When shelter-in-place orders shut down Lab sites in March 2020, among the last to leave and the first to return were the essential members of the custodial staff. The 40-member team expanded their duties to include key COVID safety and disinfecting protocols. In the midst of all of this, the custodial team also achieved a remarkable milestone. Between November 2019 and July 2020 — a 20 month stretch — the team reported no OSHA-recordable injuries.
According to Field Services Manager John Tully, the answer to how they achieved this lies in how the team approaches safety. John and his supervisors, Jose Mayorga and Soledad Espinoza, promote an open work culture, encouraging the team to ask questions and request additional information or training if they feel uncomfortable.
“The custodial group is very proactive in conducting their work in a safe manner, maintaining high situational awareness for hazards and taking measures to protect themselves from those hazards,” said Brent Henderson, Facilities Division Director. “They have raised the bar and set a great example for all of us.”
The custodial team also works very closely with their Environment, Health, and Safety partner, Eugene (Gene) Tucker, to incorporate safety checks and routines into the daily work. A case in point is the daily stretch video. Custodial work is very active, with lots of bending, crouching, and stretching. The custodial team incorporated optional daily stretching routines as a way to reduce muscle strain injuries. When COVID-19 protocols prevented the team from gathering in person, Gene filmed a stretching routine that can be used at any time.
The custodial team is proud of the safety record, and to support Lab operations and the Lab’s larger mission. One team member said, “I am proud to belong to this institution and to be able to serve in the best possible way in the tasks that I perform here.”
It is inspiring,” Brent said, “to watch their team share their best practices with each other and consistently perform their demanding work at a high level.”
Berkeley Lab’s Custodial Team
Rosa De Leon
Diana Bracamontes ( No Picture)
Mali Ife ( No Picture)
Jeffrey C. Moore (No Picture)
Maria Guerra (No Picture)
Garret Crofoot (No Picture)
Jose Mayorga (No Picture)