HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Aug. 2, 2019) – More than 40 contractors representing 15 companies took part in the Electronic Security Systems Contractor Safety Summit at the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, July 24-25.
The field of electronic security systems includes access control, intrusion detection and video surveillance for facilities or perimeters of land. Huntsville Center is home to the Electronic Security Systems program and serves as the Electronic Security Systems Mandatory Center of Expertise for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Kyle Shireman, the safety manager for the Electronic Technology Division, led the training. Contractor safety officers comprised most of the group, but there was also a mix of project managers, program managers and senior-level officials from the visiting companies.
The purpose of the two-day summit was to discuss Huntsville Center’s safety expectations and the emphasis that all levels of its management place on safety, and to exchange lessons learned, according to Kellie Williams, chief of Safety and Occupational Health.
A central part of the summit was covering the ins and outs of managing a safety program in accordance with the Corps of Engineers’ Safety and Health Requirements Manual, Engineering Manual 385-1-1. The material included accident prevention plans, safety submittals, activity hazard analyses, contractor oversight and incident reporting.
Shireman said while the ESS field may be generally less hazardous than many other engineering and construction disciplines, it nevertheless has its own distinct risks.
Low-voltage components like surveillance cameras, for example, must be connected to higher-voltage power sources. Also, the installation of many ESS components requires “working at heights.” According to 385-1-1, fall protection is required at or above 6 feet for government employees and contractors who are working under the purview of USACE.
And because contractors are often retrofitting older buildings with the ESS components, the facilities themselves can harbor their own safety risks.
“What I always tell them is, ‘It’s not only your job that’s hazardous; it’s also the facilities you’re working on,’ because we’re going to old facilities,” he said. “We don’t always know the condition of the wiring when you start opening up walls, and you don’t always know the people you're working around.”
The seminar wasn’t limited to safety ESS-specific safety subject matter because, as Shireman said, every worksite has safety concerns and risks.
Concurrent to the ESS Contractor Safety Summit, the Energy Division was also conducting two adjacent workshops, one of which was focused on safety. Seizing the opportunity, Shireman teamed up with Safety Manager Will Eggleston as they delivered more detailed material for the larger, combined group.
Safety wise, Shireman said, both audiences had plenty to learn from each other.
“When Will talked about his stuff,” Shireman said, “it was hitting home with my personnel as well.
“The workshop was hugely beneficial from the feedback we’re getting,” he added.
Williams, who pointed out that the Safety Office continues to strengthen its relationship with Huntsville Center’s contractors to instill a team effort throughout their programs, also received positive feedback.
“Responses from the attendees for both ESS and ESPC were extremely complimentary to Mr. Eggleston and Mr. Shireman; citing that they both exhibited a lot of enthusiasm and a passion for safety,” she said. “It truly exemplifies the partnership that the Safety Office has with each contractor.”
To learn more about the ESS program, visit www.hnc.usace.army.mil/Media/Fact-Sheets/Fact-Sheet-Article-View/Article/482087.
Check out USACE Engineering Manual 385-1-1 at www.publications.usace.army.mil/Portals/76/Publications/EngineerManuals/EM_385-1-1.pdf.
Check out the related story, "Energy Division's expertise attracts dozens of contractors for dual workshops" at www.hnc.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/1924232