Connector- Winter 2023

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COVER STORY By Macie Murie

FOR MORE THAN SAFETY’S SAKE The role of training and safety excellence in recruiting, quality and culture Winners of SEAA’s Training and Safety Excellence Awards participated in a panel discussion at the 2023 Convention & Trade Show. Ed Valencia, Corporate Safety Director, Derr & Gruenewald Construction (center), said: “By emphasizing safety during training, employees develop a mindset of precision and thoroughness.”


orker safety is consistently one of the top priorities on any construction project, and with good reason. Since 2008, construction has experienced more total deaths than any other industry, and that figure doesn’t include fatalities from suicide. Our industry also has higher injury rates than most other professions, and unfortunately, safety costs. The industry loses $5 billion annually due to construction-related deaths. The number is measured by lost productivity, loss of family income, and pain and suffering, according to the Midwest Economic Policy Institute. However, today’s safety and training leaders recognize the impact of investing in creating a culture of safety. During a panel discussion at the 2023 Convention & Trade Show in St. Augustine, Florida, attendees were able to hear from the Macie Murie is Assistant Editor of Connector and Associate Client Manager for Mighty Mo Media Partners.

2023 World Class Safety Excellence and Craft Training Excellence Winners. The Safety Excellence Award went to seven SEAA member companies in three categories. Recipients were selected based on evaluations of their EMR ratings, OSHA 300 statistics, and safety program processes over the last three years. Scoring was based on points assigned to a multi-criteria analysis, conducted in blind review by members of SEAA’s Safety & Education Committee. Applicants were evaluated on the portability of credentials, availability of apprenticeship programs, training, and recruitment efforts, in comparison to other companies of similar size. “Good safety records, comprehensive training aligned with long-term career paths, and awards recognitions, are among the criteria that prospective employees consider when deciding where to apply. Beyond the inherent value of being a safe company, it’s also a great marketing tool in a highly competitive


market,” said outgoing Safety & Education Committee Chairman Bryan McClure, during the panel. The following are excerpts from the panel discussion.

What are the negative impacts to a business when EMR rates are above the average? Kulvinskas: Most quality projects require that you have an EMR rate below 1. Above average rates will negatively affect your business and the ability to win projects. Valencia: If you have an above average EMR, you are paying higher insurance premiums. Some insurance companies won’t want to cover your company at all and owners and general contractors might not hire you because there is a higher risk for injuries on their projects. Zyla: However, it can be a positive motivator within your company to help drive staff to work together to drop the number. Being a multi-year calculation, it’s a long-term effort to have it drop.

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