April 2016, Vol. 71 No. 4


The DCA Safety Award: Building A Culture Of Safety

Each year the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) recognizes member contractors for achieving outstanding safety records the previous year. The DCA has been recognizing safe practices with the award since 1986. In recent years, about 85 companies have submitted entries.

The award’s namesake, the late Arthur T. Everham, was one of the founders of Midwestern Contractors and became active in promoting safety in his early years with DCA.

The 2015 Arthur T. Everham Safety Award winners were presented at DCA’s 56th annual convention in February. There were three judging categories based on the number of man hours worked during the judging period.

ARB, Inc.: Gregory S. Dahl, president

Gregory Dahl“We are absolutely pleased by the honor of receiving this award Sev-eral years ago, we embarked on a program to improve safety and we are pleased with how far we have progressed.

“We have made major efforts to become more aware of safety and that starts with good input from all stakeholders, management, workers and the general public. We are soon to start and implement a health and safety system and become really involved in the process and will introduce it in order to help improve safety to be as close to perfect as we can get to make everyone safe.

“The DCA award is evidence that we are on the right track.

“Implementing a safety pro-gram is a transitional process that requires management to buy into the concept and make sure programs developed are the right ones to be effective and gets everyone in the company looking at safety. It requires feedback from the field, best practices guide-lines and our programs have to be pretty extensive because of the breadth of the work we do.

“In the process, we have found there is a correlation between safety and quality workmanship and productivity. An added bonus is that insurance rates go down.”

Midwestern Contractors, Timothy Bell, president

Timothy Bell“We were thrilled to receive the Arthur T. Everham Safety Award because it means that our employees earned it and we are getting closer to our goal of zero safety incidents.

“We give complete credit for the award to our employees. Main-taining a culture of safety and a can-do attitude towards safety is a constant challenge. It takes a team, a commitment from all hands and the support of management to make it work. We are blessed with a team of five safety professionals that are determined to reduce our incidents to zero. That means that one cut, one bruised finger, or a pulled muscle is unacceptable.

“Safety is extremely important, especially for underground work which is inherently dangerous. As a result of this extreme hazard level, a good crew works like a well-tuned machine. All parts work together and everyone watches out for each other. There is planning and orchestration. Keeping everyone on the same sheet of music is the key to a harmonious safety environment. One that is repeatable job after job.

“Weather, slip and trip hazards, confined space, fall hazards and trench safety all can set traps to catch an unwary worker and cause severe injury or death. Office work-ers have to worry about paper cuts. Our employees have to worry about losing a limb, or worse.
“Extended safety training is a key element for our crews and especially new hires. Higher-level training is provided for our foremen, superintendents and project man-agers, including substance abuse recognition and mitigation. We put more emphasis on recognizing and guarding against complacency. Reporting sites can be used anonymously to immediately flag a near miss or job site hazard that was not being addressed. Effective tools are GoodSafetyCatch.com, and ConstructionView for safety audits.

“Finally, a big thanks to the skilled tradesmen that are out in the weather every day, doing this work and doing it safely. They keep themselves and the public safe with their positive attitude toward their work.”

H&H Enterprises, Jason Hockran, co-owner

Jason Hockran“We are proud of our team for achieving this award again, but more proud of the fact that we had another excellent year of operational safety. This award is well-earned by our leadership and team members on a daily basis. When you prioritize and live out safe operations the way our team does, it is affirming and rewarding to be recognized by your peers, but the real reward is each team members’ ability to be back from the job site safe every night.

“H&H lives safety and profession-alism on an hourly basis – it is not something we try to achieve, it is an attitude and understanding that gets lived out in our hour-to-hour decision making and evaluation process. Two decades of training and operational development have provided us a solid foundation and focus for living out our safety and operational procedures.

“The best program we have utilized and built upon is our ‘TAKE 2’ operational process. Take two seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks or months, if necessary to properly assess and live out a plan to get the job done safely! This goes from the smallest of housekeeping tasks hourly to long-term project planning and design. No matter your operational scenario our leaders and team members have embraced the TAKE 2 philosophy.

“The key to maintaining consistent safety awareness is putting your money and operations where your mouth is. Don’t talk safety, live safety and be willing to spend the time and money necessary to properly train and develop the team to complete safe operations. Never overlook even the simplest of tasks that that can be taken for granted, such as walking around a job site, equipment operational safety and third- party hazard identification in the work area. A healthy safety operational attitude will help eliminate damage and injury.

“Also, I want to recognize key members of our team that live safety every day: Scott Kilgore, operations manager; Dennis Metheney, drilling superintendent; and Bunky Jordan, estimator/safety officer.”

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