Keeping Safety at the Forefront

Kristi Pronovost Merit Shop Spokesman Blog

By: Douglas M. Dvorchak, 2019 Chair of the Board, ABC Keystone

It is hard to believe 2018 is in the rear view mirror. It was quite a year filled with many challenges as well as rewarding moments. I want to personally thank outgoing Chairman, Ken Schwebel, for the tireless effort he put forth the past year. Ken worked hard on the front line as well as behind the scenes to tackle issues head-on throughout year. I know I have some big shoes to fill in 2019. The good news for me is that we have an outstanding staff as well as many dedicated volunteer members. I look forward to the coming year. My promise for 2019 is that I will give all I can to carry the stewardship of this great organization.

ABC values economic freedom within a free-market economy, with open and fair competition and diverse participants constantly striving to achieve the highest levels of personal and company performance. Although I am not a contractor, I am well aware of the importance of the merit shop philosophy to our member firms. In my role as Chair I will use the merit shop philosophy as my compass to help enhance ABC Keystone.

Early in my career I worked as a Safety Consultant for 10 years. I have a real passion for safety, and I want all of our members to be as safe as possible. ABC Keystone can help. In 2019, my major initiative is to increase the number of contractor members involved in ABC’s STEP program (Safety Training Evaluation Process). ABC’s STEP program is a safety benchmarking and improvement tool that can dramatically improve safety performance among construction companies (as well as construction related companies) regardless of the size of the company. STEP is a process in which ABC member firms measure their safety processes and procedures on 20 key components. The goal is to identify where strengths and weaknesses lie within a safety program. The end goal is to improve, enhance or implement safety programs to increase jobsite safety. Although I am targeting contractor firms, associate and supplier members can also participate.

ABC National tracks the TRIR (Total Recordable Incident Rate) of all STEP participants versus statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Industry Average. In 2017 the BLS TRIR construction average was 3.0, which is to say that there were three recordable OSHA incidents per 100 workers. That same year the TRIR average for STEP participants was 0.8. In 2017, STEP
Diamond members’ TRIR average was 0.4. That is a 670% safer average than the BLS average! The STEP program has proven its worth over many years. My goal for ABC Keystone is to show all member companies the value of STEP and to grow the program dramatically. I will make the pledge to contact each contractor member that is currently not in STEP and counsel them on the benefits of the program as well as help them complete the on-line application.

Over the next few months I will outline other important initiatives I want to embark upon throughout the year. In 2019, I look forward to working with our Board of Directors, staff and all member firms. I have an open door. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns regarding ABC.

February 6, 2019