“The first thing that’s important here at TK Elevator is the safety of the mechanics, and that’s our first priority, always, every day,” says Mary Salvo, service superintendent for IUEC signatory contractor TK Elevator. ElevatorInfo recently met with Mary in Chicago, Illinois, to talk about strategies she uses to ensure the mechanics on her team work safe and make it home to their families at the end of each day.
Working with 12 mechanics out of @IUEC Local 2, Mary knows how important it is to keep safety first and foremost. Whatever TK Elevator’s mechanics need in order to do their jobs – from parts and PPE to help with safety audits – Salvo is there to help. “They call me and tell me they might need an extra person, or they need a part, or whatever the case may be,” she says. “I carry PPE in my truck in bins – whether it be gloves, glasses, hand sanitizer… all the PPE is on the truck. So as I go out, I bring them whatever they may need.”
Prioritizing safety by staying prepared is part of what’s made Mary a valued employee of TK Elevator for the last 17 years. She cited weekly toolbox talks with mechanics that combine company-specific safety training, safety alerts provided by the IUEC, and conversations about how to improve jobsite safety as a way to make sure everyone is focused on working safe. “We have a toolbox talk every Tuesday (to) go over incidents that have happened, and use some of the scripts from the IUEC that they send over letting us know of any accidents…we get phone calls from mechanics who pull out their stop card if they don’t feel that they can do the job safely and require another mechanic.” Having this feedback from the IUEC and mechanics helps Mary guide the discussions to ensure everyone on the team is aware of specific risks they may encounter and knows what steps they need to take to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the riding public.
Because TK Elevator employees received their initial training through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) – a rigorous, USDOL-registered apprenticeship – they came into the trade with a solid foundational knowledge of the industry’s safest and most well-established work practices. Core classes in elevator industry-specific jobsite safety, along with third-party certifications including OSHA 10, SAIA Competent Person Training for Framed and Suspended Scaffolds, American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, and an ANSI-accredited certification in Rigging and Signaling ensure that IUEC mechanics have the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to be the safest and most efficient workers in the industry.
As the mechanics’ point of contact with TK Elevator, having a strong relationship with the IUEC is vital. From coordinating toolbox talks to seeking answers about important on-the-job issues, building trusted partnerships between the union and its signatory contractors helps keep things running smoothly and safely.
“The relationship is strong and it has to be strong,” said Salvo. “We’re grateful that we have the IUEC.”