At Richard Goettle Inc., a construction contractor specializing in the design and installation of deep foundations, earth retention and marine structures, safety is considered more than a priority – it’s a value.
“Safety at Goettle is indeed a high priority. However, a priority can change, perhaps many times during the course of a day, so safety may not be the highest priority at any given time,” explains Rick Marshall, safety director. “A value, on the other hand … should never change. If we as employees of our company do not support safety as a value, then we will have lost our focus of being successful in the deep foundation industry.”
That attitude toward safety is evident in the company’s injury rates (or lack thereof): In 2010, Richard Goettle Inc. recorded a zero lost-time incident rate and days-away-from work rate.
Approximately 70 employees have received OSHA 30-hour training, which is performed in-house and tailored specifically for the deep foundation industry. All employees are welcome to discuss any safety, quality or productivity issues and ask questions, not only during the detailed pre-task checklist conducted prior to every shift, but at any time on the job.
The company isn’t reluctant to stop work if employees’ safety could be compromised, either. Recently, when it became clear that employees performing work for a power company would be unable to maintain the necessary 10-foot clearance from an energized power line, Richard Goettle’s superintendant convinced the power plant owner to move the location of the retaining wall to maintain the minimum clearance distance. The job then was completed on time and without injury.
Richard Goettle Inc. also shares its knowledge with others and contributes to a larger conversation about safety within the foundation drilling industry. The company is a long-standing member of ADSC: The International Association of Foundation Drilling. Furthermore, Safety Director Rick Marshall serves as the safety chairman of ADSC; worked with the cranes and derricks advisory committee for the new OSHA standard; and co-authored several OSHA safety alliances. The company also has created and hosted a classroom and field exercise demonstration of pile driving, rock anchor drilling, anchor testing and drilled shaft installation.
Giving back to the industry in this way not only allows the contractor to share its best practices and help others become safer, but also establishes Richard Goettle Inc. as a major safety leader in its field. “We are all leaders here at Richard Goettle Inc. and as such, we all need to focus on the big three – safety, quality and productivity,” Marshall says. “At times, we may need to re-set a priority, but we cannot change our support of the value of safety. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it.”
Richard Goettle Inc. accepting their awards at the American Safest Company awards ceremony at The Ritten House in Philadelphia, PA.
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Richard Goettle Inc.