Photo courtesy of Middough
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America's Safest Companies 2021: Middough

Oct. 25, 2021
Middough employs champions to help ensure safety is consistently practice across worksites.

Middough | Engineering, architectural and program management
Cleveland, OH
370 employees | 8 sites | 9 EHS professionals

How do you ensure safety across sites? It’s a common challenge for organizations with multiple locations. Middough Inc. thinks it has the answer: EHS Champions.

Among other qualifications, EHS Champions must have or obtain OSHA’s 30-hour certification, steward incident reporting, maintain Safety Data Sheets and serve as a go-to resource for EHS support.

The company has elected one champion in each office to advocate, build awareness and implement its Safe by Choice program for EHS documentation and communication. It’s one way Middough (which was first named one of America’s Safest Company in 2016) is continuously improving its safety culture.

“Our Safe by Choice program keeps our employees knowing that we care about their safety and that they have a voice in it as we work toward a safe new normal of operation,” says EHS Manager Thomas Sexton.

In March 2020, Middough assembled a Pandemic Response Team comprised of Sexton, regional and corporate executives, EHS Champions and project site representatives. The company developed a COVID-19 protocol training video and quiz for employees through the Middough Learning Center. Middough required all employees to achieve a 100% score and complete a COVID-19 questionnaire before returning to work.

As workers are phased back into the workplace, Middough is looking to leverage its learning center. It’s all part of the Safe by Choice approach to embrace EHS in all Middough does, Sexton says.

“This entire program, process and progress is aiding in our ability to plan, manage risk and help sustain the growth of our business,” Sexton says. “The program allows us the flexibility to add elements such as Safe by Design and COVID-19 as we work for continuous improvement.”

Safe by Design focuses on cultural reinforcement of the importance of safety. Employees are trained to think about safety in their designs and through project review activities. Middough developed this process—which incorporates elements from NIOSH, OSHA, ANSI and CII—in conjunction with T. Michael Toole, Ph.D., then at Bucknell University.

Middough has also started a monthly EHS performance update to document progress on key performance indicators at both a regional and company level. These safety efforts are showing quantifiable improvement for both lagging and leading indicators.

Perhaps even more meaningful is that the number of employee safety observations grew to 5,328 in 2019, and employees continued to report observations even while working from home during COVID-19.

“We find that the more of these safety touches that happen helps us keep safety in the forefront of our culture,” Sexton says.

The company will continue to develop programs that protect its employees and their families. As Sexton explains, “We believe that safety is a lifetime opportunity and not only a work time requirement.”

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.

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