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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

At Guardian Fall Protection, we pride ourselves in our mission to provide innovative solutions to keep workers safe and save lives. We achieve this mission at least partly through working alongside some of the most talented individuals in the industry, such as Kirk Baisch at University Mechanical Contractors, Inc., to develop the next generation of fall protection products. It is our work with Kirk that resulted in the creation of our newest innovation, the Ground-Up Anchor System.

I was recently fortunate enough to be able to interview Kirk and discuss his contribution to our industry through the creation of the Ground-Up Anchor System.

Ground-Up Anchor System

Mike Arcari (MA), Web & Print Marketing Manager at Guardian: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today, Kirk. To get things started, I understand you are the Safety Director at University Mechanical Contractors, Inc. (UMC) How long have you been working with UMC?

Kirk Baisch (KB): Since ’07.

MA: And, by the sound of it, you are not just any Safety Director, as you were recently presented with the AGC Safety professional of the year award earlier this year. That's quite the achievement! Can you speak a little bit on that?

KB: Well, it’s a big honor. It’s one of the only awards in the country that is based off the drive and influence of an individual in an organization. I’m very thankful for amount of support UMC has provided me, as it has allowed for me to chair and advise on several safety committees. All in an ongoing effort to both improve and influence the industry.

MA: And it looks like you've had quite an effect on UMC as a whole, who also walked away with their fourth AGC Safety Excellence Award this year. Could this be in part to your Best Practice Program? Can you speak a little bit on that?

KB: The Best Practice program is kind of a mindset for continuous improvement. You don’t take no for an answer. If there is something that needs to be made better, you make it happen.

MA: For a little more background on yourself, being safety professional of the year, what is the key to your success?

KB: To run a safety program, you have to take pride in safety. This means doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. Don’t make decisions based off compliance alone. People who approach safety in that manner, they’ll run into issues down the line. You absolutely have to take pride in keeping people safe. I think you know you’ve reached a pinnacle of safety excellence when your managers are requesting input weeks and months before starting work on an operation.

MA: So what’s a typical day in the life for Kirk Baisch?

KB: I would say a large portion of my time is acting as a consultant – being responsive to those wanting to preplan their work, determine different ways for worker access, and material handling. The work we do is never cut and dry, it’s going to be different. Another large component of what I do is training.

Some mandatory, but some coaching opportunities as well, discussing lessons learned and best practices.

MA: Recently, you worked with Guardian Fall Protection in developing the new Ground-Up Anchor System. I actually presented this to a worker out on the jobsite and they thought it was the coolest thing. How did you come up with the idea?

KB: I wanted to find a solution for a major mechanical issue I encountered. It was at a hospital where a ton of seismic needed to be installed. We needed to determine a safe way to provide worker access to a mechanical space in a ceiling. I'd been asking fall protection companies and vendors for a solution on how we can tie-off remotely. When I started digging into it, there were 11 different trades impacted by this same issue – trying to install and/or remove an overhead anchor point without exposing yourself to the fall hazard. I didn’t want to find a Band-Aid solution, I wanted to find a system to eliminate this issue. And so, I started sketching ideas, asked for a meeting, and it just sort of happened from there. Because installation of the system is integrated into the construction process, there’s no need to drill overhead silica and risk respiratory issues with your hands full. Not to mention attempting to install an anchor point without being tied-off has the potential of dramatically increasing risk of falling. This system is designed to keep contractors in all industries – from electrical to telecommunications, HVAC to sprinkler installers, painters to insulators – dramatically safer.

MA: Truly impressive. Thank you Kirk for your contribution to improving our industry!

Guardian has a longstanding history of working with innovators like Kirk to bring products to the market that save lives. The Ground-Up Anchor System joins products such as the Safe-T Ladder Extension System and Basemate Ladder Leveler – all products that have left a longstanding impact on the industry. We’re extremely proud to work with an individual such as Kirk that share our passion for safety.

The Ground-Up Anchor System