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Vice President, Safety (National)

  • Industry: Architecture, Engineering & Construction
  • Location: New York City
  • Client: Construction - General Building
  • Search ID: 17-0206-10

Helbling is representing a repeat client, a major national builder, in conducting an executive search for a Vice President, Safety (VP). Our client's primary vertical markets include: higher education, hospitality, retail, healthcare, and mission critical. The VP provides overall direction and leadership to accomplish the company's global safety goals and leads the organization towards its overall objective to create and support a culture of safety, leveraging available communications resources and engaging business unit leaders and department heads.  

Key responsibilities include:

Operational and functional leadership

  • Provides leadership to the safety department by planning, developing, and implementing safety strategies and tactics designed to meet or exceed performance standards.
  • In conjunction with company and governmental regulatory agencies, establishes and maintains appropriate standards, systems, and procedures for establishing safety policies, best practices, and standard operating procedures. Communicates policies and safety procedures to field and home office staff and conducts regular training on same.
  • Establishes and implements various processes for reporting corporate and field level safety incidents. Takes appropriate and timely action to address such issues with the objective of maintaining employee and subcontractor physical safety, client satisfaction, and ensuring project profitability. Walks job sites with staff on a regular basis to identify and address any safety problems or issues with the project.
  • Designs specific plans for proposed client projects to include site specific safety considerations based on proposed constructability methods and project scopes of work, emergency evacuation plans, weather preparedness, risk, and related factors. Works in close cooperation and collaboration with operations executive and project staff to effectively identify and mitigate potential and legitimate safety risks and resolve same in a timely manner.
  • Participates in project interviews to demonstrate company's capability and commitment to the importance of safety. Makes site visits with prospective clients to demonstrate client commitment and resolve to manage foreseeable safety issues. 
  • Assists in the prequalification of subcontractors. Meets with individuals assigned to new projects, as required, to orientate them on all safety procedures, documentation, and safety program. Ensures that the project staff and subcontractors conduct daily communication detailing planned scope of work and defines means and method to mitigate identified hazards.
  • Maintains awareness and knowledge of industry best safety practices in base building, ground up construction, as well as interior fit out projects. Assesses best practices for practical functionality to company given its core capabilities, strategic business plan, and operational objectives.
  • Investigates safety incidents either personally or through subordinate field staff. Ensures all documentation is properly prepared and submitted to the appropriate internal and external parties. Acts as the key company representative for both internal and external communications. Develops and implements adjustments to safety policies and programs to mitigate potential personal injury or property occurrences.
  • Actively manages the company's safety leadership team initiatives. Reports all monthly statistical and related documentation. Keeps VP of Risk Management informed of all significant safety events, incidents, and progress. Ensures input is received prior to making significant changes to safety policies.
  • Conducts comprehensive safety audits for active construction projects. Identifies any safety lapses or risk and jointly develops a corrective action with appropriate operations management to address any and all issues. Implements effective corrective action programs to eliminate workplace risk and prevent recurrence of accidents. 
  • Develops and maintains a departmental budget for all expenditures, both capital and expense items.
  • Identifies trends in workers' compensation experience and develops effective intervention programs to reduce future work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Ensures that project-specific safety procedures are in compliance with corporate standards and client requirements.
  • Gathers all statistical data including subcontractor data needed for internal and external reporting.
  • Ensures uniformity of reporting forms across the company. 
  • When new requirements are created at the local, state, or federal level, ensures that effective training and orientation occurs for all affected operations.
  • Identifies for executive management the impacts of proposed legislation or new laws in the area of safety.
  • Reviews the first reports of injury, resolves questions regarding what needs to be reported and whether additional investigation is required.
  • Responsible for performance evaluations, goals, and objectives given to safety personnel within the business units.
  • Identifies the impact of training using applicable metrics.  

Leadership and people management

  • Hires, manages, develops, coaches, and retains a team of safety professionals across the organization, working closely with business unit leaders and operations department heads in a matrixed organization format. Establishes performance expectations and monitors performance consistent with company goals.
  • Ensures staff receives ongoing professional development in terms of technology training, latest construction procedures, and safety best practices. Coaches staff in their performance of their current roles and provides needed support and direction to attain career goals beneficial to the individual and the company.
  • Identifies and resolves key safety issues with client projects. Follows up with appropriate staff to ensure all operational issues are effectively addressed.
  • Conducts annual and interim performance appraisals, providing guidance and recognition based on performance.
  • Maintains forced rankings of all operational personnel based on assessments of individual performance, client feedback, and peer feedback.
  • Makes recommendations for compensation, including salary increases and incentive bonuses, based on performance, retention, and vulnerability.
  • Recruits, retains, and develops the highest possible quality of operational client facing personnel including project managers, superintendents, and supporting roles.
  • Contributes actively to professional development and provides learning opportunities to all safety and operational staff with the goal of maintaining technical skills current with the market.
  • Supports other corporate initiatives as required, especially as they relate to field safety, risk management, and technology. 

Sets the direction for safety, and plans commitments and goals

  • Works with senior management, corporate services executives, and business unit leaders / department heads in setting the strategic direction for safety across the organization and implementing the tactical plan to support the safety strategy.  
  • Develops and tracks metrics to chart progress, and supports implementation through training initiatives including distance learning.

Client development and management

  • Provides support to business unit leaders and department heads in the pursuit of client projects of significance, particularly those with strong safety components.  
  • Develops customized project safety plans, presents these as part of response to requests from proposals and implements during client project pre-construction and construction phases.
  • College degree in life safety or construction management or occupational safety / health related field / work experience.
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of field site safety responsibility.  
  • Strong communication and leadership skills required, as is a thorough understanding of and ability to enforce all federal, state, local, and company safety regulations.
  • Must have significant experience conducting investigations and analyzing critical situations.
  • Demonstrated ability to: gather, relate, and compare data from different sources; ensure data is reliable, complete, and accurate; identify issues, securing relevant information and identifying relationships.
  • Demonstrated ability to represent information and make decisions, render judgments, and take action within the context of complex choices. 
  • Operational orientation: strong planning and organizing orientation with the ability to develop plans to deliver against a multiplicity of goals. Thinks ahead, monitors progress, and makes adjustments – and influences others in their decisions and actions – to deliver on goals.
  • Strong interest in project operations management with the ability to evaluate and manage projects for cost effectiveness.
  • Analytical skills demonstrated by the ability to: provide reliable, complete, and accurate data; identify issues; and secure relevant information and identify dependencies / opportunities of key investments.
  • Consensus building.
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Communication Skills – Demonstrated ability to speak, write, and present information in a clear, concise, and compelling manner.
  • Decision Making – Demonstrated ability to make decisions, render judgments, or take action.
  • Energy – Having a high level of drive and stamina necessary to see things through to their conclusion.
  • Interpersonal – Strong ability to forge solid internal and external working relationships. Strong influencing and internal selling ability. Desire and commitment to establish a partnering and trusting relationship with internal and external people.
  • Leadership - Ability to set a tone that inspires and motivates people at all levels to achieve business objectives. Able to adjust style in response to changing business priorities and opportunities. Provides examples of work style and performance that are consistent with the core values of the company.  
  • Planning and Organizing – Demonstrated ability to develop strategies and schedules for meeting goals and anticipate obstacles to goal attainment. Demonstrated ability to think ahead, monitor own and others progress, and make adjustments when necessary.
  • Problem Solving – Demonstrated ability to accurately recognize obstacles or issues and take corrective action to address the situation in a manner that meets the client’s need and stays within the operating guidelines of the company.
  • Risk Management – Demonstrated skill and expertise in identifying risk situations in construction and corporate settings along with successful implementation of self-insured and third party insurance programs to mitigate such risk.
  • Staff Management – Ability to hire, train, develop, and motivate a staff of fully competent professionals. Relentless pursuit of having the right people in the right positions. Harvesting the potential that is deep within people. Practices principles of performance management, goal setting, and coaching consistent with the core values of the company. 
  • Time Management – Demonstrated ability to accomplish tasks by established deadlines, and demonstrated discipline in using time management tools and techniques.

Key experiences:

  • Operational background with strong emphasis on safety in a wide array of construction management situations including core and shell, high rise, tenant fit out, and in specific sectors (healthcare, higher education, life sciences).
  • Manage through concensus in a matrix organization, bringing safety specialists and business unit / operational personnel into alignment around safety culture strategy and tactics.
  • Roles or experiences that drive a risk management orientation, including accident prevention, loss prevention, and training to mitigate risk.

Search Consultant: Marc Datz

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