On a construction worksite, where individual worker’s decisions can impact the safety of the entire team, promoting a culture of safety is an ongoing job. Workers are trained, supplied protective gear, observed by supervisors, and surrounded by reminder signage.
As an extra measure, Dallas ISD encourages crews on each worksite to sign a “Workers’ Safety Pledge” that asks them to commit themselves to working safely to protect the onsite construction team, district students and staff. Elizabeth Ponce, who heads the Picasso Construction team performing asbestos abatement for one of the district’s renovation projects, said the safety pledge underscores some of the industry’s conventional safety protocols.
“The most important thing is that they make sure that they have their respirators on properly because when they go into containment, they can be exposed to asbestos, that they take care of themselves, so they’re not breathing contaminants,” she said. “And when they are coming out of the area that they a take a proper shower to remove all and any asbestos that’s potentially there to make sure that when they go home, they don’t take any asbestos with them to their homes and to their families.”
Ponce said signing the safety pledge makes worker safety a personal matter. “Based on what I see and how they signed it and what they said when they signed it, they dedicated it to their families, to their kids, because everybody wants to go home to their families,” she said. “All of them signed their kids’ names and so I believe that’s what it means to them, that ‘I’m going to take care of myself so I can go home to my family.’”