Judges give their top tips for a successful application for the annual awards, which recognize companies with excellent safety and loss prevention programs.
Does your company go above and beyond to keep its employees and job sites safe? Do you have measures in place that make yours a world-class safety program?
If you think you’ve got one of the best construction safety programs in the country, prove it. Applications for the Willis Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA), in partnership with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) are being accepted through Dec. 15, 2015.
What the Judges Look for
The CSEA recognizes those in construction who excel at safety performance, with a commitment to safety and occupational health management and risk control. However, unlike many other safety awards programs out there, the CSEA selection process is much more comprehensive.
Specifically, the judging panel looks at each application for company management commitment, active employee participation, safety training, work site hazard identification and control, and safety program innovation.
Applicants should demonstrate that their company shows a genuine concern for people, demonstrated with initiatives wellness programs, walking or exercise programs, weight loss activities, or other means. They should also show that they’ve adopted new forms of communication – such as social media or online videos – and technology like online training, audit programs and QR (barcode) scanning for training check-ins.
The CSEA application asks that entries demonstrate effective employee and management communication within the company as well as employee involvement at all levels – such as participation in safety committees, conduct of toolbox talks, and inclusion in inspections and investigations.
Senior management support should also be explained, demonstrating that upper management is involved in safety committees, field audits, and more. Safety should be mentioned at all levels, from meetings to presentations to email taglines.
Has your company focused on engineering for safety, working to eliminate hazards rather than prepare for them? Show the judges how you’ve worked to actively prevent problems from happening in the first place, rather than investing in gear to protect employees from the inevitable.
Also show that there is accountability in your organization. Demonstrate that safety rule violators and their supervisors are held responsible for their actions, and recognize those who go beyond the call of duty to ensure safety.
Demonstrate the different aspects of your company’s safety program, such as what makes your near-miss program effective and what your emergency action plans look like. How do you share your knowledge of safety with others around you, such as subcontractors and competitors?
How to Stand Out
In order to be in the top of the applicants, be sure to actively demonstrate all the topics presented rather than just taking about them. Brag about your company and provide specific examples of all answers, and also be prepared to respond to any questions regarding all statements in your application. If you’ve had accidents, be prepared to discuss them honestly.
Set your company apart. A fully developed application that demonstrates your organization’s commitment to safety is the key to reaching the finals.
A few more areas on which to focus:
• Demonstrated management commitment
• Staffing for safety
• Pre-project and pre-task planning
• Safety education, orientation and specialized training
• Observation of worker behaviors and safety perception surveys
• Evaluation and recognition or rewards
• Subcontractor management
• Accident or incident investigations
• Drug and alcohol testing
How to Enter
Companies must fill out a three-part application form that demonstrates their development and implementation of premier safety and risk control programs and their achievement of continuous improvement and maintenance of their health and safety management systems. Applications must be submitted either to your local AGC chapter or directly to the AGC of America, along with a $250 application fee. If submitted through the local AGC chapter, a nomination letter is also required.
Members of the AGC Safety and Health Committee will review all submittals at their annual committee meeting in January, and the top three finalists in each division – building, construction management, federal and heavy, utility infrastructure, specialty, and highway – will be notified that month as well.
Finalists will give a five-minute oral presentation to the CSEA’s judges March 6-9, 2016, during the 97th AGC Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The winners in each division will be announced at the Willis-sponsored Safety Awards Breakfast on March 10.
Tips for a Successful CSEA Application and Presentation
1. Genuine concern for people – wellness programs, walking/exercise programs, weight loss activities/initiatives, etc.
2. Employee communication – demonstrate the effectiveness of communication within your company.
3. Explore new forms of effective communication, such as use of social media – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
4. Technology – online training, audit programs, QR scan for training, etc.
5. Senior Management Support – involvement in all aspects of safety and safety communications.
6. Employee Involvement – safety committees, toolbox talks, inspections and accident investigations.
7. Focus on engineering out the hazard and the need for PPE – have examples.
8. Accountability – hold rule violators and their supervisors accountable and recognize those who go above and beyond.
9. Effective near-miss program – how does it work, and is it effective?
10. Emergency Action Plan – elements of plan and emergency exercises
11. Knowledge of safety – how you share with others and help subcontractors and competitors
12. Fully develop your application – answer all questions fully, and brag about your program
13. Don’t just talk about safety culture – be able to demonstrate it.
14. Be able to respond to questions relating to all statements in your application.
15. Demonstrate and have examples of what sets your company apart from others.