October 25, 2014

Trendsetters: Construction

Mike Vogel | 2/1/2008

W. Scott Trethewey
W. Scott Trethewey [Photo: Eileen Escarda]

W. Scott Trethewey
Moss & Associates
Senior vice president, Fort Lauderdale

Moss & Associates: Founded less than four years ago by Bob Moss, former chairman and CEO of Centex Construction Group. Annual revenue: More than $600 million

Education: Bachelor’s of business administration, accounting, College of William and Mary

Risk factor: “The risk in this business is infrequent but severe.”

Born and raised: Pittsburgh

Family: Wife, Linda, daughter of his high school principal; children, Jack, 14, Katie, 12, Scotty, 7, Dan, 5

As he combed through accident and loss data for the construction industry, Scott Trethewey found something interesting. Trethewey, 42, a senior vice president at construction firm Moss & Associates, says that while steel erectors, masons and concrete workers might appear to be the most dangerous trades, in reality the most frequent losses were occurring in the electrical and mechanical trades. “It was kind of counterintuitive,” says Trethewey.

The discovery prompted change at Moss. Safety was already a top concern in obviously dangerous jobs that involved unskilled labor or man-crushing materials. But master electricians, because of their skill level and experience, weren’t getting as much attention from safety teams. At Moss, they do now.

Trethewey’s data mining has enabled his firm to anticipate where injuries are likely to occur — and to deploy safety teams accordingly. Superintendents
and subcontractor foremen talk to workers about potential perils and see to it that losses come in under actuarial projections.

The ability to understand how accidents are occurring and track subcontractor performance is just a side benefit to the way Trethewey and Moss approach safety. Frustrated that the common industry measurements weren’t adequate, they devised their own forecasts that specified safety performances for specific jobs and for each subcontractor’s piece of a project.

The model program, one of Trethewey’s innovations since he joined fast-growing Moss in 2005, made Moss one of the few construction companies in an OSHA safety recognition program. In addition, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group last year awarded Moss four of the eight gold awards for safety it gave out nationally for building projects that came in with injuries at 20% of the National Bureau of Labor Statistics average. Moss also is well below average in common industry measurements such as loss cost per man-hour and incident rates. Holding down injury-related costs gives it an edge in pricing work.

Tags: Trendsetters, Housing/Construction

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