Jesse Sheppeck, CSP, is a safety manager with the Safety, Health and Environmental Services (SH&E) team for The Builders, a chapter of the AGC, and his focus is on delivering safety training and services to central and southern Missouri.
Before joining The Builders, Sheppeck worked for Citizens Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Foundation as the safety director. In total, he has more than two decades of safety experience, having also worked as a safety consultant to general contractors and subcontractors all over the state of Missouri.
While earning his Bachelor of Science in industrial safety management at the University of Central Missouri, Sheppeck worked in construction learning the skills he later used to build his own home and a barn for his daughter Emma’s horse.
Away from the office, Sheppeck loves the outdoors and spending time with his family, which includes his wife Christy; his daughter Hannah, her husband Korey and their daughter (Sheppeck’s granddaughter), Phoenix Rose; his daughter Allee and her husband Deacon; and his daughter Emma.
Sheppeck and Christy live in Bolivar, Missouri and have land in Benton County that he’s passionate about working to improve for the wildlife living there. He enjoys hunting and fishing, and when he gets the opportunity, he and Christy take day trips in their Jeep. As an avid outdoorsman, he hopes to one day travel to Alaska to see the glaciers.
How can my company avoid injuries and impairment in the cold weather on the jobsite?
Cold stress on the jobsite ranks among the top occupational hazards during winter months. The cold temperatures and increased wind chill can cause heat to leave the body and can put construction workers at risk. Some of these risks include hypothermia, frostbite and trench foot.
To reduce cold stress effects on workers you can:
- Provide engineering controls, e.g., radiant heaters.
- Gradually introduce workers to the cold.
- Monitor for symptoms of cold stress.
- Schedule breaks in warm areas.
The Builders Safety Team provides many more comprehensive safety protocols and tips, like work attire and crucial steps to take, to ensure workers' well-being and to maintain a productive work environment at www.thebuildersagc.com.
How can my company find the right resources and training to maintain a safe and healthy workplace year-round?
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace is of central importance to contractors and their employees. That is why so many Builders member companies team up with our Safety, Health & Environmental Services annually.
With years of experience in the industry, we offer comprehensive safety training courses year-round, including an OSHA Fall Protection Course and Silica Competent Person Course. The Builders Safety team offers industry-leading training tailored to meet construction-specific needs, ensuring employees and businesses are well prepared to mitigate risks and create a safer working environment.
We prioritize hands-on learning and interactive training methods to ensure that you retain crucial safety information. Visit www.thebuildersagc.com
to find the essential safety courses and tools you need to create a safer workplace year-round.
Where can we go for Spanish language resources to better communicate with Spanish speaking employees?
Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, so it’s a great time to be thinking about how to provide support for your Spanish-speaking workers. A comprehensive safety strategy includes appropriate communication and education for ensuring your Hispanic construction population has the resources to work safely for themselves, their colleagues and their families.
The construction industry has a large Hispanic and Latino population, so employers should strive to provide adequate resources with an understanding that English may not be the most effective way to communicate critical information. This could include providing translations on anything from the instructions on tools, diagrams, pamphlets and anything else that is used on job sites.
As an industry with a high-risk work environment, it also means safety and health information critical to the well-being of the workforce must be delivered in a way that is accessible to all. As a starting point to help companies build out their Spanish language resources, The Builders Safety Team offers members Spanish translated toolbox talks at www.thebuildersagc.com
How can my company get involved with the Construction Suicide Prevention Week initiative?
As one of the founding members and a sponsor of the Construction Suicide Prevention Week initiative taking place September 4-8, we want to spread awareness about the unique challenges workers face in construction that lead to suicide and what we can do to prevent it. The construction industry has the second highest rate of suicide in the United States at 53.3 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In the U.S., there are approximately 123 suicides per day — that breaks down to one death every 12 minutes (SafeBuild Alliance). It will take all of us to prevent suicide. Luckily, the generous support for the Construction Suicide Prevention Week initiative from Builders members and others around the industry has made it possible to provide resources to help employers effectively support mental wellness among their workers. Resources are also available to help companies plan a stand-down or other event with your employees during the week. If you haven’t already, Builders encourages you to register your company’s participation in this year’s initiative on the Construction Suicide Prevention Week website. When it comes to preventing suicide, knowing where to start can be overwhelming, but the website has many resources that can help save lives. Visit constructionsuicideprevention.com.
How can my workers stay protected from poor air quality on an outdoor job site?
As wildfires burn in Eastern Canada, smoke and pollutants have heavily impacted the air quality levels across the world, including here in the heartland. It is especially important for those working outdoors, like construction job sites, to follow certain protocols to avoid any life-threatening health conditions.
While every situation is different, here are some general protocols to follow:
- When poor air quality reaches extreme levels, stay indoors if possible, and close all windows and doors to prevent outdoor smoke from entering your home.
- If you must be outside, wear a KN94, N95 or P100 respirator mask to filter out most of the smoke particles.
- Avoid as much physical exertion as possible and limit your exposure time outdoors.
- Stay away from power lines, gas lines and other hazardous areas.
- Hydrate regularly and watch for symptoms of smoke inhalation such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath.
It is very important that companies, especially those with outdoor workers, understand the implications of dangerous air quality and how to provide employees with the appropriate protocols. You can help communicate these protocols by posting on your website, sending an email, or even holding a meeting with your employees. You can learn more about how to stay safe during times like these by contacting The Builders safety team. Visit www.thebuildersagc.com
for more safety tips.
How can I stay protected from heat stress in the workplace?
With heat levels rising during this time of year, it is important that you are prepared for heat exposure on the job site, both indoors and outdoors. Almost 75% of heat illness fatalities happen during the first week of work. When the human body is unable to maintain a normal temperature, heat-related illnesses occur. Risk factors for heat illness include high temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure, low liquid intake, and much more.
To avoid these risks, make sure your workers follow these safe work practices:
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol — both can increase the potential for dehydration.
- Drink cool water — at least one cup every 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
- Take frequent breaks — take time to recover from the heat in a shady and/or cool location.
- Dress for the heat — wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, if possible.
- Watch out for each other — monitor yourselves and one another for signs of heat illness.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related health problem. It occurs when the body's temperature regulating system fails and the body temperature rises to critical levels. The Builders safety team has best practices and many resources for heat stress to help you understand and know the symptoms along with how to handle critical issues if they arise. Visit www.thebuildersagc.com to learn more about how our safety team can help your company stay cool through the summer months.
How can my company raise awareness for mental health and suicide in the construction industry?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and The Builders and the construction industry as a whole, are committed to raising awareness and encouraging discussions about mental health and substance abuse to reduce suicide in the workforce. Builders is proud to be one of the founding leaders of the Construction Suicide Prevention Week initiative, which takes place in September each year.
It takes construction professionals at all levels working together in collaboration with other industry partners to build a culture of support and prevention. While regulations and monitoring for physical safety have increased dramatically over the years, mental health care is still behind. Mental health must be as high a priority as wearing a hard hat.
Focusing on creating a safe culture, providing training to your staff, raising awareness of the mental health challenges the industry faces, making resources available to all employees, and normalizing conversations around mental health can, and will, save lives throughout the construction industry. You can find resources to help you spot warning signs, start the conversation and provide support to those who need it by visiting www.thebuildersagc.com
How can my company participate in Construction Safety Week and the National Safety Stand-Down?
In the construction industry, safety is not only mission critical, but it must also be part of the culture for every worker. May 1-5 is Construction Safety Week and the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.
Construction Safety Week is an industry-backed initiative and an opportunity for people, companies and our entire industry to join together, celebrate and recommit to doing whatever it takes to send everyone home safely every day. Whether it’s through education and awareness activities, promotional events or monetary contributions, there are many ways you can participate, celebrate and show your support. Look for more information and resources about participating in Builders member emails or reach out to me directly.
The annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is an OSHA initiative to raise fall-hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. The Builders safety team will be conducting stand-down events during the week, so visit our website or reach out to me directly for details about participating.
How can I ensure ladder safety and fall prevention in my construction workplace?
The Builders, a chapter of the AGC’s safety team is trained in the latest methods for making sure you are using safe practices with ladders in your workplace. Falls using ladders are one of the most common causes of death in the construction industry. Most of these falls are from extension ladders and generally happen when the ladder slips, a support moves or when a person loses their balance.
The Builders safety team hosts fall-protection courses February through May, which include OSHA training practices enabling workers to recognize the hazards contributing to falls and training each worker in procedures to follow to minimize these hazards. You can learn more about these courses and what our safety team has to offer by contacting me or visiting the event calendar at TheBuildersAGC.com.
How can I stay safe and warm working in the construction industry during the winter?
The Builders, a chapter of the AGC’s safety team, ensures they stay up to date with how to stay safe in the construction industry during cold and freezing temperatures. Cold temperature exposure can lead to frostbite, hypothermia and many other dangerous situations. The Builders safety experts have gathered many tips and general precautions for industry workers to stay safe during these times. According to our safety experts, to stay safe and warm while working in the cold, remember to:
- Wear clothes meant for cold, wet and windy conditions.
- Dress in loose-fitting layers to adapt to changing temperatures.
- Take breaks often to warm up in a heated location.
The safety team also recommends following OSHA’s general precautions. You can find these precautions, many more tips, and learn what else the safety team has to offer by visiting www.thebuildersagc.com
How can I learn more about the latest in construction safety?
The Builders, a chapter of the AGC, is proud to host the annual Midwest Construction Safety Conference (MCSC) — an event with a mission to improve construction safety throughout the heartland via top-tier education from construction safety experts across the industry. The conference returns March 9 and 10 at Adams Pointe Conference Center in Blue Springs, Missouri. The two-day conference offers an interactive educational experience for construction professionals at all stages of their careers, plus insights from keynote speakers Mitch Holthus, voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Rob McKinney, director of safety services for the AGC Georgia. The MCSC offers courses in fall safety, mental health, OSHA compliance, environmental hazards, systems and technology, safety culture, DEI and human resources, and other construction safety topics important in the industry today. Registration to attend, be a vendor and become a sponsor are available now at www.thebuildersagc.com or you can contact me for more information.