June Blog Post: Safety Culture

Q: When was OSHA established? 

A: Legislation passed December 1970, and was implemented April 1971. 

Why do I ask

I’ve witnessed the effect safety culture has had on the construction industry, spanning from when I first started as a summer laborer in 1969 as a high school junior, to today’s approach some 50 years later. Oh what changes have come about!

When I was first exposed to safety culture in the field, there was an apparent “us vs. them” mentality- a sense of apprehension toward being monitored and evaluated. Construction contractors have always distinguished themselves by their management and execution skills; that is, the degree of planning evident on a well cleaned, orderly, and conditioned project.  Sano-Rubin was always a prepared group, with each project well controlled. Even so, there was hesitancy toward the changes in occupational safety and random inspections.  Some companies reacted with resistance, while others such as Sano-Rubin decided to invest in their program and raise their game.

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What is evident gathered over this century of change is that safety and project control is all about attitude– the mind-set and culture that comes from the top through all levels. Key to our success is that everyone takes on leadership and works as a team to truly accomplish quality production on a daily basis.

Sano-Rubin has continued to improve our safety program and mentality, building a culture of teamwork. We have encouraged our team, and received immense buy in to our safety program by highlighting the many benefits of a great safety record, a safe and productive workforce, and a team of leadership at all levels to make safety the main priority

We have powered up our program in a disciplined and formalized way, and institutionalized the procedures to check each other.  We stress the importance of daily planning and working the plan.  Lead by our Safety Directors, Roy Deyo and Eric Coburn, we have consistently encouraged our team to conduct a clean and productive worksite. We do nothing in haste or isolation, and the results are obvious and tangible. In March, we proudly won 1st place in the 2017 AGC of America National Safety Awards.

It really has been a journey improving our safety culture. In 2013 we were asked to increase our efforts and generate buy in from our team. For years 2011-2013 we had 24 incidents, which resulted in 97 lost work days. Through the hard work and collaboration of our dedicated personnel, we have drastically turned things around. In 2014 we had just one injury, and in 2015 and 2016 we have had zero.

-Roy Deyo, Corporate Safety Director

Uploaded Image: /uploads/images/2017 AGC 1st.jpgA "safety first" mentality offers many benefits to our Clients, such as:

  • Lower insurance costs due to fewer loss reserves and an excellent safety mod rate. 
  • A clean, orderly, and well organized job site which makes all players more productive and shortens the time from start of project to occupancy. 
  • Reduces possible third party claims and keeps the Owner from having to deal with insurance and liability litigation long after the project is completed.

Most important to our Clients is the image projected of their business, and our investment in their future.  

Sano-Rubin continues to learn, adjust and consistently improve our safety program. We dedicate ourselves to being proactive- adapting to new technologies, and learning from our past to better support our future.


Our main priority? Everyone goes home safe every day. 

-Roy Deyo, Corporate Safety Director


 Want to test your Safety IQ? Take this quiz!


 About the Author 

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David M. Rubin was born and raised in Albany. He attended Brown University, graduating in 1975 with degrees in Civil Engineering and Economics. In 1980, he received his Masters in Management & Finance from MIT’s Sloan School and returned to Albany to join his family’s construction firm, Sano-Rubin Construction. David was the third generation of the Rubin family to head the company, having taken over as President & CEO from his father, Donald, in 1985.  Today, he fills the role of Senior Advisor having transitioned the company to the 4th generation of his family, Cousin David Hollander in 2014. 

Serving in an advisory role, David provides expert counsel to the management team across all aspects of the business. Having been with Sano-Rubin for over 37 years, he imparts valuable insight and perspective about the construction industry.



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