When you’ve been around a company for decades, it can be enlightening to reflect on the years you’ve been there. It puts the changes that have happened during that time in stark relief.
Barry Murray, Senior Vice President of Logistics and Risk Management, has seen tremendous change. In the past eighteen years as the founder of NRE’s safety program, Murray has helped NRE embrace a strong commitment to safety that enables us to set the standard for safety in our industry.
Laying a Foundation
Murray’s history with NRE goes back decades. “I actually worked for NRE back in the 70s and 80s but changed careers and went to work with the Virginia Department of Labor as a Safety Inspector,” said Murray.
After several years gaining expertise in the field of safety, NRE approached Murray to help get a formal safety program off the ground. “Previously, they had hired people out of the field to focus on safety,” said Murray, “but for the most part, they weren’t formally trained in it.”
Murray came on board in January 2002 and got to work laying a foundation for a strong and effective safety program.
“In the beginning, we were about a $65 million company with about 350 employees,” said Murray. “It was just me in the Cloverdale, Virginia, office and another safety person in the Westerville, Ohio, office.”
An Atmosphere of Safety
The safety program that Murray established set rigorous standards for NRE employees. “We didn’t have any training before, really” said Murray, “but now everyone completes the OSHA 10 hour T&D, a program for employees in the Outside Electrical Industry.” In addition employees complete other training in First Aid/CPR, rigging, and crane operating, among other things.
“When we bring a person in here, we train them so they can do anything,” said Murray.
This broad knowledge of safety standards helped establish NRE’s atmosphere of safety-conscious workers. And this isn’t all talk – NRE backs up its commitment to safety with funding. “Last year, we spent over $1 million in training our employees,” said Murray. “Every Thursday and Friday, there are classes in Westerville and Cloverdale. Safety courses are a constant here at NRE.”
In the past eighteen years, the safety program needed to scale up. “We have just grown so much in the past eighteen years from about 400 workers to 1,200,” said Murray, “so our safety program had to grow with it.” Murray hired more and more safety inspectors and set rigorous scheduling for safety inspections at job visits. “The program went from just me to about 20 employees in eighteen years. That’s tremendous growth.”
Setting the Standard
NRE’s workers do complex work that can be dangerous if done incorrectly. We are proud that we have invested in a solid safety program that sets the standard of zero incidents for our workers to do excellent work as safely as possible.