Safety and TeamworkLayne Cameron
At RLTurner, many safety innovations come from individuals at all levels of the company. Some ideas are immediately embraced and quickly incorporated. Others, however, are like puzzles and take a few moves—and a few years—to come to fruition.
We’ve built many pools and aquatic parks since the company’s founding in 1976. Every time we dig the deep end of the pool, we dutifully build safety railing. We block off a section until it’s finished, tear it down, reinstall it in another area, and repeat until the project is complete; it’s a necessary investment in safety yet takes time away from building the pool or park.
“Safety is always our priority, so we’ll always take that extra step,” says Kenny Pinkerton, safety manager. “But I just knew there was a better way.”
Researching the internet revealed portable safety rails. They were sturdy and quick to set up, but their high quality came with a respectable price tag. During construction of more pools, Kenny talked up the rail system. Finally, after a few years of badgering, Kenny convinced everyone that the investment would pay dividends in safety and efficiency.
When the shipment of safety rails arrived, the next challenge to be tackled was delivering them to job sites. Pools such as Center Grove High School—the largest competition pool in the state—require plenty of railing. Even the school’s old pool required a fair number of rails.
“We didn’t want to buy these rails and then have our craftspeople spend a day hauling them into buildings one at a time,” Pinkerton says.
Kenny brought Larry Sheets, warehouse manager, into the conversation. Larry found and purchased carts that not only could carry a load of rails, but they also could be rolled easily through narrow door openings.
The stock carts needed to be customized, though. Larry designed two modifications so the carts could efficiently carry more railing as well as their accompanying stands. The added T holds 15 rail sections—150 feet—and an added pole slides through their detachable “wheel” bases, easily holding 16 of them.
Larry recruited Eric Clanton to the project. Eric expertly welded light-weight aluminum Ts to the carts and added the removable pole slide. The new safety equipment was now ready for its inaugural field deployment.
The team effort resulted in safety equipment that can be easily transported, quickly moved off the trucks and into buildings, and efficiently installed and moved as needed. In fact, the maiden installation took only 40 minutes.
“They look very professional,” says George Conway, superintendent of our Center Grove job site. “I think it says volumes when our company is willing to invest in workers’ safety in this way.”