The Boldt Company, Appleton, WI, has been named one of “America's Safest Companies” by Occupational Hazards magazine, a leading safety journal.
Boldt was among 19 companies honored, including global firms such as Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Textron andRaytheon.
This is the sixth year of the national award, which recognizes firms for excellent safety history, participation in formalized safety programs, and independent research into the safety philosophy and programs.
“We were particularly impressed with the Boldt Thinking program and the fall-protection program,” said Sandy Smith, editor of Occupational Hazards. “We looked at their attitude of 'engineering out' hazards rather than protectingagainst them.”
Construction is widely recognized as one of the country's most dangerous professions. Despite that, Boldt has a lost-time injury rate of 1.1, well below the industry average of 2.
“For all of us, safety is about going home, but we are continually improving job sites and practices to be incident-free,” said Boldt Company COO Bob DeKoch.
Boldt tracks not only injuries, but also “near misses,” which helps it continually improve jobsite conditions and safety. As safety conditions improve, customers reap a direct benefit.
“Above all, we want our customers' job sites to be safe,” said Jeff Johnson, vice president of Human Relations. “But our safety record is one factor that determines our insurance renewal rates, so a safer job site directly translates into providing lower labor rates for our customers.”
Nationwide, The Boldt Company employs more than 1500 workers on hundreds of job sites.
Over the years, the firm has invested in jobsite equipment that maximizes safety. Aerial work platforms and state-of-the-art scaffolding minimize fall exposure. Roof striders and horizontal lifelines have been incorporated to protect personnel.
Boldt is also a pioneer in incorporating ergonomics on job sites, limiting repetitive-action injuries through job rotation for physical tasks such as jack hammering, use of anti-vibration gloves or lighter, fiberglass ladders.
However, Boldt safety directors credit training and building a safety culture with the company's safety success.
“We are focused on getting every employee personally focused on safety,” said Jeff Schilleman, corporate safety director. “Individuals are encouraged to more actively watch for field hazards rather than relying on a safety professional to do that job.”
In addition to formalized safety training for all company employees, sub contractors and office staff, the firm also follows these safety procedures:
- Executives travel to job sites to see firsthand how safety guidelines are followed.
- The firm holds company-wide, quarterly safety updates.
- Jobsites hold daily or twice-daily safety meetings, depending on the needs of each site. Employees are involved in a Safety Task Analysis, in which specific hazards are identified, discussed and resolved prior to performing work.
- The company's anonymous toll-free safety hotline makes it easy for office and jobsite employees to report safety problems.
- The Boldt Company's safety honors include: Wisconsin Corporate Safety Award, 2005-2007; AGC of Wisconsin Safety Award, 2005-2007; Milwaukee Construction Industry Safety Council Safety Award, 2007.