Photo courtesy of KHS&S Contractors
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America's Safest Companies 2021: KHS&S Contractors

Oct. 22, 2021
KHS&S Contractors has found that incorporating the human touch is a way to make safety personal for employees.

KHS&S Contractors
Anaheim, CA
1,000 employees | 5 sites | 5 EHS professionals

While an unusual name for a safety program, Human Element is the system that KHS&S Contractors uses to help employees recognize, avoid and prevent unsafe conditions. This system is based around three main ideas: Management Support, Training & Education, and Involvement.

“It is a reflection of our holistic approach to safety which requires the participation from senior management, field and project leadership, and our line employees,” explains Michael Cabrea, director of safety & risk control.

The program takes a visual approach using icons to identify hazards. Each hazard is placed into a category, which allows training to be targeted toward risk activity. Using a monthly visual displayed as a dashboard, everyone sees the data analysis. “We want to provide the tools to make it easier for our team members to be safe and productive while building our amazing projects,” Cabrea says.

To be considered for an America's Safest Companies award, organizations must demonstrate excellence in several areas: support from leadership and management for EHS efforts; employee involvement in the EHS process; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; good communication about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process. 

The 2021 ASC awards will be presented during a ceremony at EHS Today’s Safety Leadership Conference 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. For a detailed look at this year's program and to register, go to for all the details.

Employee participation is key to the program’s success, as employees are encouraged to share their concerns and/or unsafe conditions during the morning standup meetings or through a QR code system if the employee prefers to share concerns confidentially.

Measurement is part of the system as it quantifies hazards, trends, incidents, procedures, safety work practices and project specific concerns. These findings are shared with management and field personnel. “Ultimately, our business leaders use this data to set strategic visions and production targets while simultaneously valuing worker safety and health throughout the organization,” Cabrea says.

The rigors of the safety program have helped reduce accidents and frequency, which resulted in lower premiums. “These reduced premiums improve profitability and cash flow. This allows us to invest back in our employees,” Cabrea states. “However, safety is more than just a number. Our safety program improves innovation, productivity and morale.”

The result of using this program is that the company says it has one of the lowest Experience Modification Rates (EMR) in the industry and sets the bar for its competitors. “We’re proud of our safety performance and the recognition we’ve received because of that,” he says. “However, it’s most gratifying knowing our team members make safety in the field a priority every day. Because when it comes right down to it, safety isn’t expensive—it’s priceless.”

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