The safety of our employees, contractors and the public is central to our day-to-day operations. We have company-wide policies, practices and systems in place to ensure the safety of our employees and operations across our footprint.
By proactively managing our process safely, we can best manage the risks associated with our industry. At Sterling, safety and environment are managed together under our Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) function. HSE objectives, policies and goals are set at the corporate level and apply to company-wide operations. Sterling’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Leadership Team (ELT), comprised of corporate officers and business unit presidents, oversee health, safety (including physical security) and environmental policies, programs and company-wide performance. Sterling’s vice president of HSE provides direction and guidance, and has field representatives responsible for managing programs related to safety, environment, emergency response, site-specific initiatives, and OSHA compliance.
We have a company-wide Safety Manual that clearly establishes common policies, procedures and standards across all entities. The manual outlines Sterling’s commitment to mitigating incidents and covers a full range of topics. Our Safety Manual provides clear guidelines to empower employees with the knowledge and resources they need to complete their work safely.
We require all Sterling employees to read, understand and uphold our safety policies. All employees must provide written acknowledgment that they have read and understand Sterling’s safety obligations, processes and policies.
At Sterling, we value every employee and prioritize our commitment to have each and every employee return home safe every day. At Sterling, we have developed a proactive methodology, focusing on instilling a solid, balanced safety system that creates an environment where all employees are empowered to stop or correct any unsafe condition or action immediately. We call this method “Safe and Sound”. To build this proactive culture we focus on the following:
- Commitment from all levels of the organization.
- Communicating our expectations to all employee levels of the company.
- Sound practices; by planning work safety into our daily operations.
- Training our employees on hazard identification, and when necessary correcting the hazard to create a safe working environment.
- Accountability by tracking leading indicators to measure safety successes, and
- Empowering our employees to make the right decision every day.
Motor Vehicle Safety
Our fleet includes more than 800 light duty trucks. Potential risks associated with this fleet include not only personal injury due to collision, but physical damage. Our aim is not just analyzing individual and company-wide driving habits and correcting problems, but also helping to create a “culture of safety” within the organization.
For example: in June 2019, the Company’s heavy civil division launched a distracted driver pilot program. We deployed distracted driving technology in over 20% of our vehicle fleet. Through December 31, 2019, our program identified and blocked cell phone calls, text messages, and Applications. We have now incorporated into our defensive driver training and employee onboarding processes distracted driving awareness, and included in our Driver Guidelines a distracted driving-free pledge.
At Sterling, in the event of a significant accident or near miss, we employ a comprehensive incident investigation process to determine root cause and potential severity for safety incidents that occur in the workplace. We require employees to immediately report incidents as well as near misses to our supervisors. Incidents and near misses are recorded in our online safety management tool. Lessons learned from incidents and near misses are then developed and shared with employees at field safety meetings so that we may implement appropriate avoidance techniques and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
At Sterling, our employees are our most valuable resource. Each and every day we work together to keep each other safe, protect our environment, and deliver on our business goals for the benefit of all stakeholders. Overall, our ongoing goal is for Sterling to be a place where our employees can grow professionally and are proud to work.
Employee Health and Well-Being
The Human Resources (HR) team manages employees benefits and services. The HR function operates at the corporate and business unit level providing continuity between our business units. The vice president of HR reports to Sterling’s General Counsel and CEO to help ensure employees’ interests are prioritized. In conjunction with our ELT, HR sets an annual talent management strategy, as well as long-term direction for the HR team.
Sterling is committed to competitive wages, benefits and investment in the professional growth and development of our employees.
To ensure our offerings remain relevant and evolve to best meet the needs of our workforce, we benchmark components annually against industry peers and companies of similar size. Sterling has also been conducting onsite wellness campaigns and biometric screening programs since 2011. By investing in and promoting wellness, we are helping employees and their families live healthier lives.
The benefits we offer to our non-union employees include:
- Heath Savings Account (HSA)
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
- Life Insurance
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
- Voluntary Life and AD&D Insurance
- Short-Term Disability
- Long-Term Disability
- Voluntary Accident Insurance
- Voluntary Critical Illness Insurance
- Voluntary Hospital Indemnity Insurance
- Employee Assistance Program
- 401(k) Matching Program
- Paid vacation and holidays
Other Employee Benefits
All full-time or part-time employees, with at least six months of employment are eligible to participate in Sterling’s tuition reimbursement program. For approved courses we reimburse up to100% of tuition costs up to $5,000 per person per calendar year.
Additionally, all employees who regularly work more than 20 hours per week and more than six months in any calendar year are eligible to participate in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). Within this plan, eligible employees may purchase Sterling common stock at a 15 percent discount from the market price on the date of the purchase. We provide the option for participants to contribute 2 to 15 percent of their base salary every pay period to the ESPP.
Employee Attraction, Retention and Training
Like any other organization, our culture is made up of all the shared attitudes, values, perceptions and commitments that each employee brings to his or her job every day. One of Sterling’s greatest strengths is its ability to build a strong culture within each of its businesses. We do that by creating an environment where people want to work, are proud to work, and desire to remain with an organization that fosters such an environment. We strive not to lose sight of what’s most important, our people and the unique culture that we maintain.
In order to build this culture, at Sterling we partner with universities and trade schools to hire the best and ensure our pipeline of talent remains strong so that we can continue to infuse the right talent at all levels within the organization. We are also building a culture of awareness to include diversity of thought, background and other characteristics. Building and preparing for business challenges and changes are a critical part of our future success as an organization, and fostering a workplace that embraces diversity is central to our talent management and succession planning efforts.
Our Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Policy is embedded into our employee handbooks, and our Code of Business Conduct. It is Sterling’s policy to assure applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, religion, sex, color, national origin, age or disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. This applies to all employment decisions and actions including, but not limited to, employment, promotion, demotion, or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and/or on-the-job training.
Here are just some of the ways Sterling employees give back:
Montgomery County Food Bank
During the 2019 holiday season, employees of our Corporate office in The Woodlands, Texas partnered with the Montgomery County Food Bank to sort food items. Our combined efforts resulted in providing 8,400 people in the local community, with a meal.
The Children’s Center of Utah
Employees from our Utah business unit Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction assisted The Children’s Center of Utah by cleaning and refreshing the grounds of the Salt Lake location, including moving 12 cubic yards of wood chips into playground areas and planter beds. They also cleaned, sanitized, and helped organize the classrooms and storage areas of the facility.
Bleeding Hearts Foundation
For the past six years, on Utah’s Pioneer Day, when government operated homeless support centers are closed, this event provides hygiene kits, and clothes/supplies to those who otherwise go without these items. Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction has committed time and man/women/child power to help facilitate this event. RLW started out with 8-10 people participating, and in 2019 our volunteers numbered 40.
At Sterling, community engagement and volunteerism are supported at the highest levels of our organization, driven by our employees at the local level and focused on a range of needs such as education, mental health, fighting hunger, and other local needs. Each year our business units solicit input from employees, collaborate and decide on needs or local organizations to support.
Lincoln High School - Engineering and Construction Academy
Our Sacramento, California based affiliate Myers & Sons Construction assisted Lincoln High’s Construction Technology class, who won “Best of Show” in the Sacramento Regional Builder’s Exchange 2019 Design Build Competition for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW! Thirteen students participated in the competition, with 34 high schools competing over two days, in the challenge of designing, drawing plans, preparing all required construction documents, and then building a 96 square-foot structure.