Kitchell receives recognition from the Arizona Industrial Commission



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.

A fresh perspective on jobsite safety from a daredevil photographer and safety guru in NYC

A daredevil photographer and a safety guru teamed up to capture an unprecedented view of New York City, and a fresh perspective on the importance of construction job safety.

 Do you know that 818 people died from falling or slipping or tripping on the job in 2014, which is the most recent year the Bureau of Labor Statistics has data from? Because Jamison Walsh does. Do you know that falling is a leading cause of job-site death, “which is very hard to believe because safety is one of the key factors on every job site and it’s only getting harder and harder to not do something safe?” Walsh knows that, too. Chin sat and listened to Walsh at the base of the spire as they got ready, slithering into harnesses and clicking in D-rings.

Walsh gives these speeches all the time, and it’s not always the case that people listen carefully. It’s hard to convey to workers at construction companies or on TV shoots — Walsh does his trainings anyplace that requires someone to ascend four feet or higher for work — just how real that 818 statistic is, how it doesn’t even address the people who fall and injure themselves; these are just the ones who died. It is hard to drive into them how you have to be serious and meticulous every single time, the first and the fifth and the five-thousandth. Walsh tries to make it personal. He talks about his own family, how he wants to see them at the end of every day. He hopes that his trainees are thinking about their families. “Everyone has something they’re going home to.”

Check out the rest of the NY Times article and see the corresponding amazing photography here.