Contractor Becomes ‘Safest Company’ by Focusing on Means

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Originally Published by: EHS Today — October 29, 2021
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As a construction company focused on building infrastructure projects, Yonkers Contracting Company (YCC) cites safety as the first of its core values. And that comes into play not only when it comes to keeping employees safe but in ensuring these vital highway, bridge, transit and other projects are not only built to last but built to protect the people who will travel on those projects for years to come.

“A successful project is more than a punch list of completed tasks and objectives,” points out Joe Corvello, corporate director of safety. “The manner in which these goals are accomplished is of equal importance. Protecting the well-being of workers, the general public and the environment, in addition to accomplishing the required tasks, is the hallmark of a truly successful project.”

Safest Company Award

YCC’s end goal, Corvello says, is to protect its workers from potential risk, and ensuring that everyone goes home at the end of the day free from harm. The company’s “See Something, Say Something” safety policy helps instill responsibility for safety in every employee. “Safety is a core value, not a priority, because priorities change based on business needs,” he notes.

One of those changing priorities, of course, was keeping construction projects going throughout the pandemic, which necessitated that all YCC employees needed to be thoroughly instructed on new safety protocols aligned with CDC and New York State Health Department requirements and guidelines. As Corvello notes, thanks to the company’s continued efforts, YCC has not had a single case of COVID-19 being transmitted from one worker to another on the job or in the office.

On a daily basis, employees attend safety briefings to ensure they fully understand the work assignment, all potential risks, and what safety controls will be required to prevent injury or incident. “All site workers (including subcontractors) receive Site Safety Orientations to review potential hazards and controls are established to minimize risk to workers, clients, and the general public,” he says.

Employees are encouraged to report unsafe acts or conditions without fear of retaliation. To that end, employees have apps on their cellphones to report any safety concerns. “We believe in individual self-pride and ownership when it comes to working safely, and we strongly believe in reinforcing positive behavior and understanding contributing factors for at-risk behavior.”

To be considered for an America's Safest Companies award, organizations must demonstrate excellence in several areas: support from leadership and management for EHS efforts; employee involvement in the EHS process; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; good communication about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.

The 2021 ASC awards will be presented during a ceremony at EHS Today’s Safety Leadership Conference 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. For a detailed look at this year's program and to register, go to www.safetyleadershipconference.com for all the details.