Toolbox for Safety: An Interview with Stormwater Facilities Safety Manager

Toolbox for Safety: An Interview with Stormwater Facilities Safety Manager

June is National Safety Month, and safety is a cornerstone of our operations at Stormwater Facilities.

To kick off Safety Month, we spoke with Don Zollers, our Risk and Safety Coordinator, to learn more about his weekly “Toolbox Talks.” Mr. Zollers holds safety certifications from OSHA and HAZMAT, receiving his training from Northern Chester County Technical School and Elizabethtown College. Don joined Stormwater Facilities in 2014 and oversees all aspects of safety, from onboarding and training to toolbox talks.

“Each Monday before we send our crews out to jobs, we go over specific safety items,” Don explains. “I do this every Monday, even if the crew is on the same job site. That means I have 52 different job talks prepared each year.” We asked Don how he keeps the talks relevant and engaging.

“I tailor my talk to the specific concerns of the job at hand,” Don says. “If we’re doing excavation, we’ll review how to identify and address hazards like someone falling into a hole. In the summer, we focus on heat exhaustion, and in the winter, I cover hypothermia. These talks complement the formal safety training our employees receive and keep them aware of potential hazards.”

With recent road traffic incidents involving construction crews in Maryland, Don is committed to instilling an awareness of safe practices in active road zones.

“The biggest thing is to never turn your back on traffic,” Don emphasizes. “You can’t predict what drivers will do, so always try to maintain eye contact with them so they are aware of you and your crew.”

Keeping workers safe is Don’s number one priority. “My mantra is ‘you came to work alive, you are going home alive’ – no one is getting hurt on my watch,” says Don.

Stormwater Facilities: A Commitment to Safety

Stormwater Facilities has a longstanding philosophy of taking pride in its safety practices to ensure the well-being of all employees, subcontractors, and the public. Our Risk and Safety Coordinator ensures that all employees, including subcontractors, temporary workers, and part-time staff, closely follow our safety and accident prevention policies.

All new hires receive safety training during orientation and must become OSHA 10-hour certified before beginning work. All supervisory staff are OSHA 30-hour certified. We also conduct OSHA-approved morning toolbox talks before work, covering topics like confined space safety and equipment operation.

Stormwater Facilities’ safety values extend to the environment, especially for storm water services in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed region. We are proud to be Maryland Department of the Environment accredited.

Stormwater Facilities, an SBA WOSB certified company, offers turnkey site development; underground utility construction services (water, sewer, septic, and conduit); stormwater management; roll-off dumpster services; site development (grading, excavation, clearing, demolition); underground utility service; and 24/7 emergency response for commercial builders, industrial builders, general contractors, and home developers.