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May 19, 2023

General Contractor Highway Civil Under 100,000 Worker Hours

Photo courtesy of Nova Group
All newly hired Nova employees and subcontractors attend a site-specific safety orientation.

Nova Group

Nova’s new hire orientation now includes The Capacity Model (TCM) 101, provided by its parent organization Quanta Services. This new safety philosophy focuses on building in the capacity to fail while accepting the reality that humans make mistakes and will fail eventually.

TCM focuses on human performance, the ability to fail safely, STKY (stuff that kills you) and the Energy Wheel (energy present at the jobsite).

All newly hired Nova employees and subcontractors attend a site-specific safety orientation. This custom-designed training program, entitled Safety Training and Orientation Program (STOP), provides new employees with Nova’s general safety orientation, including site-specific procedures emphasizing the OSHA Focus Four hazards in construction. This program also tests their knowledge and understanding, requiring a 100% passing score on over 35 questions. All new hires are issued “stop work authority” and empowered to speak up when an unsafe act or condition is witnessed. Nova’s open door policy is promoted during the safety orientation, encouraging and opening all lines of communication.

One of the key factors that makes Nova’s safety program so successful, enabling it to stand out from other contractors, is that Nova’s site safety and health officers (SSHOs) are extremely passionate towards safety and are qualified through experience and advanced certifications. SSHOs work closely with the corporate safety director, project managers, superintendents, foremen and craft workers. SSHOs are OSHA 500 level instructors and certified to teach through the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

SSHOs hold both the STS-C and CHST designations. Superintendents and foremen are STS-C certified and hold advanced safety management and OSHA certifications, including the OSHA 30-hour and/or EM-385 40-hour. OSHA 10-hour training is conducted on each project, with all hourly employees required to attend, and qualified rigger/signal person training is now being taught virtually for anyone involved in rigging activities.

Nova went digital this year, with several of its safety initiatives available to employees/management on their smart devices. For example, employees are encouraged to record a “good catch” on their phone, and they are also able to scan a QR code to take them directly to the Red Book so they can immediately and efficiently switch to and document a new unplanned task.

Nova also started sharing safety alerts from its sister companies, where each month a summary of incidents are reviewed with all hands and discussed as to how Nova can prevent these incidents. Safety alerts are generated for any and all incidents involving damage to equipment or injury to workers, including utility strikes, first aid only injuries, etc.

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