A Florida construction company has logged 0 injuries and illnesses this year, after a steady decline in incidents that the company attributes to working with the University of South Florida (USF), SafetyFlorida Consultation Program. Stile Construction’s workplace safety success has earned it membership in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) program, which recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate exemplary safety and health programs. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles a company out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
Stiles Construction Team on the R.O.L.O. project with SHARP Flag
Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Stiles Construction is a privately held company with 250 employees that specializes in high-rise residential, mixed use residential, car dealerships, parking garages, supermarkets, and municipal work.
Stiles Construction has been working closely with the USF program for several years on multiple projects. For a recent project, the Residence of Las Olas (R.O.L.O), USF SafetyFlorida consultants did a walk-through inspection of the site on July 12, 2019. The consultants identified a few hazards, such as small floor openings and chemical products that contained illegible Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication (GHS) symbols. All hazards were promptly addressed and corrected. The floor openings were immediately covered and secured. The two products that contained unreadable GHS symbols consisted of a polyvinyl chloride primer and cement. The GHS symbols were inadvertently covered-up when tape was applied to attach the two cans of product together. The solution was to use transparent tape to ensure the GHS symbols remain visible at all times.
After the first consultation visit, implementation of employee training was one of the major business practices that changed. Stiles increased its on-site training in such disciplines as rigging, aerial lifts, powered industrial trucks, fall protection, and signaling.
Stiles Construction Safety Committee on Residence of Las Olas Project. Left to Right: Brian Landon, Stiles Construction, Safety Mgr. Paul Ortolani, Stiles Construction, Safety Director Ian Schwartz, Stiles Construction, Vice president, Condell Eastman, OSHA District Administrator Gabriel Garcia, USF Consultation Supervisor Joe Alvarez, Stiles Construction, Safety Mgr.
“The knowledge and expertise provided by USF personnel has proven invaluable,” said Ian Schwartz, Vice President of Operations. “Our experience with USF SafetyFlorida has been nothing short of positive. In fact, on-site consultation has been fully integrated into our Safety and Health Management approach. I would definitely recommend this service to small and medium-sized businesses operating in high hazard industries.”
According to Schwartz, Stiles Construction’s upper management has placed great emphasis on safety by putting together an experienced and dedicated safety team. They strive for growth and the betterment of their safety culture – not only within the Stiles organization, but also among their subcontractors. Stiles remains proactive in working with their subcontractors to expand safety training and occupational hazard awareness to working personnel across all projects. They believe in empowering every employee to remain proactive in educating one another and having the ability to stop work at any time in the event that a potential hazard presents itself.
While Stiles already had a pre-existing safety program in place, there was limited focus on the production of projects. Now, construction personnel not only focus on production, they also place an equal emphasis on workplace safety and health, demonstrating that with the appropriate preparation, both safety and production are achievable simultaneously.
News of the success and achievements at the R.O.L.O project has spread to other Stiles projects and to their South Florida competitors. These projects and competitors have become increasingly aware of R.O.L.O’s successful zero-incident rate. The company says that becoming a member of SHARP helps to reinforce a positive safety culture and contributes to a lower experience modification rate, which reduces insurance premiums.
Stiles Construction is a part of Stiles Corporation, a full-service commercial real estate firm with a clear mission: Invest. Build. Manage. Stiles services include development, construction, tenant project management, brokerage, property management, architecture, asset management, acquisitions, and financing.
Shown above: USF SafetyFlorida Management Staff and Stiles Construction Team. Left to Right: William Tomlin, USF Consultation Supervisor, Mylene Kellerman, Assistant Director, Omar Estrada, Stiles Construction, Safety Mgr., Lazaro Lugo, Go-Tilt, Safety Director, Dr. Brian L. Warrick, USF SafetyFlorida Program Director, Joe Alvarez, Stiles Construction, Safety Mgr., Paul Ortolani, Stiles Construction, Safety Director, Gabriel (Gabe) Garcia, USF Consultation Supervisor, Fernando Gonzalez, GonSafe, Consultant, Keith Brown, USF Consultation Supervisor, Christopher Arana, Professional Plumbing, Supervisor, and Brian Landon, Stiles Construction, Safety Mgr.