services Manager Ralph Yelder. “But we also want everyone else in the company to mentor them. It’s imperative to mentor the new employees at the outset.”

Along with an impressive safety record, Manhattan Mechanical Services has been recognized and awarded for its safety efforts by the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Three River Manufacturing Association, EXXONMOBIL and the Four Corners Construction Group.

Manhattan Mechanical’s safety culture and its ongoing performance with zero OSHA-recordable injuries embodies the company’s motto: “If it can be done, it can be done safely.” According to Yelder, leadership is confident that “a third consecutive year with zero OSHA-recordables is well within reach for our team.”