Andy Wray is a sixth-generation roofing contractor working at Wray Roofing Inc., headquartered in North Newton, Kansas. He worked in emergency services while he attended college and served as a volunteer fire captain in his home town, where he saw the results of tragedy firsthand. “It was the beginning of my passion for safety,” he said. “That’s what makes it personal for me. It still does.”
Wray will never forget the day a co-worker, Steve Storm, died after a fall at a jobsite. “Safety gets real personal when you’re in a hospital room with his mom and family,” Wray said. “That’s an experience that will shake your company like nothing else will.”
Wray became his company’s in-house expert on fall protection, and he now serves as chairman of the MRCA’s operations and safety committee. As part of its annual safety awards program, the MRCA reviews contractors’ safety programs and offers advice on how to improve them. At Best of Success, Wray shared the most common areas of weakness he’s found in companies’ safety manuals in a session titled “Safety Programs: What You Need to Know.”
A key area of weakness for contractors is a safety program that’s not an integral part of the company’s day-to-day operations, noted Wray. To develop a true safety culture, it takes leadership by upper management and a company-wide effort. “You can hire a consultant to write a 500-page safety manual, but unless it’s driven from the top, it will just collect dust,” he said.
Another common mistake Wray has seen in safety programs is a failure to address weather concerns, including heat stress. He recommends that contractors set up a work-rest regimen and ensure employees are properly hydrated, noting that OSHA offers a free heat safety app. “There is no heat stress standard,” Wary said. “It falls under the general duty clause.”
A lack of effective safety training for employees was another key area of concern Wray identified. He recommended that contractors take advantage of educational webinars available at www.mrca.org. “Training is essential,” he said. “If you’re going to develop a culture of safety, it takes time and effort.”