Meet our #1 Fall Protection Specialist Paul Cracknell

Hi there! I wanted to write my first blog post to introduce myself to the Fall Protection and Home Builder community.

 

As is the way with a good deal of Safety Professionals, I came into the safety industry by a matter of accident (pardon the pun…) and not by design.  I was working for Centex Homes as a superintendent of home construction and loving my job.  I was attending university at the time in the evenings to gain my Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Finance.  Then in the spring of 2007, Centex Homes offered me the position of Division Safety Manager.  This was right before the down turn in the home building industry.

Home Builder Safety Manager

Well“I grabbed the bull by the horns” and worked very hard to increase the safety levels of our sub-contractors.  I had many successes and many failures.  I learned a lot about developing a safety culture, during this time.  The number one lesson I learned during my tenure as Division Safety Manager was that change is difficult for everyone, management and employees alike.  But it is attainable through training, empathy and consistency.  I came to recognize a majority of the reasons that people acted unsafe was because “that is way it has always been done” and a failure to recognize the increase in technology when it comes to safety.  Whether talking about new safety features on tools that are disabled to not considering the new Residential Fall Protection technology that has been developed in recent years.  Although Centex Homes was pioneering safety culture into their business, the home building industry in general is slow to change in regards to increased safety on their jobsites (but that is another topic for discussion at a later date….).

Framing Sub-Contractor

Moving forward a couple years, my next position in the safety industry was as Director of Safety for one of the largest wood framing companies in the Southwest United States.  This role placed me on the other side of the coin representing the sub-contractor instead of the general contractor.  A different dynamic of challenges arose, expanding my knowledge within the safety industry.  I not only had to just know what the best practices are, I had to implement them to the team.  The people I was looking to protect were our own and not a sub-contractor of ours.  Every accident (or loss) had a direct effect on our balance sheet and every cost of increased safety came out our pockets.  There was a fine line we had walk and only a perfect balance of the two would result in success.  Thankfully I was working for a very employee centric and corporately responsible company.  They recognized that employee safety was a very important part of their business model.  I had support from the very top of the organization and all the way down.  This is not say that it was easy, every change was debated and reviewed and the work force resisted change. Which I have to say was invigorating and required my knowledge of particular subject matter to be at the highest level to pass scrutiny of all levels.  One such subject was Residential Fall Protection, due to OSHA rescinding of the compliance directive (STD 03-00-001) that allowed all residential construction projects to ultimately not have to comply with the 6ft rule if certain criteria was met.

I was tasked with coming up with a solution that would ensure our compliance with OSHA regulations, allow our employees to work in a similar fashion, stay on schedule and remain on budget.  The subject of Residential Fall Protection motivated me to protect our workers and company from unnecessary losses due to these type of accidents.  Ultimately the company decided on a high level Fall Protection System, not only due to their commitment to their employee’s safety but also because fall accidents were some of the most costly in our industry.  From direct costs such asworker compensation expenses and OSHA violation penalties to the indirect costs of increased insurance premiums, job slow/shut down costs and the sinking of the company’s reputation resulting in less work or even worse a loss of work.  These accidents can be a business killer!

Fall Protection Specialist

The Fall Protection system that the framing company I worked for decided on was the Safety Pole System, a fall protection system designed for employees constructing wood frame buildings.  Through my experience of implementing, training and long term use of this residential fall protection system, I was offered a great opportunity to assist in expanding distribution of the Safety Pole System nationwide.  I feel one of the main attributes that I have that makes me a good candidate for this position is that I have been the end user of this product.  I have done the research from a completely unbiasedposition and decided that the Safety Pole System was the game changer to propel a company to more profitability.  I have seen results of what good training, consistent enforcement and a proper system in place can produce.  It has saved lives, it has reduced injuries, it has limited unnecessary costs, increased company professionalism, resulting in more quality business and ultimately generating greater profitability for the company.  So, I am currently the Fall Protection Specialist at Safety Pole, Inc., working on assisting businesses with their fall protection needs.  If I can be of any help in regards to wood frame construction safety please do not hesitate to give me a call!

Paul Cracknell

Safety Pole, Inc.

pcracknell@safetypole.com