February 19, 2021

Haskell’s SafeMatters Jobsite Safety Orientation Receives Training’s Prestigious Best Practice Award

The quick and convenient online course has contributed to a significant improvement in safety performance.


Each year, along with honoring the best workplace educational programs across industries in the United States and around the world, Training Magazine awards five – and only five – Best Practice Awards.

For the third consecutive year, Haskell has won one of them.

Along with recording a No. 3 ranking in the Training Top 100, its highest ever, Haskell this year was chosen for a Best Practice Award from a field of more than 400+ entries for its SafeMatters Jobsite Safety Orientation program.

In previous years Haskell received Best Practices Awards for its Blended Technical training and Program for Manager Development (PMD) training programs.

Haskell has been a member of the exclusive Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Diamond Level for Safety for more than a decade. The SafeMatters training program is a recent example of the innovative programs that have made it an industry leader.

“Every Haskell employee or contract worker must satisfactorily complete the Safe Matters course before they are allowed on a jobsite. Created in 2018 as part of the Haskell 2025 Strategic Vision, the curriculum was developed to exceed OSHA standards in many areas and tailored to meet Haskell’s specific needs,” Technical Training Manager Michael McLauchlan said.

“Our vision was to have more of a Haskell impact on safety,” McLauchlan said. “Let’s bring Haskell’s safety vision to the jobsite.”

Rather than have workers spend the first day on the job listening to a lengthy classroom-style orientation, SafeMatters is web-based and available on computer, tablet or mobile devices. The course is broken into seven specific segments, each averaging less than five minutes. After each segment, workers are tested on comprehension of that segment’s material. The entire SafeMatters orientation can be completed in less than an hour.

The segments are:

  • General Work Rules
  • Electrical Safety
  • Trenching and Excavation
  • Fire Protection and Tools
  • Vehicles and Equipment
  • Work at Elevations
  • Additional Safety Practices

The course’s goal is to educate the project workforce in safe practices rather than how to get a passing grade on a test.

“We can test for comprehension immediately upon completing a segment” McLauchlan said. “They can’t go to the next segment until they pass the one prior. The learning builds on itself.”

A SafeMatters sticker is applied to the worker’s hardhat once they have completed the course, easily identifying accredited workers. Those who have received the sticker can work on other Haskell projects within that year without having to retake the SafeMatters orientation.

The program is also unique in that each segment is taught by Haskell Director of Safety Brian Roundtree and safety and support team members rather than actors. This makes the information more authentic and relevant. The orientation is available in English and Spanish.

“We start the course with (CEO) Jim O’Leary and (COO) John-Paul Saenz speaking to the importance of safety on the jobsite. Haskell team members delivering the content personalizes the training,” McLauchlan explained.

This approach illustrates Haskell’s commitment and investment in safety. SafeMatters graduates take safety seriously. Supervisors report that team members are more apt to point out an unsafe act or condition than before, when third-party training materials were used.

“There is added value for the contractor”, McLauchlan said. “The hardhat designation lets other companies know that this crew works to Haskell’s superior safety standard.”

Since workers began taking the program in February 2019, more than 23,000 Haskell team members and contract workers have taken the course, coordinated by Sarah Richards, Haskell’s Technical Training Coordinator, on the Safematters.com website. The SafeMatters Jobsite Orientation has contributed to the following:

  • 51 percent reduction in Recordable Incident Rate (RIR) over a 3-year period since 2018 SafeMatters adoption.
  • 53 percent reduction in RIR (.36) as compared to 2019 RIR (0.77) while executing in excess of 3.3 million manhours (BLS Industry Peer RIR – 2.5).
  • 41 percent reduction in the severity of incidents (DART Rate) since adoption.
  • 40 percent reduction in Trade Partner incidents (Work-in-Place Rate) since adoption.
  • Enhanced Mobile Equipment Work Platform (MEWP) SafeMatters orientation focus has contributed to increased awareness and potential incident prevention in an area where the industry has experienced significant issues.
  • SafeMatters Jobsite Orientation has contributed to industry safety by teaching best practices and safety awareness extending well beyond Haskell project fence lines following project completions.

“We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” McLauchlan said. “Our goal is ZERO accidents, incidents, or injuries, and we strive each day to get as close to zero as we possibly can.”

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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