Members of the JCLDS program pose with NEPO, a doll used to teach team members about risks and consequences on the job site.

January 24, 2022

Rag Dolls and Games: Creative Training Leads to Safety Milestone

An international safety leader reflects on the imaginative steps taken to instill Haskell's Code of Safe Practices in places where safety hadn't been a priority.


Implementing and complying with Haskell's Code of Safe Practices in the construction industry is no easy task, so it is with tremendous pride that team members in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (JCLDS) program celebrate achieving 10 million manhours without a lost-time injury.

After building JCLDS Temple in Tijuana, Mexico, in 2016, we began to look for the strategy that would help us create and maintain Haskell culture of safety in countries where safety is not a priority of the construction industry.

Members of Haskell’s JCLDS program take great pride in the fact that they have pushed beyond 10 million manhours without a lost-time injury.

Our first efforts were in Latin America, specifically in Barranquilla, Colombia, and Quito, Ecuador, where, culturally, workers were reluctant to implement safe practices. We found that by using games and prizes, we were able to get people's attention and strategically involve them in prevention. With an average of 3,500 hours of safety training per month, it began to change their perspective and knowledge about safety.

In 2018, we arrived in the Philippines. It is a country with warm and hospitable people, but imparting our safety culture was a tremendous challenge because of communication barriers, since the workers speak mostly Tagalog – in its 117 dialects!

That is how NEPO (Nestor PO) was born. NEPO is a rag doll that made it easier for us to teach people in a visual way about risks and consequences on the job site. Doing this in a playful way was undoubtedly the best strategy we have implemented for safety culture training.

Why the name Nestor? Nestor was the first assistant surveyor of the project. Simply put, if there was someone insecure because of a lack of understanding about safety, it was Nestor. "I work without boots in the water to avoid dirtying them,” he would say. But after just two months, he had become our leading safety proponent. We believe that each of our team members will be a Nestor.

In the Philippines, we practice a people-first philosophy. There is nothing that works better than giving priority to people. If you want to see results in safety, think about the people, give them the necessary tools, earn their trust, teach them, make them feel an essential part of the team and work so that they are recognized for what they do.

In Puebla, Mexico, Haskell’s operations staff and those of our contractual partners lead by example, carrying out common activities such as the installation of reinforcing steel, assembly of scaffolding, manual transport of materials and sweeping, among others. As a result, people trust us and make safety a sustainable culture that affects not only workers but also their families.

"Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”

The level of service excellence among the LDS safety leaders – Jignyasu Joshi in Asia-Pacific and Hector Clavijo in Latin America – and of the contract partners has been tremendous. Joshi and Hector provide mentoring and opportunities that allow their team members to produce results while also advancing their careers.

Overall, the Haskell Safety professionals who lead each JCLDS Project (Tijuana, Barranquilla, Quito, Urdaneta, Alabang, Puebla, Davao, Kinshasa) do an excellent job fostering efficient prevention teams and promoting the professional development of contract partner personnel.

Ultimately, the leadership and commitment to safety that is evident throughout the organization and on each project has been fundamental to the success achieved. The sum of the good practices in each project and region has enabled us to reach the 10 million manhour milestone and has our sights set on even greater achievements.

About the author: Cesar Castro joined Haskell in 2016 and is Manager of the JCLDS Safety Program. A native of Colombia, he earned his International Diploma in Health-Safety-Environmental and Quality and is a credentialed Mining Professional and Mining Rescuer. He has 14 years’ experience in construction safety. He can be reached at

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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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