Safety Awards Recognize Housing Industry Job Safety Efforts
More than 150 safety officers, HBA officials and staff from state and local Occupational Safety and Health Administration offices honored home builders and safety experts from around the country at the first annual SAFE Awards.
The Safety Awards for Excellence commemorate NAHB members’ increased commitment to job safety. “Every company here is a winner when it adopts programs for job-site safety,” said 2006 NAHB President David Pressly, who welcomed attendees at the Feb. 9 awards luncheon. The event was held during the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.
Honorees were recognized for achieving excellent safety records, creating outstanding safety education programs and for continuing partnerships with state and local OSHA officials — all in the context of making work sites safer for home building industry employees.
Luncheon attendees watched a video presentation and listened to a keynote address from Daniel Fulton, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company, the parent company for several U.S. home builders, including Pardee Homes in California and Nevada and Winchester Homes in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
“Safety is a fundamental and enduring commitment,” Fulton said. “It’s not a checklist or a priority. It’s a value, and values stay constant. It’s the right thing to do.” A company’s leadership is crucial in creating “a culture of safety expectations,” he added. “We walk the talk.”
That means making sure that language barriers don’t prevent subcontractors from understanding safety requirements and that construction superintendents constantly pass out hard hats — and help contractors purchase scaffolding, he said.
It’s not a competitive advantage for one builder to be more responsible than the next, Fulton noted. “We can’t achieve success if the safety ends” at the property line. “We must cooperate. Don’t wait for somebody else to lead. Get specific and clear about safety.”
2007 winners included:
- NAHB Affiliated Safety Program. The Montana Building Industry Association formed a successful workers’ compensation program — Group Rewards Insurance Program (GRIP) — to provide companies the opportunity to receive workers’ compensation dividends based on their performance.
- Federal and State Plan OSHA Official. Kansas had several accidents that led to work-related fatalities in the home building industry, until OSHA’s assistant area director and response team leader, Jack Schaeffer, and the agency’s Wichita office implemented a targeted safety program that was so successful that it eliminated work-related fatalities in residential construction in 2006 and led to a 30% decline in accidents since 2004.
- Light Commercial Contractor Safety Program. Winner Carl Harris Company cites a four-pronged approach to control and correct hazards on the job site: All employees are trained to recognize hazards and given the responsibility and authority to halt unsafe work practices. Foremen are further trained to instruct and supervise employees in safe job-site practices, and management has the responsibility to visit job sites and consult with foremen to oversee adherence to safety policies and procedures.
- Multifamily Safety Program, 50 to 500 employees. Select Build, Southeast Region has taken a management approach to safety. Select believes safety starts from the top, and for the president and senior management down to the newest employee, safety and health is the company’s top priority.
- Multifamily Safety Program, less than 50 employees. The winner, Colonial Construction Services, says safety is the first key performance indicator. Other key metrics for this general contractor include quality, schedule and budget.
- Remodeler Safety Program, less than 50 employees. Winner Q x 2, Inc. is grounded in the precept that no employee shall intentionally create a hazard, or allow a hazard to persist.
- Remodeler Safety Program, 50 to 500 employees. The CEO of Owens Corning Construction Services said that “this is a time for us to choose. We need to take a stand around safety. The days of incremental improvements are gone. We have one objective: zero injuries.”
- Innovative Safety Program Idea. There were four winners:
- Michael Gurule for his work with “Home Safe,” a unique safety program and partnership between OSHA and the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver.
- Oregon OSHA’s state safety program developed pamphlets that highlight user-friendly fall-protection systems and devices and statewide initiatives used in different areas of construction as a model for other companies.
- Official Jim Gronski realized that the Pennsylvania Department of Education was in the unique position to provide OSHA-specific safety training for instructors in career and technical centers, high schools, community colleges and department of corrections. The department worked to provide funding for five classes with a total of 100 newly authorized OSHA outreach instructors.
- Jacqueline Richter took measures to ensure that Hispanic workers had the best safety training, including: using Hispanic safety advisors; providing on-site awareness training in Spanish; and even selling workers hard hats, masks, goggles, hearing protection, electrical cords and plugs for cords on construction sites.
- Specialty Trade Contractor Safety Program, 50 to 500 employees. Owens Corning Construction Services' motto is “Safety is unconditional, accidents are preventable, safety is everyone’s responsibility, and working safely is a condition of employment.”
- Specialty Trade Contractor Safety Program, less than 50 employees. Dico, Inc. boasts more than 6 million hours of work in the construction industry over 35 years without a fatality. Dico believes its program is a journey, not a destination, and is always looking for ways to improve on its efforts.
- Associate Member Safety Program. G&W Roofing Company was a participating member in two OSHA partnerships and offers extensive safety training for employees, working closely with OSHA and other area roofing contractors to make sure employees are doing everything they can to be compliant with their company’s safety program.
- Home Builder Safety Professional. Tom Trauger of Winchester Homes in Bethesda, Md., is responsible for conducting training for employees and subcontractors, performing audits and inspections, updating Winchester safety programs and procedures and ensuring that compliance is maintained throughout the entire organization. Trauger led the development of an alliance between seven area home builders and Maryland’s OSHA.
- Single-family Builder Safety Program, less than 10 home starts per year. Bigfork Builders, Inc. welcomes the active participation of its employees in developing safety policies, procedures and best practices to perform their work safely and efficiently.
- Single-family Builder Safety Program, 11 to 100 home starts per year. Augustine Homes has had zero recordable lost-time injuries for the past two years.
- Single-family Builder Safety Program, 100 to 1,000 home starts per year. Trendmaker Homes maintains a “safety first” corporate culture and provides training in both English and Spanish for its employees.
- Single-family Builder Safety Program, more than 1,000 home starts per year. Quadrant Homes requires employees and contractors to participate in weekly safety training and has adopted an “always safe” motto for its safety programs. Quadrant is the only national home builder to receive a Voluntary Protection Program or VPP distinction.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.