Rodney Walker, left, and Edward Taylor with the cover they made to keep shipbuilders safe. Photo by Ashley Cowan

Taking Action for Safety

Published November 30, 2021

When they saw a safety hazard caused by an uncovered hole at the Modular Outfitting Facility (MOF), two shipbuilders took action.

“Enough was enough,” said Edward Taylor (X11). “We had to do something before someone fell. There probably was a cover at some point, but it was lost a while ago.”

A piece of sheet metal had been used to cover the small hole near one of the building’s bay doors. But after it was run over and bent by a forklift, the temporary cover became a hazard as well. What Taylor and Rodney Walker (X11) did after they saw fellow shipbuilders tripping over the hole impressed VCS Safety Rep H.D. Trulley.

“Without anybody saying anything, they took it upon themselves to find a piece of scrap metal, measured it, cut it out, and even had feet welded to the bottom so it would stay in place,” Trulley said. “That is the example of engagement and the type of culture that we want to create here. Safety is personal. We all have to own it and live it. Our lives depend on it.”

Walker said he and Taylor were just looking out for the safety of fellow shipbuilders. “You want everybody to go home safe. You don’t want anybody getting hurt,” Walker said.