Stiles Construction has been working closely with the University of South Florida (USF), SafetyFlorida Consultation Program, for several years on multiple projects. Because of Stiles’ construction project success, USF SafetyFlorida encouraged the company to apply to participate in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). This program recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate exemplary safety and health programs. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles a company out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
Stiles Construction upper management has placed great emphasis on safety by putting together an experienced and dedicated safety team. They strive for growth and the betterment of their safety culture – not only within the Stiles organization, but also among their subcontractors. Stiles remains proactive in working with their subcontractors to expand safety training and occupational hazard awareness to working personnel across all projects. They believe in empowering every employee to remain proactive in educating one another and having the ability to stop work at any time in the event that a potential hazard presents itself.
During the July 12, 2019, initial visit to the Residence of Las Olas (R.O.L.O) site, USF SafetyFlorida consultants identified a few hazards, such as small floor openings and chemical products that contained illegible Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication (GHS) symbols. All hazards were promptly addressed and corrected. The floor openings were immediately covered and secured. The two products that contained unreadable GHS symbols consisted of a polyvinyl chloride primer and cement. The GHS symbols were inadvertently covered-up when tape was applied to attach the two cans of product together. The solution was to use transparent tape to ensure the GHS symbols remain visible at all times.
After the first consultation visit, implementation of employee training was one of the major business practices that changed. Stiles increased its on-site training in such disciplines as rigging, aerial lifts, powered industrial trucks, fall protection, and signaling.
From the time the Stiles Construction team began working with the USF SafetyFlorida, Consultation Program, illness and injury rates have progressively decreased. During the last six months of the project from January 1, 2019 to present, the injury and illness rate has been zero. This accomplishment is only possible because of an entire team effort from upper management to the hands-on employees in the field. The safety culture has not only grown, but it has also expanded to other Stiles projects.
While Stiles already had a pre-existing safety program in place, there was limited focus on the production of projects. Now, construction personnel not only focus on production, they also place an equal emphasis on workplace safety and health, demonstrating that with the appropriate preparation, both safety and production are achievable simultaneously.
News of the success and achievements at the R.O.L.O project has spread to other Stiles projects and to their South Florida competitors. These projects and competitors have become increasingly aware of R.O.L.O’s successful zero-incident rate. Becoming a member of SHARP helps to reinforce a positive safety culture and contributes to a lower experience modification rate, which reduces insurance premiums.