Thomas & Marker Construction became involved with the OSHA Challenge Pilot in the fall of 2005. The Ohio Valley Chapter of Associate Builders and Contractors (ABC) serves as the OSHA Challenge Administrator for Thomas & Marker. The role of a Challenge Administrator is to assist, encourage, track, and report on progress made by the Challenge Participant.
Challenge provided an avenue for Thomas & Marker to, according to Safety Manager, Kyle Koschalk, "take their safety program to the next level." As one of the first general contractors in the nation to enter Challenge, Thomas & Marker found the pilot to be an invaluable tool for strengthening their safety and health management system (SHMS). Besides providing a roadmap for application into OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), participating in Challenge also enabled the company to perform a gap analysis and establish benchmarks to measure performance within their SHMS.
As a result of participating in Challenge, Thomas & Marker has been able to put a comprehensive and effective SHMS in place - resulting in reduced workers' compensation claims, a lower Experience Modifier Rate (EMR), and contributing to the bottom line. More specifically, over the past three years, the company experienced a 75 percent reduction in workers' compensation claims, a 97 percent reduction in workers' compensation claims costs, and their EMR dropped from 0.91 in 2003 to 0.47 in 2007.
The company has also experienced a 45 percent reduction in their OSHA Recordable Incident Rate and their Lost Time Incident Rate (LTIR) declined by 69 percent. Thomas & Marker firmly attributes these dramatic reductions to their participation in OSHA's Challenge Pilot and their pursuit of OSHA's coveted VPP status. Other attributes include increased employee awareness and involvement in safety and health issues, and a strengthening of the company's SHMS.
Beyond experiencing financial benefits, Challenge participants also report increases in employee morale and ownership of the site's SHMS. For example, employees have become more involved in leading critical aspects of the SHMS, including conducting self-inspections and accident investigations or suggesting improvements to specific safety policies. By empowering them with the necessary tools and knowledge, they have been the real champions (and beneficiaries) of the company's success and have continued to "challenge" their own safety performance with successful results.
We had a strong safety program in place before Challenge, but we wanted our associates to really buy further into it and take personal responsibility for implementing it.Randall Marker, President, Thomas & Marker Construction
Thomas & Marker has met OSHA's "Challenge" and is currently in the application process for approval into the VPP Mobile Workforce Demonstration for Construction pilot.
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