Devin Hill

Senior Field Operations Manager

In the construction trades, almost everyone has a “close call” or two: times where they could have been seriously hurt, if not even killed. Too often in this industry, those types of events are viewed as inevitabilities, as things that everyone has to deal with. At Windemuller, we like to ask a radical question: What if there were no on-the-job injuries?

Before I was Operations Manager and Safety Director at Windemuller, I spent 18 years, hands-on in the construction field, and 16 years working in Operations and Safety Management for other contractors. At those companies, I had my own close calls: times when I ended up hurt, or came perilously close to severe injury; times when I found myself saying “I am lucky to be alive right now.” Those experiences came working for companies that had no Safety culture to speak of, and they made me yearn to work somewhere that had the type of robust Safety culture that would place true investment on keeping its employees Safe. That wasn’t just for my own sake, either. If I was going to be a Safety Director somewhere, I wanted to be able to look my team members in the eye and promise them that their employer cared more about them getting home Safe to their families every night than it did about any so-called “bottom line.”

Windemuller is the first place I’ve worked in my career where I’ve felt 100 percent dedication from the ownership to keeping employees Safe. Moreover, I know that this kind of genuine investment in employee Safety remains an anomaly, even to this day. I regularly speak with other Safety professionals at industry conferences or workshops, and they tell me stories about constantly getting pushback from their ownership on Safety matters. “How do we spend less money on Safety training?” the owners ask, or “Where do we find the cheapest PPE?”  These kinds of questions are common in our industry.

But not at Windemuller.

When I started working here, the goal on the books was that we didn’t want to have more than five on-the-job injuries at the company in a year. Our Safety team challenged the ownership to adopt a different goal: zero injuries per year. And if we have an unfortunate incident resulting in an injury, our goal, zero more.  I know there are people in this industry who believe, firmly, that a goal of zero injuries isn’t obtainable. But in 2017, Windemuller achieved a whole year without a single on-the-job injury. And in 2018, we hit a milestone of one million working hours without an injury.

Those milestones are huge achievements, and they mean a lot to me in particular because of how many close calls I’ve had in my career. Having worked places where Safety wasn’t a priority, I know how lucky myself and my coworkers are to be in a place where everyone – from the ownership to the project managers to every team member – is committed to keeping each other Safe. It’s a team effort, and I’m always grateful to be a part of that team.