Meet our Corporate Safety Director, Eric Simmons
Our Corporate Safety Director
Meet Eric Simmons, the Corporate Safety Director at Helix Electric.
Eric recently received the 2021 Construction Safety Professional of the Year award presented by AGC and Milwaukee Tool. This award is dedicated to individuals who have demonstrated technical expertise in the field of safety and health, contributed to the advancement of safety and health with innovative ideas, and shown leadership in establishing, maintaining, and implementing programs at the jobsite. Off the back of this major win, Eric took some time to share what drives him to career success and what a “day in the life” of a safety director looks like.
I enjoy the opportunity to interact with, learn from, and hopefully help [coworkers] a little along the way.
How long have you been at Helix?
This is my 19th year with Helix.
Which office are you based out of?
I am in the San Diego office but support the company nationally. I have had a number of roles in the company and started as a Superintendent in Las Vegas. When I was on the operations side of the business, I built projects in California, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
What brought you to the safety industry?
To some degree, everyone in the construction business is in the safety business. We work in a very dynamic and sometimes unforgiving environment.
As I progressed in my career and moved into leadership roles, I became responsible for more than just my safety. My decisions had a much larger effect on others, and I wanted to make sure I would be able to keep them safe. So I took a lot of safety classes, asked a lot of questions, and obtained some safety certifications. This led to me taking on additional safety responsibilities, including teaching courses for our internal training program, Helix University. The more I became engaged in safety, the more those responsibilities grew. When the role of Corporate Safety Director, my name was suggested for the role, and it ended up being a great move for me. Coming from the operations side of our business, I have a good understanding of the challenges our teams face. That experience helps me connect with our teams as we work together to keep everyone safe.
While you are have been in the safety industry, what do you feel has been your top 3 accomplishments?
This position has been very rewarding and has allowed me to meet people throughout the organization and across the country. We have an incredible team of people who work at Helix. I enjoy the opportunity to interact with, learn from, and hopefully help them a little along the way.
We have had some great safety successes recently. Through a combination of efforts, including training, process, and program improvements, we have dramatically reduced our incident rates across the board- total recordable incidents, lost time, and restricted duty incidents.
We have greatly expanded our safety training in terms of topics, quality of training, and how we can deliver training. We have also expanded and diversified our safety team and focused on their personal and professional development to better support our project teams.
What does a “day in the life” of a Safety Director look like?
With operations across the country, my days involve a lot of travel and time on the phone. We work across six time zones, so there is always something going on. I try to have a high degree of interaction with my team, project teams, and operations leaders to stay ahead of what is going on.
Being proactive and very engaged helps us bring solutions and alternatives before problems become roadblocks. There is also a lot going on in the background. We are always working on updates to our safety programs and training programs. We are also expanding our programs to focus on total worker health.
I am also very involved in the standards process and in local and national safety committees. These efforts help give back to the safety community and help others improve their safety program, which benefits us all.
Learn more about AGC awards and other award recipients.