Safety is the foundation of everything we do at Kitchell. As Abraham Lincoln famously said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Nurturing an engaging, continuous culture of improvement is the best way to determine our own safety future. Kitchell’s safety culture is rooted in shared attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values. We are all working together to improve our safety and health management system, and we all look out for each other every day. This is the first step in becoming an industry leader in safety and health.
Respected safety cultures have management commitment, employee participation, workplace analysis, safety planning, hazard prevention control, and training. Our companywide Safety Excellence model revolves around four equally important key performance indicators (KPIs): 1) Leadership and Engagement; 2) Safety Management Systems; 3) Risk Reduction; and 4) Performance Measurement. Together, these KPIs will move us toward the next level of safety performance, and as a result, enhance shareholder value.
Leadership & Engagement
From CEO Jim Swanson, to company presidents, to superintendents to field office managers to the folks in accounting and beyond, every single Kitchell employee is an empowered safety leader. We all can, and should, make a difference. Criteria is needed to foster individual accountability and create a robust safety culture, which includes visibly committed top management, actively involved middle management, performance-focused front-line supervisors and engaged employees.
Safety Management System
An established, proven framework to manage and continually improve our policies and procedures reduces risk. Our model of Plan (establish process), Do (implement), Check (measure) and Act (analyze results) drives continual improvement. The goal is to improve employee safety, productivity, quality, satisfaction and image while reducing hazards, risks, incidents and workers’ comp costs. We achieved the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star designation, in large part, due to a high degree of employee engagement driving our safety management system and inspiring trade partner workers to be just as engaged and empowered.
Risk reduction not only refers to reducing job site hazards. It also encompasses reducing company expenses. In order to manage risk, we have to think beyond safety in terms of injuries, and worse, but also focus on financial impacts, property damage, equipment damage and business interruption. Our qualitative risk assessment pre-planning tool is now being deployed on all projects. The purpose of the risk assessment is to determine potential emergencies (based on probability and severity of hazards) that could have the most impact on our organization, and to mitigate risks to an acceptable level. Other powerful tools or activities we utilize to reduce risk are BIM, Lean Safety, Prevention through Design, Prefabrication, safety committees and our prequalification safety process. They all make work safer and easier.
If we don’t measure, we can’t improve. All the work we do to enhance safety helps us benchmark against others, determines targets for safety intervention and sets baselines with which to measure performance improvements. A blend of leading (Are we reducing our risk?) and lagging (How did we do?) indicators is the optimal approach. If we want to fix the lagging side we must improve the leading side. Leading indicators include pre-planning activities, safety observations and inspections, training, near misses, risk assessments, risk mitigation plans, perception surveys, predictive analyses and active safety committees.
Safety excellence is not just about achieving great results; it is also about sustaining them. We require constant vigilance and continuous effort. People engagement is the common denominator in our companywide journey to safety excellence. Our holistic approach makes safety personal, and empowers people to be interdependent and engage in the work process so that everyone goes home safe to their families every day. To quote another important political figure, John F. Kennedy, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Let’s all rise together on a never-ending current of safety excellence.