The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) recently honored Kitchell with the Exemplary Award for Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) at its annual Industrial Commission of Arizona Day at the Capitol. Kitchell is the first construction company to ever win the award.
“Kitchell has demonstrated a tireless commitment to safety, evidenced by VPP achievement on several of its projects, and the dedication of the company’s entire workforce to actively living and promoting a safety culture,” said ADOSH Assistant Director Jessie Atencio.
Over the past several years, Kitchell has made great strides on weaving safety into the company’s culture, becoming a de facto industry leader in safety and health. This effort extends not only to the company’s direct employees, but also to ensuring its subcontractors are aligned and engaged with safety protocols and procedures. The statistics overwhelmingly show success in this effort, with an OSHA incident rate for the entire company 76 percent lower than the national industry average and trade partner employee injuries decreasing significantly over the past few years.
Kitchell was also recently recognized for its safety efforts at a national level, with a Construction Safety Excellence Award by the Associated General Contractors of America. The awards criteria examines management’s commitment to safety, active employee participation, safety training, work site hazard identification and control and safety program innovation
“Our safety best practices add tremendous value to our culture,” said Kitchell Contractors President Steve Whitworth. “The bottom line is that this commitment extends to our families and our communities. We want everyone home safely, every day.”
Kitchell has achieved VPP designation on several of its job sites in recent years, including Chandler Regional Medical Center, the Center at Val Vista, Phoenix Children’s Hospital Emergency Department expansion and Banner Casa Grande Medical Center. The company also achieved recognition at its Phoenix headquarters to reinforce its commitment to safety beyond project sites, to include locations that house administrative functions.
“Earning VPP Star Status is an accomplishment that is achieved through a deliberate process involving employees and management at all levels,” Atencio said. “Kitchell realizes that this is a journey that never ends.”
VPP is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) highest program of recognition across the United States. Companies and jobsites that are awarded the VPP Star designation demonstrate exemplary and comprehensive safety and health management systems to achieve illness and injury rates that are more than 50 percent below the national average. The VPP program is completely voluntary and a collaborative relationship between ADOSH and business, in which employers must submit an application and undergo a thorough on-site evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. Sites earning the designation are periodically re-evaluated in order to remain in the program.
Last year’s Exemplary Awards honorees were Raytheon and the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.
Studies have shown that companies with a focus on health and safety experience significantly lower workers’ compensation claims, higher productivity and less turnover.