Although agriculture accounts for 35-40 percent of its business, Pacific Metal Fab, 497 S. Pine St., has seen an increase in the amount of work his company has received in relation to employee safety.
“We basically build a lot of farm equipment, but we also do a lot of safety structures, that includes platforms, ladders and trailers,” said Pacific Metal Fab supervisor Dimitrie Ljuba. “We build many different things that have to deal with safety for the people and environment.”
The biggest reason for the shift to safety is that the economy has grown and budgets have been approved.
“Our workload has increased because the economy has improved,” Ljuba said. “It is also word of mouth because of the quality and quick turnaround time we have. Budget approvals are one thing to get some of the safety structures built.”
Because of the increased focus in employee safety, Ljuba is getting more and more work orders for safety equipement.
“They are very serious about it and make it a priority to improve these types of projects,” Ljuba said. “A lot of things have changed in regards to safety.”
Customers can either drop off a plan for something they want Pacific Metal Fab to build or they get “customers that tell us to do whatever it takes to make it OSHA safe,” Ljuba said. “We need to be always updated with the specifics of the safety regulations. Safety regulations change constantly. We have to read up on it.”
One of the biggest projects Pacific Metal Fab finished was a mega platform to prevent injuries of workers that fall off the platform.
“We built the entire platform that is two-feet off the ground with safety steps and handrails,” Ljuba said. “There’s no more step back. We have to make sure that we are OSHA approved and know the codes. We follow-through that we are up to code.”
Another recent safety plan Ljuba is seeing is safety guards on certain equipment.
“There are companies that have rotary or things that are moving and vibrating,” Ljuba said. “We have safety guards for them. Companies have approved a whole bunch of projects for safety guards that have to be installed.”
These are the types of guards that can’t be purchased from a manufacturer. It has to be custom made.
“Most of the safety guards we do are custom. The manufacturer hadn’t thought about covering their equipment because when they built it, the safety guards weren’t necessary. We need to comply with the local regulations that have been modified from before. Everything we do is measured on-site, designed, we build it in our plant and install it. It’s a difficult process, but the end result will show that it was basically made to fit.”
In the past, Pacific Metal Fab’s busy season with the farmers used to be before picking and before the summer starts, however it is more year-round now.
“We have no more slow time,” Ljuba said. “It’s about repairing and making new equipment. We have become very versatile. Most of the customers that come in, we can build something for them. We have customers that are out of state. They have crews local and we help them out as well.”