Comfort Systems USA, Inc., Senior Safety Team Honored for Inventive Loss Control Program

Release Date: October 27, 2008
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LAS VEGAS—The Senior Safety Team of Comfort Systems, USA, Inc., was honored with the Gary E. Bird Horizon Award at the 28th IRMI Construction Risk Conference. Team leader Andrew D. Estrada accepted the award along with team members Rusty Buller and Gordon Cazella. The award was bestowed on the group for devising a program to develop the leadership skills in frontline supervisors and middle managers to improve safety and risk control results. This program has led to significant reductions in both worker injuries and auto accidents with attendant decreases in self-insured and insurance costs. In 2007, workers comp losses were $7.9M less than 2002, based on a reduction in loss rate of $2.63 per $100 of payroll for a company with $300M annual payroll. In 2007, auto claim losses were over $2.5M less than 2001, based on a reduction in loss rate of $947 per vehicle per year for a company with a fleet of 2,700 vehicles.

The Gary E. Bird Horizon Award is presented annually by IRMI to recognize a demonstrated commitment to improving construction risk management through the implementation of innovative, cost-effective, and efficient risk management techniques.

The panel of industry experts that judged the award submissions made insightful comments about the winning submission. "The team recognized the void and built the right resources and skills at the right level in the organization," offered one judge. Another judge remarked that "it is nice to see the trend of leadership versus management applied in a safety context. Safety behavior/culture can only be sustained if leadership sets the example." A third judge commented, "There is a critical need to teach leadership to jobsite supervisors/foremen. That is exactly what the program designed by the team does so well."

The other finalists for the award were Cindy DePrater, Vice President, Turner Construction; Dennis Gallagher, President, The Weitz Company; Shari F. Natovitz,Vice President and Risk Manager, Silverstein Properties, Inc./World Trade Center Properties, LLC; Tim Sakry, Director of Construction Truck Operator Training (CTOT),Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center, and Rick Maursetter, Risk Manager,Duininck Companies; and Michael J. Schneider, Vice President of Operations and Chief People Officer, Baker Concrete Construction, Inc.