February is the month for the Construction Angels Gala.  Construction Angels is a loving non-profit who’s directors are on call 24/7 to assist when the unimaginable occurs: a construction fatality. The gala serves as a means by which to gather people to raise funds and awareness. If you wonder why they are needed 24/7, it is because men and women who serve in our industry, building our roads or working second and third shifts on commercial or industrial projects, are required by time and/or logistics to go beyond the 7-7 window.

Michelle Anaya DePotter, CEO of AGC East Florida Chapter, was the keynote speaker this year. She shared the staggering statistics on fatalities, and just in Florida alone, 75-100 construction employees’ lives are lost per year.  In 2018, out of 5,250 total workplace fatalities in the country, twenty percent of these were in construction.  Of course, even one would be too many, but just contemplate for a moment that 1000 people working in construction each year do not go home to their families.

Construction Angels, founded in 2011, is now in twelve of the fifty states.  Kristi Gibbs, its founder, hopes to be in fifty states by the time she reaches fifty years old, nine years from now.

My three minutes at the podium was spent encouraging each person to do their part to both decrease fatalities and participate in this charity that helps so many when the unimaginable occurs.

Here are some of the ways you can help as a leader, followed by ways you can help as a supporter of Construction Angels.

  1. Hire or promote someone within your company who is passionate about safety and people. This person should work within your organization to own the safety program for your company. This person does not necessarily need to be a safety professional.  They just need to own the program and act as a coach or facilitator and not as a drill sergeant.  They should understand that safety is a lifestyle that people either instill in their hearts or do not.  If this person is not a certified OSHA instructor, then they will hire the inside/outside professionals and monitor their success. Oftentimes this is a human resource or office management professional supporting an executive, as they tend to be able to dedicate the time better than the busy executive solely by himself.
  2. Budget for safety in your operating budget, general conditions and budget extra when logistics of your projects have added or unknown risk. Training, safety leadership and the right safety equipment are keys for starters.
  3. As a CEO or Executive team member, support the people within your organization who are responsible for safety. Take the ownership yourself to help the person or persons leading your safety initiatives to understand the right balance for your safety protocols. They may not understand when you are communicating time and budget restraints of a project that you are not trying to abandon safety measures, but are rather asking them to adjust the program to the project. At the same time, you must never sacrifice the mission of “Everyone to leave the job at the end of the day the way they arrived.”

There are many outside safety consulting firms who offer affordable programs and trained and supervised safety professionals. If you would like a referral to a firm or help hiring an inhouse safety manager, please don’t hesitate to call.

Ways you can help support Construction Angels:

  • Construction Angels is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that provides immediate financial assistance and grief counseling to the children and spouse left behind when a construction worker has a fatality on the job site. They offer the opportunity to donate once or have reoccurring donations of any amount towards their charity to help families in need.
  • Become a State or National sponsor. Your donations will not only help aid families immediately following a death of a loved one but will contribute to the Construction Angels scholarship fund that continues to help the family members who lost a loved one with education.

Construction Angels Employee Payroll Deduction Program. This program will help provide continued  support to the children and spouse of the deceased when a construction worker suffers a fatality on the jobsite.

  • Giving Tuesday is a special day, December 1, 2020, and Construction Angels is an approved Charity.
  • When you shop at Amazon.com, Amazon will donate .5% directly to The Construction Angels Charity! Please Use ‘AMAZON SMILE’ every time you shop on Amazon! It will help your designated charity and it costs you NOTHING!
  • Construction Angels relies primarily on fundraisers, associations, corporate sponsors and donations to aid devastated families, and has been effectively gaining the support of local and national construction associations, companies and corporate sponsorships. There are local and national events you can attend to help Construction angels meet their goal of helping the families in need of assistance.
  • Jennifer McCloskey, CA National Coordinator is headed to California next month to kick off a chapter there. Kristi, Jennifer and the construction angels’ team would like to hear from you if you can help in your state.

Please take the time to comment how you have found success with safety in your organization and how you are helping Kristi and the Construction Angels to reach or exceed the goal of “Fifty by Fifty”.

Suzanne Breistol

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