Unfortunately, many construction businesses see on-the-job accidents as an inevitable result of such tasks as hammering, cutting, hoisting, and other high-risk activities.

Charlie Bacon, CEO of mechanical design, construction, and service contractor Limbach Facility Services, has devoted his 30+ years in the industry to proving otherwise.

Shortly before Bacon joined Limbach in 2004, a horrific worksite fatality weakened morale throughout the company, encouraging him to develop the firm's award-winning safety program. This reinvigorated the workforce, while turning around the company's Workers Compensation record. In 2004, Limbach suffered 94 claims with net payables of $1.5 million. By 2011, the number of claims had plummeted to 31, with only $170,000 in net payables -- and slashed Workers Comp premiums dramatically.

Limbaugh's Incident and Injury-Free (IIF) program focuses on modifying behavior. Says Bacon, "We want people to choose to be safe instead of being told to be safe." IFF includes a variety of elements:

  • Every worker signs a personal-commitment card, pledging allegiance to a safe workplace.
  • A safety-training exercise asks workers to write the letter they would want their families to receive if they were killed on the job.
  • Any employee has the right to stop what they're doing if they believe that they cannot work safely.
  • Each company office has a full-time safety manager who develops technical recommendations, champions the safety culture, and keeps in touch with injured employees throughout the claims process.
  • At the end of every day, work crews hold a "huddle" to discuss any safety issues.
  • Whenever there's an accident (or even a near miss), managers must provide written "Safety Alerts," which are the first items discussed at the weekly meeting of top management.

What's not to like?

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