The Man Behind O'Shea's Safety Program: John Kovalan
On Mother’s Day 2020, John Kovalan saw his parents for the first time in three months. And to his dismay, he wasn’t even able to give them a hug.
The global health pandemic caused by the spread of coronavirus has certainly changed social behaviors, keeping family and friends apart (among many other practices). It’s also altered the construction industry, adding new layers to health and safety measures.
John runs Construction Safety & Risk Management Services (CSRM), which focuses on loss prevention services and provides customized safety training and solutions. For 25 years, John has partnered with O’Shea to ensure our team is adhering to stringent safety standards and remaining updated on the latest risk management practices.
Over those decades, John has seen numerous changes to safety and risk protocol – most recently, adaptations of work practices based on CDC guidelines due to COVID-19.
“My biggest concern extends beyond the worksite. Workers’ personal beliefs regarding the pandemic may affect off worksite behaviors. Hand washing, social distancing and wearing of masks – when social distancing is not possible – are the tools we need on and off the job to reduce the risk of illness to worker and the public,” he shares.
But coronavirus certainly isn’t the only concern John has faced in the risk management field.
Over the course of his career, many new standards have been put in place since his early days. Reducing falls has been one of those that has made a tremendous impact, John says.
Nationally, the construction industry’s leading cause of fatality is from falls. John’s team has continually delivered training to mitigate this risk, as well as job safety analyses and field audits of work sites.
“At O’Shea Builders, we have multiple solutions to provide options to the workforce to prevent falls. Over the years, O’Shea has added fall protection resources to assist in eliminating fall hazards,” John says.
John likens safety and risk management to working toward a personal goal like reaching a healthy weight. The effort isn’t done once the goal is reached.
“Once that goal is achieved, the real work begins in maintaining that achievement,” he says. “O’Shea Builders has developed a culture of safety and achieved a low accident rate. Collectively, we have to guard against complacency, which we accomplish through CARE or other initiatives to plan our work.”
John’s role is crucial in helping O’Shea maintain a stellar safety record and implement measures to reduce risk and protect our team. Over his career, he notes his role has evolved into serving as a “collaborative resource for field to assist in developing solutions.”
“It is great feeling to receive a call asking a question and seeking input to develop a solution,” he says.