"Safety first" is standard operating procedure and a condition of employment at Merit. At Merit’s founding, company leaders committed to an aggressive and proactive safety program. We’ve been an Iowa leader in construction safety ever since. Merit’s program works because safety goals, expectations and requirements are communicated clearly on a companywide basis. Continuous safety improvement is an essential part of our strategic planning and our Total Quality Management culture.
Award-winning Safety Program:
Iowa OSHA and Master Builders of Iowa (MBI) presented Merit with the Outstanding Safety Achievement Award at MBI’s annual convention in 2009. This is the most prestigious construction industry award in Iowa. It encourages and recognizes significant achievements in workplace safety.
Merit also received the National Safety Council’s 2009 Occupational Excellence Achievement Award for the construction industry. We were selected for the honor, in part, due to Merit’s six straight years with no lost time due to injuries.
Company safety goals:
- Zero injuries
- Drug-free workplace
- Employee accountability
- Employee empowerment to identify and immediately correct unsafe conditions
Safety communication channels:
- Frequent safety training at all levels
- Staff and superintendent safety meetings
- Weekly Toolbox Safety Talks
- On-site safety training through videos, demonstrations and hands-on practice
- Safety memos and company newsletter articles
- Incident/injury reviews
- On-site reference materials, including OSHA 1926 Construction Safety Standards, 350-page Company Safety Manual and MSDS book
Comprehensive safety requirements:
- Written safety rules and responsibilities
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements
- Hazard prevention and control through job safety analysis (JSA)
- Emergency planning/preparation and medical assistance program
- Safety training and education for every employee
- Specific safety programs for hazard communication, respiratory protection, confined-space entry and lockout/tagout and blood-borne illness protection
- Daily site safety inspections
Merit’s project superintendents conduct daily safety inspections and send weekly reports to the company’s safety director. The safety director conducts frequent site safety audits and works with superintendents and project managers to correct any potential problems in an aggressive, proactive manner.
Merit complies with all OSHA requirements. We train employees to inspect their tools and equipment before use and we keep detailed records of the inspections we perform on tools, equipment and worksites.
On average, Merit employees receive 32 hours of safety training a year. We are constantly updating our training programs and developing new ones to meet future needs.
Merit’s weekly Toolbox Safety Talks cover basic safety rules as well as specific topics such as electrical safety and power tool usage. Employees conduct the talks and welcome additional input from their coworkers. The result is a strong sense of employee ownership in Merit’s safety program.