The DeFoe Corp:
Creating a Safety Culture: Keeping People Safe and Reducing Costs
By Charlie Androsiglio, Executive Vice President
The DeFoe Corp: The DeFoe Corp is a multi-million dollar, heavy civil contractor, specializing in heavy highway/ bridge and viaduct rehabilitation work in the New York metro area. In business for over 60 years, DeFoe started working with John McCarthy over 20 years ago. When he opened Pro Safety Services, LLC, we became one of his first clients. We started with a few projects, and today Pro Safety is the “go to” place for all of DeFoe’s safety needs.
The DeFoe Challenge: The work we do is very risky. Our people are demoing bridges and decks, or installing safety shields and cables. We’re working at high heights, and it’s a dangerous job. Safety was important but, we realized through John, the importance of having a dedicated safety manager along with a site specific safety plan.
We needed to ensure that our people were safe, and taking the proper safety precautions, at all times. At the same time, as we were getting bigger projects, clients and regulatory agencies were mandating that we have a safety manager on every site at all times. We needed to make safety a priority. We didn’t just want a program…we wanted to change our culture, and get everyone at our company to buy into it.
The Solution: Every job we get is different, with its own set of risks. Pro Safety provides ongoing consultation, with site specific plans for every job. Their team walks every site as if they were from OSHA, making inspections, giving us new ideas, answering questions and looking for deficiencies. More importantly, if they do find something, they work with us to correct it on the spot.
We also like the fact that Pro Safety is an outside consultant, as opposed to having an in-house safety director. They are constantly bringing us new ideas and best practices. They are also an independent business, with a reputation to protect; which means they can focus on our commitment to safety, without being swayed by any internal influences.
The Result: John and the team at Pro Safety have shown us the importance of having a safety culture. They have changed our way of thinking, and created a culture where our people are much more aware of what they should be doing…wearing hats, vests and goggles, tying off and understanding fall protection.
As a result, we are well below the industry average on our worker’s compensation modification rates, saving over 20 percent a year. These rates are a great indication that we keep our workers safe, helping us to lower our premiums with other insurance carriers.
When we present to agencies, our approach to safety is a big part of what we are selling…now, it’s who we are. With the work that we do, safety has to be our number one concern. Pro Safety has helped us to meet our top priority, making sure our people go home at night.