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How Chamberlain is Stepping Up on Safety

Heavy equipment is only as dangerous as its operator.

There are many hazards on construction sites. Some are overhead—powerlines, scaffolding, newly erected structures—while others, like gas lines, might be hidden underground. Operators must be constantly aware of their surroundings. That’s why at Chamberlain Backhoe Service, we only hire experienced operators and we make sure that our employees and subcontractors abide by our strict safety standards.

How We Ensure Safety on Our Jobsites

We strive to work with highly skilled operators, selecting them based on their years and breadth of experience. When working with new operators, our managers closely observe them in the field to verify first-hand that they have the skills and ability we’re after.

CBS runs an in-house training and safety program that we require all newly hired operators to complete before they begin work. The program includes 40 hours on the machinery, as well as a thorough review of standard policies and procedures. These are just a few of the topics we cover:

  • Awareness of a machine’s center of gravity and the ways a machine can tip if not properly operated.

  • Ensuring tires are properly inflated, including learning to spot and avoid over- and underinflation.

  • Analyzing the local dirt. Understanding soil types is crucial for producing proper shoring during a dig. All of our operators go through Cal/OSHA classes that review the different types of dirt that we might encounter on jobsites so they understand the risks and have the skills needed to mitigate them.

Daily Rituals

Before our operators leave for the jobsite, usually about 4:30 or 5:30 a.m., we conduct thorough pre-trip inspections. The inspections cover the safety readiness of the equipment, from tire pressure to lights.

Once that’s done, our operators will head to the jobsite and go over the scope of the work with the site manager. The operator will thoroughly inspect the site for hazards. We train our operators to always look up: above-ground utility lines can pose a significant risk if they are not identified and flagged.

Of course, we are also focused on what’s underground. Underground utility lines must be marked by DigAlert before work can begin.

When digging, we require a spotter to be on-site to accompany the heavy equipment operator. The spotter typically is provided by the customer, but if one is unavailable CBS also has its own professional spotters that can be sent to jobsites.

Spotters rely on DigAlert markings in their work. For example, if there’s an underground gas line that’s marked, the spotter will hand dig and expose the line before our operators start digging around it. This way the operator can visually see the gas line.

We put so much emphasis on getting the right people because we want operators that are hyper-aware of their situation and alert about everything that is going on – including obstacles above and below ground.

If something does go amiss at the jobsite, We first report to the customer. But we’re glad to say this is extremely rare. All our operators are part of an injury and illness prevention program. We have monthly meetings to go over how to handle incidents.

Thanks to the diligence of our training program and the high quality of our team, we have an A+ rating on ISN, which evaluates subcontractors’ safety based on past experiences and complaints.

How We Vet New Owner-operators

At CBS, we don’t hire just anyone. We vet each and every owner/operator subcontractor that works with us. We’ll evaluate who they’ve worked with in the past and how long they’ve been in business. When they go out on a jobsite for us for the first time, we’ll evaluate their work to determine if it meets our safety standards. We’ll also follow up with customer to verify their satisfaction with the subcontractor.

This ensures that we’re always working with right people to take care of both the job and our customers.

The goal of all CBS’s safety procedures is to ensure both the customer and our operators are always protected. We make it a point to tell our operators that their lives and safety are always more valuable than the job.

If a customer tries to convince our people to do work they’re not comfortable with, they’re instructed to immediately report it to us so we can resolve the concern. Typically, our operator will take pictures and send them to the main office, and our staff will determine if and when it’s safe to proceed.

Why CBS Should Be Your Go-To Choice

Safety is more than just a buzz word with us. At Chamberlain Backhoe Service, we go the extra mile to ensure our operators have the skills required to be active contributors to the safety culture at our customers’ sites.

With our decades of experience, you can be assured that we’ll take care of all your construction heavy equipment needs. We offer both rentals and turnkey services for any size job. Give us a call at (800) 498-4227.


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