Building value in a world with COVID-19

With the global healthcare situation, we have entered a new reality and a completely different way of managing our business. It seems as if daily, if not hourly, we experience changes that require us to quickly adjust while ensuring the safety of our jobsites, our people and our communities.

Our safety practices were showcased recently during a high-profile tour for city and state officials, featuring two municipal projects including our Sacramento Community Center Theater jobsite (a major expansion and renovation). The site visit was in response to recent discussions between the offices of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and California Governor Gavin Newsom regarding conditions at “essential” jobsites in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic.

Our team, alongside contractors working on the Convention Center project, provided an overview of Kitchell’s safety protocols and practices. Each person on the tour was screened in advance of the visit and went through an orientation before entering the jobsite. The tour was attended by Mayor Steinberg, Council Member Steve Hansen (who represents the district where the projects are located), industry labor leader Robbie Hunter and others with the city and labor unions.

For more than an hour, participants were provided information about the strict practices Kitchell and the entire industry is following to ensure continuity of work while maintaining the safety of those on the jobsite. The project consists of about 130 on-site workers.

In a briefing the day after the tour, Gov. Newsom argued that California has very different conditions than in other states where construction is shut down, noting “We’ve been working very closely with the building construction trade” to ensure safety for the public.

“It was really an observation walk to demonstrate the preventative measures we’re taking, including PPE, social distance requirements, education, training and to share how the industry is approaching this so they can feel comfortable about how we’re managing the work while keeping people productive,” said Executive Director Matt Wade.

The project is just one illustration of how our work has rapidly evolved to adjust to our new world. Here are other measures we’ve taken:

  • Employees who are able to telework are established in their home offices
  • Health checks at the entrance of every jobsite for project personnel and trade partners
  • More frequent safety stand downs to encourage vigilance, in addition to enhanced cleaning processes at jobsites and constant personal hygiene reminders
  • Self-reporting, mandatory quarantines and jobsite re-entry protocols for those who are exposed to COVID-19
  • Ongoing support, increased communication and frequent collaboration activities at all levels of our company to ensure job teams and projects progress with few obstacles

In response to the federal government’s recommendation that the public wear some sort of protective face covering, we have ordered washable face masks for our employee-owners and their family members.

We remain vigilant, cautious, committed to our values and true to our purpose: Together, Building Value Every Day.

Kitchell bestows inaugural ‘Samuel Monge Memorial Safety Award’ recognizing outstanding commitments to safety on all jobsites

Award named in honor of worker tragically killed on Phoenix jobsite

Kitchell recently honored one of its subcontractors for a heroic safety act that illustrates the company’s commitment to safety as part of its “Samuel Monge Safety Award,” in the name of a worker who was killed in 2010.

On Friday, Dec. 7, the inaugural award was given to Kyle Heinzel, a project manager with St. Louis-based Intertek-PSI and a subcontractor on one of Kitchell’s current projects. Heinzel, who is trained on various life-saving techniques, saved the life of a colleague with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on the job site in Indiana. Heinzel’s colleague was resuscitated because construction crews had an AED on the site and Heinzel had significant training in life-saving techniques.

As a follow up to this lifesaving action, Kitchell will institute AEDs on all its future jobsites, which is widely believed to be a first for the industry.

“Jobsite safety and the safety of workers is always our No. 1 priority,” said Kitchell Contractors President Steve Whitworth. “We’re proud to recognize Kyle and his heroic actions and hope it inspires others to be prepared to respond and prepare for life-threatening situations.”

Kitchell flew Heinzel to Phoenix to receive the award at its annual year-end meeting.

Samuel Monge was tragically killed on a Phoenix construction site in 2010. Today, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers in construction and underscores Kitchell’s unwavering commitment to a safe workplace.