Safety on the job seems like an obvious must-have, like the right piece of equipment or a well-trained crew member. However, safe practices can often be overlooked in the name of getting a task done quickly or simply ignorance to proper standards or equipment operation. Forgetting safety is not an option. Adhering to proper safety procedures during a project helps to ensure that everyone gets home unharmed after the day is done. By developing structured safety programs and reinforcing safe practices to employees, companies can rest assured that their crews are prepared for whatever a job may throw at them.
To recognize the companies that strive for safety and the general well-being of their employees, NUCA awards members with the William H. Feather Safety Award. William H. Feather was the very first chairman of the Safety Committee and widely regarded as the backbone of NUCA’s early safety initiatives.
He was honored for his many contributions to the association in 1976 when he was named Ditch Digger of the Year, but his premature passing led NUCA to search for some additional way to commemorate his passion for safety. At NUCA’s 1978 convention in New Orleans, a new award was created to recognize those contractors who exemplify Mr. Feather’s commitment to a safe workplace.
The awards are given to companies based on incidence rate (OSHA 300 log), company safety statement and company safety program information. Participation in NUCA safety programs and activities is also taken into consideration. The 2013 William H. Feather Safety Awards were given out at the NUCA Convention in Las Vegas, this past March. Check out the recipients over the next two pages.
Pam Kleineke is Associate Editor of Utility Contractor.
Kansas City, Mo.
Garney Construction’s safety culture stems directly from its 100 percent employee ownership. The company’s hands-on approach to safety begins with regional safety managers and site safety professionals who train employees using NUCA’s Confined Space and Competent Person programs. On-the-job training is provided by Garney’s project managers, superintendents and foremen as well.
Independence Excavating Inc.
At Independence Excavating, company leaders view safety as a personal and moral responsibility. For example, in a personal safety message from company President Vic DiGeronimo, he wrote, “The health and safety of our employees is vital to the long-term success of our company. Our employees trust that their personal safety is what we value above all else.”
Safety, quality and production — those are the three basic things RMCI’s safety program aims to promote. The company believes that by promoting a safe work environment, quality and production follow. RMCI also believes that accidents are preventable and close calls are taken as seriously as actual accidents. Through a combination of company policy and outside resources, employees are able to recognize these events and work to prevent them.
Underground Utilities Inc.
Safety is a year-round priority at Underground Utilities. The company holds an annual safety meeting seminar, where it dedicates an entire day for training taught by licensed instructors. This training is then supplemented throughout the year with a weekly foreman and crew safety huddle, as well as safety inspections that are performed every 90 days by third-party safety consultants to bring awareness to any safety issues.
AJ Johns Inc.
B. Frank Joy LLC
Sanders Utility Construction Co. Inc.
Safety training begins on the very first day for employees at Sanders Utility Construction Co. The company highlights the importance of working safely through the use of NUCA’s Excavation Safety Orientation DVD, as well as real-life, cave-in videos to showcase the reality of unsafe work. Safety is the company’s first and foremost priority, followed by quality job performance — leading to zero reported safety accidents in 2013.
Petticoat-Schmitt Civil Contractors
UP TO 50,000 MAN-HOURS
DeKalb Pipeline Co.
For more than 20 years, DeKalb Pipeline Co. has been committed to its safety program and continues to strive for excellence in safety to this very day. New employees are required to go through safety training and participate in weekly toolbox talks. Monthly safety videos and monthly drug awareness meetings round out the program.