2021 NUCA Safety Award 0-100,001 Manhours: Fehlinger Construction Group

SafetyWORKS is a regular column highlighting NUCA’s William H. Feather Safety Awards winners. If you would like to be considered for these prestigious NUCA awards in 2022, please submit your entry by the end of December 2022. Award details can be found at nuca.com/safetyawards.

“Safety is part of each employee’s job” reads Fehlinger Construction Group’s safety program statement. It’s been in place for 13 years, the same length of time since the company was founded by Herb and Charles Fehlinger. Safety has been part of this company since the first day of business.

Safety breeds success. NUCA awarded Fehlinger Construction a 2020 William H. Feather Safety Award in the 100,001-200,000 manhours category at last year’s Convention, and was proud to award again the 2021 Safety Award in the 0-100,000 manhours category to Fehlinger at our March convention in San Antonio, Texas.

As Utility Contractor wrote last year in our July-August 2021 issue about Fehlinger’s previous successes, safety remains part of this Pennsylvania company each day. Each week Fehlinger continues to hold a company safety meeting with all employees, encouraging each person to participate by expressing their opinions and any concerns about each jobsite and task. In encouraging this open expression from those on-site each day, the company found that it had a positive effect on overall safety performance and cooperation between supervisors and employees.

Fehlinger knows that safety is also linked to training. The company encourages their employees to attend the Pennsylvania One-Call annual safety day, a program supported by NUCA and NUCA of Pennsylvania. This event provides important learning sessions for excavation and trench safety, confined spaces, and other jobsite areas demanding attention.

The company also believes in rewarding its employees for their safety awareness. As an incentive, Fehlinger employees are made aware that yearly pay bonuses will also reflect the employee’s record of safety throughout the year and their cooperation in the company safety program. Pay raises and promotions determined through employee evaluations also reflect an employee’s safety record and work performance.

This policy is stated directly in their safety program statement: “Active participation and adherence to the Safety Program is a condition of each employee’s employment. No employee is required to work at a job that he or she knows is not safe. Therefore, we must work to make every workplace safe by detecting and correct unsafe working conditions, as well as the detection of unsafe work practices.”

Fehlinger’s safety officer Robert Samanas also credits NUCA of Pennsylvania for keeping the company informed on important current safety topics and updates on federal regulations. NUCA’s bi-monthly publication “NUCA Safety News” and its many articles on jobsite safety are also used as learning tools for employees and distributed to them during company meetings. Samanas’s own 45 years of industry experience and training includes OSHA 500, OSHA 501, and DOT Supervision training certificates.

Safety is simply an integral part of the company’s culture. NUCA recognized Fehlinger’s superlative performance and program ideals when it awarded the company similar national safety awards in 2014, 2015, and 2016. NUCA was proud to award Fehlinger Construction William H. Feather Safety Awards in 2017, 2018 and 2020. This is a NUCA member company who recognizes what safety can achieve in a workplace and for their business success.

NUCA companies who go above and beyond to keep their most important asset—their hardworking employees—serve as an inspiration to the rest of the NUCA membership. Fehlinger record of safety should inspire each NUCA member. Safety is not just a concept—it’s reality each day on this company’s jobsites.

NUCA encourages you to take Fehlinger’s award-winning commitment to employee safety into your own company’s daily work.

Robert Baylor is NUCA’s Director of Communications.

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