U.S. home Puts Safety in Spanish

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Houstin-based housing Giant U.S. home corp. is almost paranoid about jobsite safety, but that extreme sensitivity is a model for the entire industry.

October 01, 1999

Houston-based housing Giant U.S. Home Corp. is almost paranoid about jobsite safety, but that extreme sensitivity is a model for the entire industry.

Chairman Robert Strudler explains it this way: "First of all, it’s the right thing to do. Secondly, if we’re cited by OSHA for a minor violation in one market, it means any other citation that occurs anywhere in the country is a repeat violation. And OSHA comes down very hard on repeat offenders. So we have to be very vigilant and consistent everywhere we build."

Tom Brick, director of construction and quality says, "We have a checklist manual with narrative descriptions of every homebuilding task and photos to illustrate the most important checklist points."

Construction supers (called builders) still are required to take a ten-hour safety training course. The course is offered free to the trades. "We teach five subs for every U.S. Home builder in the class," says Brick. "Since Spanish is the first language of so many of our trade people, we now offer the course in Spanish as well as English."

"Moreover, since everyone who takes the course receives a copy of the NAHB/OSHA publication--Jobsite Safety Handbook--we just purchased 500 copies in Spanish to hand out to the subs. When they leave that class, we load them up with technical construction manuals, quality control checklists, even the Code of Federal Regulations requirements for personal protection equipment."

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