June is National Safety Month and thousands of organizations nationwide, including the SFPUC, are putting the spotlight on best safety practices at work, home, and in the communities we serve. Safety is even more important when large construction projects get underway, which is the case at the SFPUC’s Southeast Treatment Plant, where the SFPUC is upgrading and modernizing the 1950s-era facility while it continues to treat 80 percent of the City’s wastewater flows.
With several Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP) projects currently underway at the treatment plant, the SFPUC hired Parsons to provide sitewide coordination and oversight among the different construction projects.
Parsons Safety Manager Ernie Schulze is just one of several people who work to ensure that the SFPUC’s SSIP contractors meet the latest health and safety requirements that protect its construction crews, staff, and the public every single day.
“I have a whole long list of things,” Schulze laughed. “I’m what’s known as the SSIP safety manager, so I help the contractors meet OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and SFPUC health and safety requirements because we’re a really risk-averse organization. We don’t want any safety risk, so whatever has to be done to minimize safety risk is what I’m doing every day.”
According to Schulze, who has a master’s degree and about 40 years of experience in occupational, health, and environmental safety, minimizing safety risk could entail anything from fall protection and gas detection, to training and permits, to daily safety walks and advisements.
Job hazard analysis as well as safe job access and egress are also major components of ensuring that the SFPUC’s worksites are safe working environments for contractors as they begin to perform major construction and demolition work at the Southeast Treatment Plant in Bayview-Hunters Point. Schulze works closely with each contractor and the SFPUC Health and Safety team.
“I focus on being a resource to the contractors by working with them to solve problems on the SSIP projects,” said Schulze.
Schulze believes that anyone interested in the safety management field has to be a good people person willing and able to work with everyone while staying up-to-date and informed with the latest OSHA safety policies and procedures.