Reaching a Million

Man in yellow hardhat working on electrical switches

June 9, 2022

If you walk into Interstates as a visitor or start your first day on the job, you’ll likely hear something about safety. We want you to leave the same way you came. Rules don’t keep people safe; culture does. We’re committed to a zero-injury culture. After a month of working at Interstates, you’ve probably heard them more than once, especially if you’re on the job site. These reminders and phrases are just part of our behavior-based safety culture. It’s also a testament to how we’ve reached a major milestone, a million work hours without a recordable injury.

A Safety Milestone

A million consecutive work hours without a recordable is a rare feat in our industry. Fewer than 100 other contractors have done this in the United States, and this is our 3rd time. This means we had a million working hours safe across all our job sites without a recordable injury. Our teams across all our job sites are committed to safety. They are finding ways to work safer and put a “zero-injury culture” into practice. Ian Seuser said it best. “To reach this goal, we required support and buy-in at every level of our organization. And we needed field leaders that believed in the importance of the well-being of all our team members.” This was not an individual effort. Each team member played a part in reaching this goal.

During our journey towards this goal, we also had above industry average EMR (0.61), TRIR (0.85), and DART (0.47) ratings. According to safety industry consultants, we ranked in the top 95th percentile for safety. We’ve also proudly received safety awards from Associated Builders and Contractors, Construction Users Round Table, and the South Dakota Safety Council.

Putting Safety Into Practice

To instill this commitment to safety, we adopted a behavioral-based safety culture that continues to evolve and stretch our people. This culture is proactive rather than reactive and is comprehensive starting from day one at Interstates. Our field team members are fully immersed in our safety culture during onboarding. They participate in our Short Service Employee management program as a mentee. They learn about the Interstates Core and skills to prevent work-related injuries from the start. Scott Heynen, a Service Foreman at Interstates, gives all new team members advice, “Ask a lot of questions. It’s the only way to learn. It’s the only way to be safe.”

Safety doesn’t stop there. Our leaders have continuous safety education, and all team members attend morning safety briefings for their job site. In addition, our Environmental Safety and Health Program meets and exceeds OSHA requirements. Kyle Jones, a Foreman at Interstates, stresses the importance of practicing these rules. “Rules have been created because something has happened…they’ve had to take the hard lesson and learn the hard way.” We take the rules and requirements seriously, so our people don’t have to go through the hard lessons.

Continuing the Safety Journey

Even with these critical steps already in place, our safety team is always looking for ways to develop. Lockton, our insurance provider, took a deep dive into our safety and provided the highest score they’ve given in their survey. They helped us develop an action plan for improvements. A few ways we’re doing this are by sharing our safety goals across the organization and providing more recognition for safety achievements. Seuser shares his passion for safety, “None of this is possible without the little things—the processes, rules, and doing the right thing to get our people home safe. Without this, you can’t build a strong safety culture.” This belief comes not only from leaders but those doing the work. To get to the heart of why our people work safe, our Interstates leaders are listening to these unique stories and reasons. Each story is another piece of our safety culture.

Next time you talk with Interstates, whether as a client or a future teammate, ask about our safety. The odds are they’re passionate and ready to talk about why they work safely.