Emphasis on trench safety brings NUCA recognition

July 11, 2023
JHL Constructors achieves gold in STAR Program

JHL Constructors, a fully integrated construction firm, was recently awarded the gold level by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) in its Safety, Training, Awareness and Recognition (STAR) Program. The Colorado-based and Colorado-focused firm, headquartered in Englewood, was recognized after completing the association’s new safety program.

“JHL Constructors strives to consistently challenge ourselves to improve our safety culture,” Chad White, safety manager, told Construction Equipment. “The NUCA STAR program allows us to compare our company against other contractors in the industry and see which areas we can further improve. This recognition means that we are on the right track to protect what matters most–our people.”

According to White, JHL’s safety program also pays particular attention to equipment safety.

“At JHL, heavy equipment is an integral part of our everyday work, particularly with tasks such as trenching and shoring installations,” he says. “When it comes to installing shoring safely and effectively, choosing the correct piece of equipment is key.

“This includes understanding load diagrams/ratings, maximum reach, swing and clearance, weight, etc. We also prioritize thorough training and evaluations for all our operators, ensuring their competence in handling, maintaining, and inspecting specific equipment,” White told Construction Equipment.

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As part of their dedication to safety, JHL recently participated in NUCA’s 2023 Trench Safety Stand Down Week, an initiative meant to educate on the potential hazards associated with trenches and excavation.

“All JHL employees that work in and around trenches receive excavation training,” White says. “Before commencing any work, dig permits are completed to prevent utility strikes, and supervisors conduct thorough excavation inspections prior to employees entering the trenches. Additionally, we classify all soils as Type C ensuring that our employees are covered with the highest degree of protection no matter if it is sloping or shoring.”

The NUCA STAR Program provides a venue for companies in the utility construction industry to measure the effectiveness of their safety programs and recognize how company programs can be improved. The ultimate goal of the program is to help industry members master one of the essential functions of a successful company—safety.

“Our NUCA STAR winners show strong dedication to creating and managing world-class safety programs on their job sites,” said Mike Flowers, NUCA’s director of safety, education, and training, in a statement. “Through their commitment to job site safety, their leadership ensures that their employees make it home safely when the working day is through.

“JHL’s executive commitment to safety was clearly demonstrated in the documentation they submitted with their NUCA STAR application. JHL Constructors has developed a top-notch safety program. Receiving the NUCA STAR Gold Level rating is huge accomplishment, and JHL Constructors is a superb example of a company devoted to safety excellence,” Flowers said.

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The STAR Program consists of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum and allows companies to review their processes and evaluate their safety programs’ strengths and potential areas of improvement in key areas that provide a lasting path to safety success. Evaluation areas are Leadership, Records Management, Culture, and Procedures.

The NUCA STAR Program provides a venue for companies in the utility construction industry to measure the effectiveness of their safety programs and recognize how company programs can be improved. The ultimate goal of the program is to help industry members master one of the essential functions of a successful company—safety.

“NUCA recognized our program for our dedication to training our field employees and our upper management’s commitment to safety,” White says. “A top-down approach shows our employees that we truly care about their safety.”

About the Author

Harlee Hewitt

Harlee is associate editor for Construction Equipment. She has a Bachelor's in English with a focus on technical writing.

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