AWCI’s Excellence in Construction Safety Award

May 2009

AWCI’s Excellence in Construction Safety Award gives national recognition to members who manage an effective safety program in a given year.

Precision Walls, Inc., Cary, North Carolina

Describe how you believe your safety program saved you money.
As a large money-saver first and foremost, over the past four years we have cut our Experience Modification Rate in half. At the 2004 evaluation, our documented EMR was 1.3. At the 2008 evaluation, our documented EMR was .65. This decrease was realized by a safety program that educates all employees, concentrating on training on how to reduce specific causes of costly injuries, with an emphasis on top-to-bottom teamwork. We communicate the message to all our employees—daily—that our major desire as a company is to have them go home to their families at the end of the day injury free.

The benefit we received by reducing our EMR was a reduction in workers’ compensation insurance premiums as well as a reduction in serious injuries and out of pocket WC deductible costs. This has saved the company many hundreds of thousands of dollars and allowed us to recently renew our WC insurance on a guaranteed cost basis. Our safety focus has greatly reduced the costly injuries our employees have not been subjected to—injuries that never occurred to see the light of day. An important part of our thrust to reduce worker injuries focuses on all phases of safety training with an emphasis on safe lifting techniques and the introduction of 100 percent eye protection, 100 percent hand protection and 100 percent tie-off when using a scissor lift.

Our safety attitude as a company has put the word out that our company is truly concerned with the safety of its employees. This safety message has helped us hire and retain excellent, experienced employees who indeed offer a cost savings through the quality of their work.

In addition, our safety record has helped us secure work. Our customers and the owners want to provide business to those companies that have an admirable Safety program, coupled with a strong Safety record.

Tell us what makes your safety program work.
We communicate and maintain daily a mindset throughout the company that working incident/injury free is a choice and a basic human right. We fully support each employee in his/her personal commitment to Safety, and we encourage each employee to demonstrate his/her commitment to both their fellow workers and others around them by helping them to learn to work safely.

We construct a system with dedicated safety professionals who provide both continuous documented job safety inspections and training. The results of these scored safety inspections are communicated back to all areas of management by way of scored written reports, along with photographs that illustrate unsatisfactory conditions that we consider as near-misses. Not to be forgotten, photos are also taken of exemplary safety examples, and all workers involved are recognized. Most important, our safety professionals receive help from our superintendents and foreman who push and communicate the safety focus down to our workers as a part of their daily responsibilities.

We maintain an aggressive Early Return to Work program with an emphasis on establishing relationships with all the healthcare providers and the WC insurance adjustor. Most important, we vigorously keep these lines of communication open.