Blob Posted by: Keith Bleile, Nooter Construction Company

Nooter Construction’s safety culture includes the implementation of a new “PACT” program (Positive, Awareness, Coaching, and Teamwork) beginning with a total commitment to safety as the priority. Nooter’s management has developed a safety culture to “blame the system and not the person”, which promotes open dialogue to address safety improvements. Nooter’s PACT program is a revitalization; PACT was born in 1996 as a complete overhaul of Nooter’s safety culture. This new direction led Nooter toward increased employee involvement. Safety would no longer just be the function of the “safety police”; Nooter wanted every employee to have safety in his or her job description.

As in all industries and companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has called for a complete change in business operations: meetings held via video conference, travel restrictions, screening processes to enter sites or facilities, only to name a few. The pandemic makes construction management no easier either; on top of normal risk analysis, now all tasks must be looked at through the eyes of an epidemiologist. Simple tasks are critically analyzed and executed to reduce risk of exposure, keeping the workplace safe.  Further, management’s internal auditing of safety processes became more difficult with travel restrictions, halting in person meetings, and simply choosing not to risk spreading the virus. The PACT program assisted in ensuring a safety culture was maintained through unprecedented times.

The updated version of PACT is simply to apply the process of emphasizing each craft’s responsibility of safety in a way that can promote a strong safety culture in such uncertain times. PACT calls for a regular rotating schedule of audits, conducted by Project Managers, Superintendents, Field Safety Managers, Foremen, and everyone in between. In addition to audits, each craft has a responsibility of identifying near misses and good catches on a regular basis.  These standards of expectations make managing the safety of multiple jobs easier to manage.

Working together provides a method to address issues, communicate concerns, discover areas for improvement, and establish a unity of safety. Instead of a singular “safety is your responsibility” approach, the PACT program propels the idea of “OUR safety is OUR responsibility.”