STEVENSVILLE — Occupational safety is important regardless of industry, but when it comes to high hazard industries that require workers to operate or work around heavy equipment like cranes, excavators and barges, the stakes are even higher. In fact, the most recent study from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics, reports a 6 percent increase in fatal injuries for construction and extraction occupations in 2019 – the highest increase since 2007.

The good news is that many private companies are championing the cause of worker safety by implementing stringent in-house safety training as well as connecting with national programs to button up their safety protocols. Locally, Stevensville’s Dissen & Juhn Company, a marine and foundation contractor, recently earned certification as a Bronze Level company in the STEP Safety Management System. Managed by Associated Builders and Contractors, the national construction industry trade association, the STEP program measures safety processes and policies on 25 key components through a detailed questionnaire with the goal of implementing or enhancing safety programs that reduce jobsite incidents.

“Marine and foundation contractors have an extra safety concern of working on water to deal with,” said Gil Dissen, president of Dissen & Juhn Company. “Each of our projects presents unique safety challenges that often require special safety training in addition to weekly or daily safety reminders on the jobsite. Our desire to continuously enhance our safety protocols made the STEP program particularly attractive to us. Dissen & Juhn is committed to raising the bar when it comes to safety performance. We are honored to receive our STEP certification.”

ABC’s program has been a great match for Dissen & Juhn. “An industry-wide commitment to total human health is essential to ensure both the physical and mental health and safety of our workforce,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. “As a STEP participant, Dissen & Juhn Company’s leadership has demonstrated their commitment to a top-down, bottom-up approach to safety.”

According to ABC’s annual Safety Performance Report, applying STEP processes dramatically improves safety performance among participants regardless of company size or type of work. Specifically, STEP protocols can reduce the total recordable incident rate by 88%, making the best performing companies 827% safer than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics industry average.

Founded in 1973, Dissen & Juhn Company is a second generation, family-owned full-service marine and foundation contractor that has built a solid reputation as an agile, customer-focused small company with heavy construction capabilities rarely found in a firm of its size. The firm stands as the region’s pre-eminent marine and foundation contractor with a proven track record in reliability, safety, environmental stewardship and technical competency.

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