Stellar, an architecture, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm, has earned the Associated Builders and Contractors' (ABC) highest national safety designation for 2011-the Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) Diamond-level award. Stellar was the only contractor in the Florida First Coast Chapter (with more than 140 member companies), and one of only four in Florida, to earn Diamond status.
There are six levels of STEP achievement: Participant, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Member companies that achieve Diamond status-a new level established just last year-are an elite group. More than 2,100 ABC contractor members applied for the STEP program in 2011, with just 94 members achieving STEP Diamond status.
"Our most important goal is to send our employees and subcontractors home safe to their families, every day," said Philip Hinrichs, Stellar's Vice President of Risk Management. "That's why we develop a job-specific safety plan for each and every project and perform safety audits on a regular basis. We're proud to see these efforts recognized."
Stellar has achieved STEP certification 16 years in a row. Now widely accepted as the construction industry's standard measure of safety performance, the STEP awards were established in 1989 to evaluate and improve safety practices and recognize outstanding safety efforts. The award criteria include two industry benchmarks-the experience modification rate (EMR), which is applied to workers' compensation premiums, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) recordable injury and illness incidence rates (measured by the number of incidents per 100 employees per year).
STEP Diamond recipients must have long-term records of exceptional safety performance, with EMRs at or below 0.7 (a significantly lower rate than the national average of 1.0) and average incidence rates at least 50 percent below construction industry averages. EMRs, developed by the insurance industry, are based on comparisons of firms doing similar types of work. Lower rates, meaning that fewer or less-severe accidents occurred, result in lower insurance costs. BD+C