Teamwork is a big part of the culture at Mark IV Builders. It's everyone's responsibility to work together and participate in company operations, even when doing so extends beyond normal job descriptions.

With that thought in mind, one of our superintendents (Mark IV's title for project manager) recently took on the daunting task of safety coordinator: keeping records, reviewing jobsite safety, spearheading training programs, and leading “toolbox talks” (training talks available from OSHA and other sources). To confirm his understanding of his duties, this superintendent invited a representative from our insurance company to visit an active job-site and review our regular procedures for jobsite safety and in-house training.

Many remodelers might view this invitation as one way of unleashing the sleeping monster. The fact is, every company is legally obligated to do whatever is required to ensure that employees are working in a safe environment. Who better to have on your side than your insurance carrier?

On that visit, the insurance company representative was helpful and supportive. She sent us a letter afterward complimenting the company on our safety efforts and thanking us for providing a safe working environment for our employees.

Safety regulations can be intimidating to any remodeling company. It's easy to live in the dark and wish for the best. But the real fear should be the prospect of a preventable accident. Turn on the lights and face the facts: It's your responsibility to be proactive about safety. — Andy Hannan is the production manager of Mark IV Builders, Bethesda, Md.