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A Culture of Safety

Woodard & Curran holds the health and safety of our employees, contractors, clients, and the public in highest regard. Creating a safe work environment is a key behavior that we uphold as part of our core value to put people first. In our 2021 employee engagement survey, 98 percent of employees agreed that health and safety (H&S) is valued at Woodard & Curran and 96 percent understand their role in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. Our commitment to trainings, our incident rate history, and continuous improvement of our systems and indicators reflect these sentiments.

Rebounding our training resources

While we had redirected resources in 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19, in 2021, while continuing to communicate and enforce COVID-19 relevant H&S practices, we were able to direct our attention to the development of more in-person trainings, which had been deferred in 2020. Our 2021 training figures saw an increase, partially due to the inclusion of an extensive Return to Office plan and trainings.

Chart of safety training hours per employee

Since we started comprehensively reporting our H&S training data in 2016, we have grown our employee headcount and continued our focus on expanding trainings. Our total annual hours of trainings have increased by over 120 percent from 2016 to 2021. We have maintained our overall average of approximately 8 hours of training per employee, reaching over 11 hours in 2021 with a higher number of in-person trainings after a 2020 decrease.

Our incident rates reflect our training efforts

Expanding our H&S trainings has proven effective, according to our incident rate history. Since 2016, our Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) for our Consulting and Corporate Services teams has ranged from 0 to 0.7; though slightly higher in 2020 and 2021, it is still 7 percent below the industry average.1&2  Our O&M business TRIR has seen continuous improvements from the 2016 rate, down from 4.7 in 2016 to 1.1 in 2021; the 2021 rate was 80 percent below the industry average.

Chart of TRIR by Woodard & Curran business unit

With the exception of 2020 when we experienced two ergonomic-related incidents due to the shift in work settings, our Days Away, Restrictions, and Transfers rates (DART) remained zero from 2016 to 2021 for our Consulting & Corporate Services teams. Our O&M DART rate has remained low or at zero since the 2.6 rate was reported for 2016. In 2019, we separated Woodard & Curran Constructors hours worked and incidents recorded, and that business continues to report zero TRIR and DART rates.3

Chart of DART by Woodard & Curran business unit

Moving forward: from lagging to leading

In early 2021, we introduced the H&S Hub, software built into the background of our internal H&S page that integrates most of our existing H&S processes, making it easier for employees to report, track, and manage key safety data.

Historically, our H&S program metrics had mainly focused on lagging indicators (e.g., the TRIR and DART metrics), which track injuries that have already occurred. While necessary, those indicators alone don’t adequately assess the performance of a safety program. Since the introduction of the Hub, our H&S team has been identifying new and leading safety indicators, i.e., the proactive actions that measure prevention efforts observed and recorded prior to an injury. The introduction of the Hub has provided a platform to continually encourage communicating these instances. To date we have defined nine observation-based, operations-based, or systems-based leading indicators.

Over the next year, as part of our company’s forward-looking strategy to expand our sustainability solutions and commitments, we’ll be reevaluating our strategies and goals. This will include reaffirming the components and efforts that align with our H&S programs and resources, including what we define as our key performance indicators. We will be finalizing which leading indicators have the most impact to drive continuous improvement of the safety program and incorporate those into our future reporting efforts.


 Footnotes

The 2019 TRIR industry average for O&M (municipal and private water sewerage industries) is 5.4 (NAICS 221300) and DART industry average for O&M (municipal and private water sewerage industries) is 3 (NAICS 221300). The 2019 TRIR industry average for engineering consulting and corporate business areas is 0.71 (NAICS Code 541300). The 2019 DART industry average for engineering consulting and corporate business areas is 0.31 (NAICS Code 541300).
TRIR is the number of recordable incidents per 200,000 hours worked. DART is based on the number of hours, per 200,000 requiring “days away, restrictions, and transfers.”
Our Woodard & Curran Constructors business delivers design-build projects as the prime design-build entity, in a joint venture with a trusted design-build partner, or as a design subconsultant to a trusted design-build contractor.

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