Sundt’s celebration of Safety Week is especially poignant this year. This past March, our company won the Associated General Contractors of America Grand Award, handed out annually to the safest construction company in the country.
The award is given to a deserving contractor each year by its peers (AGC has more than 26,000 members). This was the second time our company earned the honor; the first came in 2006. The award evaluation compares a member’s safety record and program with other AGC members according to member size and construction type.
The Grand Award was one of two honors we earned during the AGC’s National Conference in San Antonio. We also took first place in the Highway Division among contractors with more than a million man hours. Winning the division award enabled us to compete for the Grand Award. We also won the national highway division in 2006, 2010 and 2013.
Corporate Director of Safety & Quality Paul Levin recently took time to answer a few questions about what the award means and what it says about our unwavering commitment to safety.
What does the AGC Grand Award mean to our clients?
Of the more than 26,000 contractors available to apply for the award, Sundt was recognized by its peers as being a leader in construction safety. It demonstrates to clients we are committed to improving our safety efforts every single day. Our clients want validation we are dedicated and committed to safety the way they are.
How did Sundt earn the award?
Fifty-two companies made it to San Antonio to present about their company safety program. Our crew of five employee-owners demonstrated our safety program’s passion, commitment and focus on continuous improvement by safety role-playing. We personalized what we do every day by recreating real-life safety challenges at the jobsite so the judges understood safety is more than just words on paper or a PowerPoint on a screen. We believe in Safety by Choice so at the end of each day, our employees are able to walk out of the jobsite gate talking about their families, their kids playing baseball, etc.
Why is safety such an important value for our company?
It goes way beyond rules and regulations. It’s not worth coming into work if we can’t go home safely. We want all employees, subcontractor employees and anyone associated with our projects to go home safely every day.
What does Sundt do to encourage safety on jobsites?
We encourage and recognize employee-owners for making good safety choices. We want people modeling and coaching safe behavior. If people are making high-risk decisions, we coach them to make safer choices. And it always comes down to recognition. You have to model the behavior you want. People always respond better with positive reinforcement versus constant feedback on what they are doing wrong.
What’s an example of something we do to make our workplaces safe?
Most contractors complete a task hazard analysis at the beginning of a task. We focus on revising our THA anytime something changes: If we add a person to a crew, if we’re using a crane instead of a forklift. We realized during review meetings many of our incidents were happening because we didn’t properly assess new equipment, mechanical or employee changes. We hadn’t gone over all the hazards. We realized the plan changed, however we didn’t call a safety timeout to reevaluate and reassess.Anyone on a jobsite can call a safety timeout any time he or she sees something that needs to be addressed. It empowers our employees and makes our jobsites safer.