“The Ripple Effect”

“The Ripple Effect”

Most safety professionals like to cover the consequences of an accident and while it is important to understand the initial consequences of an accident, we could be better served to view the aftermath of an accident in terms of the ripple effect.  Just like the ripples that a rock creates skipping across the pond, so do the actions and choices we make at work.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.  While working on a project John has to access the roof of a single story building.  The roof he is accessing is flat and the area where John is working is in the middle of the roof, so there is no need for him to have on fall protection.  However, as John completes his work the project changes.  These changes will now require John to work right next to the leading edge of the roof where there is little more than a 24” knee wall.  Now John knows he needs fall protection, he has been trained on when the equipment is necessary and how to properly setup and wear the personal protection equipment (PPE).  Instead of taking the time to wear and setup his PPE he makes a choice to forgo the necessary PPE.

While completing his work John slips and falls from the roof landing on his back.  This is the first ripple for his choice.  John’s choice to not wear his PPE has resulted in him being injured.  Now we start to see more ripples as the employees working in the area drop there tools and immediately rush over to help John.  John’s poor choice has not only resulted in him being injured but has also stopped all productivity at the jobsite.

At this point there are two roads we are going to travel down.  On the first road we are going to look at the ripples that could affect John personally.  Then we are going to go down the second road and see how the ripples effect everyone else at the company.

The good news for John is that he is going to survive his accident.  The bad news is his recovery is going to take a couple of months.  Let’s say that John is out of work and is talking with the insurance company about workers compensation and they decide that because he made the choice of not using his PPE the insurance company has denied his claim.  If this happens then John will not receive any compensation while he is out of work, but he will also be personally responsible for his medical bills.  This takes an effect of John financially, he is not able to cover his bills and he is out of work.   This could also take an effect on him emotionally because of the lack of income and the bills coming in.  John’s choice had greater consequences than he originally thought.

John’s employer and his co-workers will all be affected by the accident as well.  John’s accident consumed valuable company resources and this is the first ripple that affects the company it can be a rather large one.  The time that the project was shut down due the accident can never be recovered.  To add to this loss of time an investigation into why John’s accident occurred must be completed.  This investigation will require more man hours to be lost while employees are giving a statement on the accident.

Since John is out of work now his employer is going to have no choice but to pay overtime to their employees to make up for being a man short.  This will cost his employer even more money by paying overtime rates and spending more time on the job than projected.  Still these ripples are just the first ones to reach the company.  In the long term ripples from this accident will affect the company’s safety record, their insurance rates and their ability to be the successful bidder on future projects.  This could lead to not only less profit for the company but layoffs of employees.

The ripples from John’s accident could not only affected him, but his co-workers and employer.  This is why as a Company it is not only important to establish a safety program but to establish a safety cultural.  Employees need to be empowered to stop work when they feel it is unsafe.  Employees must be recognized when they take the time to complete the task in a safe manner.  Workers must be willing to talk with their co-workers/employer when they observe them engaging in unsafe practices.

It is preciously because of these benefits that Elite’s Management team is not only willing to but encourages feedback from our teams in the field.  Our Management team never wants an employee to think that it is acceptable to forgo utilizing any piece of safety equipment to save a little bit of time.  It is this commitment to safety that leads to our constant improvement in our safety culture.






Christopher Newport University Symposium on Homeland Security Registration

Christopher Newport University’s Center for American Studies and Elite Contracting Group are proud to present the 5th annual Symposium on Homeland Security & Defense: Enhancing Resilience through Public-Private Partnerships, to be hosted on the CNU campus February 10-11, 2016

Make sure to catch the early-bird registration for the Christopher Newport Universities Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense co hosted by CNU and Elite Contracting Group!  Early-bird registration ends on January 11th, 2016, then regular registration opens up.

The cost of early-bird registration is $125 for private sector and academia; $95 for government and active military.  The registration includes:

  • Two Continental Breakfasts
  • Two Keynote Luncheons
  • Opening Reception (food and 1 free drink)

Featuring many of the nation’s top government and private sector leaders in infrastructure security, this groundbreaking symposium will begin to tackle some of the toughest challenges in infrastructure security for the years ahead.

For more information click here




Elite Becomes a Control4 Hospitality Dealer!

Elite is pleased to announce we have become an authorized Control4 Dealer, with a specialized focus in the hospitality market for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Control4, a leading global provider of smart home solutions, works with a select group of highly trained and specially-certified dealers around the world who have the expertise, resources and technical acumen to support automation projects in the hotelier industry. “All of us here at Control4 are excited to be working closely with Elite Contracting Group on specialized Hospitality projects,” said David Phillips, Director of Hospitality and MDU Sales, Control4. “Elite’s unique skill set and broad project portfolio in large scale IT and complex infrastructure projects is indicative of their future success in applying those same efforts to the Smart Hotel sector.”

Elite offers comprehensive single source project management and support from design, to installation, all the way through lifetime maintenance support. Our solutions deliver an exceptional experience for your guests by giving them complete smart home automation at the touch of a single button. Guests can control the shades, lights, temperature, TV and music—even schedule wake-up calls, request valet service and more—from any one intuitive interfaces on touch screens and handheld remotes. These solutions also drive cost savings to the bottom line of hotel operations. Elite is excited about the new endeavor with Control4 and the continuation of our business growth as a result.

Check out our micro-site on the Control4 website!


Elite Launches a Facebook Page

Elite Contracting Group has created a Facebook page!  Like the page for all the latest news in our industry to show up on your newsfeed and make sure to invite all of your colleagues and friends to like it too. We are excited to gain even more of a social presence in our Region and beyond!

Deer-Vehicle Collisions-Falls Biggest Safety Threat

Fall finally returned last week. With its arrival comes not only a drop in temperature but pumpkin flavored everything, Friday night high school football, fall foliage and

deerchili. However, there is one change that fall brings with it that many of us may not have thought about quite yet. During the fall is when the largest number of DVCs, aka deer-vehicle collisions occurs. In order to protect both wildlife and ourselves we must first recognize the seriousness of this hazard in which we face.

Deer-vehicle collisions are more serious than most people realize. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions occur every year in the United States, causing over 3.6 billion dollars’ worth of damage. However, this pales in comparison to the estimated 200 fatalities and tens of thousands of injuries that also occur during these collisions. Many may also be surprised to learn that State Farm Auto Insurance ranked Virginia in the top 10 highest risk States in the country. Now that we understand the seriousness of deer-vehicle collisions let’s see if we can expand our understanding of the hazard and controls we must put in place to ensure our safety.

In order to keep ourselves safe we must recognize the hazard. This requires everyone to reduce their distractions while driving. Including putting down the cell phone, not texting while driving, limiting our changing of radio stations and even not eating behind the wheel. Cutting down on our distractions will allow us to react quicker to a possible deer collision. Along with cutting down on distractions we must also ensure we are properly rested prior to driving and that we don’t consume alcohol, medicine or drugs that can slow down our reaction time.

Now when it comes to deer activity levels they are normally more active at dawn and dusk which just happens to be when our vision is the most compromised. Therefore, in order to counter this we must ensure we are paying extra attention to not only what is in front of us but what is off to our sides. Luckily, DOT and VDOT have made great strides in increasing the number of deer crossing signs across the state that warn drivers where there is either a high deer population or a history of deer-vehicle collisions.

So now that we are better able to understand the hazard we will discuss how we can avoid collisions with deer. Although DOT and VDOT have increased the number of deer crossing signs it is important to remember that deer are pack animals and tend to utilize the same trails throughout the year. What this means to us is that if a deer crosses in front of your vehicle you should slow down and be on the lookout for other deer. It also means we should make a mental note of where we see deer on our normal driving routes and start paying closer attention to them.

Another way to avoid collisions with deer is to modify our driving routes. Deer are more prone to cross rural roads than they are an interstate or divided highway. For some of us the back rural roads may be a shorter route to our destination, but it also comes with an increased risk of encountering deer and other wildlife.

Understanding the hazard and having the ability to recognize the hazard quicker are a great start to ensuring our safety. Unfortunately there are incidents where we may not be able to modify our driving route, we are not allowing ourselves to be distracted and before we know it a deer has run out in front of us. How we handle this situation can literally be a matter of life and dead.

When a deer runs out in front of our vehicle we must remain calm. We will want to avoid the urge to swerve our vehicle around the deer. It is also important that we don’t stare at the deer, because we tend to drive towards what we are looking at. The next thing we will want to do is heavily apply the brakes. Hopefully the sudden declaration will allow us to avoid a collision with the deer. However, if does not many experts and even http://www.wildlifecollisions.ca/hints.htm agree that right before colliding with the deer you let off your brakes. By doing so you will allow your front end to rise and possibly prevent the deer from hitting your windshield.

After a collision with a deer it is just as important to stay calm. You will want to put on your emergency flashers and pull as far off the road way as possible to avoid a secondary accident with another vehicle. If your vehicle is not drivable you will want to get out of the vehicle and off to the shoulder. Once you are in a safe location off the road now you can do ahead and call your local emergency number for most areas that will be 911, where you can report the accident. While waiting for help to arrive do not wander back out in the road or check on the deer. Injured deer can and have caused serious injury to both motorist and hunters alike. Give the animal some room and let law enforcement handle the situation.

Hopefully the information in this article and the many others that will be published in the upcoming weeks will help avoid and reduce the number of deer-vehicles collisions this year. To quote an old safety slogan, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This of course is why we constantly conduct safety training and publish safety topics throughout the year.


Heat Hazard Safety

Elite Workers staying hydrated and finding shade while working on hot summer days. Employees from left to right: Joe Hayes, Scotty Blackburn, Travis Ramey, Josh Treveer.

Elite Workers staying hydrated and finding shade while working on hot summer days. Employees from left to right: Joe Hayes, Scotty Blackburn, Travis Ramey, Josh Treveer.

It may seem as though we just left the winter season, but in just a few short days we will be celebrating the 4th of July, a day when we remember the founding of our Country.  As with most 4th of July celebrations in Virginia we expect this day to be not only hot, but also very humid.  Looking ahead at the forecast for this weekend it appears this year will be no exception.  Which is why as we enter this holiday weekend it is a good idea to discuss two particular hazards we will all face when heading outdoors; heat stress and sunburns/skin care.

Of course when we venture outdoors into the heat, whether it is for fun or for work we must all be aware of heat stress related injuries.  Heat stress occurs when our bodies are no longer able to dissipate the heat that we have either generated and/or absorb from other sources.  In order to ensure we don’t become victims of heat related injures we must take certain precautions.  For the majority of us this means staying properly hydrated.  When we allow ourselves to become dehydrated as a result of our failure to consume enough water we inhibit our body’s natural cooling process i.e. sweating.  One of the easiest ways to prevent dehydration is to drink a couple large glasses of water first thing in the morning and remember to continue to drink water throughout the day.

Another important factor in preventing heat related injures is our environment.  Although we may not be able to control the temperature outside there are some factors we can control.  For instance we can setup tents to provide shade either while on the beach or on a project location.  We can also setup fans to aid our bodies in dissipating heat, while also locating heat generating equipment such as vehicles, generators and other equipment away from ourselves.  By following the aforementioned precautions we can help eliminate heat stress related injuries whether we are at work or play.

Along with heat stress another hazard that increases for us during the summer is sunburns. While the sun’s rays make us feel good, and in the short term, make us look good, our love affair isn’t a two-way street.  Exposure to sun not only ages our skin, but also increases our risk of skin cancer.  Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily, taking longer to heal.  So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you’re young, it will definitely show later in life.

This is why is in important to remember to apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. 30 minutes before sun exposure and every 2 hours thereafter, more if you are sweating or swimming.  That we also select clothing light colored clothing and wear sunglasses that offer UV protection and possible wear a full brim hat to aid in shading our face and neck.  As with any hazard increased exposure increased our risk of trouble down the line.

So while we might face hazards from the summer sun and hotter temperatures, we can still remain healthy and safe by simply understanding these hazards and taking very basic safety precautions.  We hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July!


Elite Contracting Group will attend ITSVA Annual Conference

Elite Contracting Group (Elite) will be continuing our support of the Intelligent Transportation Systems of Virginia (ITSVA) Annual Conference & Exposition on July 16 and 17th .  The ITSVA works collectively with state, county and local governments to make the best use of transportation technologies, and serves as a forum and network for its public and private sector members to share information, ideas and experiences for Virginia’s transportation system.  Elite is excited to be a part of ITSVA 20th annual conference and look forward to seeing you there!

“Expect the Unexpected”- National Work Zone Awareness Week

No, you didn’t read that wrong. National Work Zone Awareness week which typically occurs in April has been moved up for 2015. This year marks the 16th Anniversary of Nation Work Zone Awareness Week, and the 20th anniversary since the Bristol District created the first internal Work Zone Awareness Week. This years theme is, “Expect the Unexpected.”
Of course VDOT and FHWA are encouraging everyone to participate this week. “To raise National Work Zone Awareness Week to the next level, it takes all of us doing our part by making a commitment to get involved to have our message heard and understood. The more voices we have, the greater impact we have in asking motorists to slow down and drive responsibly through work zones. We all need to play an active role in raising driver awareness about work zones, which should result in increased safety for workers, motorists and pedestrians,” (VDOT website).
There are many ways to participate this year. One of the easiest ways to participate this year is to share the following links on your social media accounts and help spread awareness to friends and family.


Another way to participate is by wearing orange shirts on Wednesday, ensuring we have proper MOT setups and that when asked, “what is working on the interstate like?”, we take a minute to inform others of the actual hazards and how they can help reduce them instead of just saying, “it’s crazy.” For example, we can remind friends and family of the three S’s to make it through a work zone safely: speed, space and stress. Select a safe speed, manage your space and don’t get stressed. Let them know if they handle these three factors they’ re almost home free.
The “Expect the Unexpected” effort, which is the same theme, used the first year, kicks off March 24 in Northern Virginia at the I-395 and seminary Road VDOT Interchange Project. The key message is to use extra caution in work zones.
Work Zone Safety Tips:
Just because many of us work in work zones, doesn’t mean we don’t need a reminder on how to be safe when traveling through others work zones. Remind to not speed in work zones, obey the posted speed limits and adjust your speed for weather conditions. Speeding is a major cause of work zone crashes.
-Stay alert and expect the unexpected.
-Watch for workers and drive with caution.
-Don’t change lanes unnecessarily or when prohibited.
-Avoid distractions like talking on the phone, changing radio stations or snacking.
-During the day, turn on your headlights so workers and other drivers can see you. At night, trouble spots can be hard to see, and you may have to deal with the glare of work     lights.
-Expect delays, especially during peak travel times, and don’t let your frustration allow you to make bad decisions. Plan your trip to allow for construction delays.
-Allow ample space between you and the vehicle in front of you. The most common work zone crash is the rear-end collision, which is almost always caused by inattentive    drivers who don’t have enough following distance and who are not prepared for sudden slowdowns and bad drivers.
Anticipate lane shifts and lane closures and obey lane restrictions that limit trucks to specific lanes.
Most importantly – be patient, stay calm and drive defensively. In order to make work zones safer we must all be willing to help in outreach with the general public.

Elite announces strategic partnership with Christopher Newport University

Elite is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Christopher Newport University’s Center for American Studies (CAS).  As part of this partnership, on May 18-19, 2015, Elite and CAS will be co-hosting the 4th annual Symposium on Homeland Security & Defense, which is dedicated to improving the protection and resiliency of Americas Critical Infrastructure. In February we will be inviting industry leaders for an introduction to the Center and the Homeland Security Symposium. CNU and Elite have a shared vision and look forward to providing added value to the industry at large.