Western Earns Lowest Safety Rating in 100+ Year History

Western Specialty Contractors is proud to announce that in 2016 it achieved its lowest OSHA Total Recordable Rate in the company’s more than 100-year history. Western finished the year with a rating of 1.95; surpassing its previous best rating of 2.73 in 2014.

“As a point of reference, the industry average for our work classification is 3.8. We are almost two full points better than our competitors,” said Western Safety Director Eric Olson. “We also completed the month of December with zero OSHA Recordable Injuries.”

The OSHA Recordable Rate is based on injury and illness rates per 100 workers and is used to evaluate a company’s safety measures. This number is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the rate of accidents and illnesses by categories, such as industry, company size and region.

Western’s 1.95 rating is a lofty achievement in safety considering that its line of work often requires employees to work hundreds of feet in the air on suspended scaffolds, underground in crumbling parking garages and perched atop precarious roofs, structures and monuments. Not to mention working daily with hand and power tools, lifting and carrying heavy materials, working in confined spaces and encountering a variety of environmental exposures.

An industry leader in workplace safety, Western has evolved its safety programs over the decades from the basic compliance initiatives to advanced programs that address ergonomic and soft tissue injuries. Western has also initiated a climate for safety that empowers employees to proactively take steps to evaluate their own job site activities and correct procedures to prevent accidents.

Olson also attributes Western’s outstanding OSHA safety rating to the implementation of several new safety policies and measures, including:

  • Implementation of an “outside medical direction” which allows individuals to diagnose occupational injuries over the phone or via Skype or FaceTime.
  • A new policy that requires all employees on a job site to wear gloves at all times, except under specific circumstances.
  • A new employee mentor program where new employees are set up with a lead craftsman or foreman for their first six months to learn the trade. After that, new employees are evaluated on their trade skill development and safety knowledge.
  • A focus on ergonomics or body mechanics where carts, dollies and forklifts are utilized to minimize soft tissue injuries.
  • A policy that requires all employees who have worked more than 700 hours to complete an OSHA 10-hour course. Additionally, foremen are required to complete 30 hours of OSHA training and are also certified in CPR/First Aid/AED.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our safety department and our employees for their dedication to safety and for achieving such a historic safety rating for Western,” said Jim Rechtin, COO at Western. “It’s even more incredible that we were able to achieve it, taking into account that we averaged over 900 workers and 2.1 million labor hours in 2016. At Western, safety will never be compromised. Our message is clear; if you want to work for Western, be prepared to make safety a priority.”

Western Specialty Contractors Hires Tanya Shepherd as Regional Business Development Manager

Western Specialty Contractors has hired Tanya Shepherd of Hillsboro, MO as Regional Business Development Manager.

In her new position, Shepherd will develop opportunities to initiate the sale of Western's services, assist with the implementation of branch marketing goals and action plans, develop and maintain relationships with current and potential clients, provide customer support and prepare client proposals. Her territory will consist of the following branches: St. Louis Masonry, St. Louis Roofing, Indianapolis, Little Rock, Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale.

Shepherd has eight years of property management experience, having previously worked as a Property Manager at Cushman & Wakefield in St. Louis, MO. She has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Missouri Baptist University and a real estate license.

Western Specialty Contractors Appoints Damon Matthew Branch Manager of Omaha Office

Western Specialty Contractors has appointed Damon Matthew of Omaha, NE as Branch Manager of its Omaha, NE office.

The Omaha office has served customers throughout Nebraska and South Dakota since 1956. Services include: building cleaning, concrete and masonry restoration, EIFS restoration/recoating, epoxy and chemical grout injection, expansion joint system installation, exterior wall coating application, parking garage restoration and waterproofing.

Matthew has 19 years of restoration industry experience, having previously worked 12 years at Western Specialty Contractor's Kansas City, MO branch as a laborer, project manager and estimator. Following Western, he held branch manager and estimator positions at C&M Restoration, Performance Contracting, Goedecke and Blakley Corp., before returning to Western as Branch Manager of the Omaha office.

“Damon has proven himself through his past experiences to be an asset to Western Specialty Contractors,” said Mike Mercier, Western Specialty Contractors Vice-President of Operations. “His previous experience in branch management, as well as in the field, made him ideal candidate to manage our busy Omaha branch location. We are looking forward to his continued success in his new role at Western.”

Matthew has a Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State University and is a member of the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI).