Reflections on Guardian Angel

As Guardian Angel, Martin Marietta’s trailblazing safety program, continues to spread across the entire Company, some of the program’s most fervent practitioners gathered in Dallas to discuss its various elements. Many of their thoughts will be included in a Guardian Angel overview video slated for release in early 2016. Here are just a few of their comments:

Sandy Garcia, Area Sales Manager, Southwest Division
Sandy Garcia

“When I think of Guardian Angel, I remember once – many years ago – a co-worker and I were welding on top of a super structure. We were all through and I stood up … and I heard him yell. I turned around and he was not on the platform where he should have been standing. He was on the ground about 20 feet down. I ran down there and he was in pain. His legs were broken – multiple fractures, compound fractures. We called EMS.

“What really sticks in my mind – the EMS had to set the bones and they asked me to hold his shoulders. I was holding him and he started wailing and screaming. At that moment, I decided I really wanted to be on this team. I wanted to be productive and to give something meaningful to the Company. You never want to be in a position where someone may die because of something you’ve done.”

James Ralls, Railcar Repairman, Hatton Quarry, Arkansas
James Ralls

“It doesn’t matter who you are or how long you’ve been here. You could be the low man on the totem pole when you’re out there working and you’re involved in everyday activities, but there’s no low man when it comes to safety. We’ve all got the equal right to stop anything unsafe from the moment we start.

“I bring that message home to my family. It’s important that my boys know that they should always look out for the people around them – whether it be at work, at ballgames or out there hunting. If they see something unsafe, they should stop what they’re doing and say something.”

Gustavo Patino, Leadman, Chico Quarry, Texas
Gustavo Patino

“The first question I always ask myself is, ‘Who does it impact if I get hurt?’ The answer is my family, my wife and my two boys. They’re my life. I’m out here to support my family and if I get hurt, I can’t do that. My son, Andres, is 5 years old. He likes basketball, soccer, swimming – he’s a really good kid and really bright. He listens well.

“When he was 3, I had an accident at home and I hurt my hand. I had to have it bandaged for six months. I couldn’t play with him, I couldn’t lift him easily. All of a sudden, dad was boring. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had. I let him down because I made a bad choice.

“That went away in six months, but imagine how that would feel if it were something permanent – an amputated arm or leg. Now, he’s learning how to ride a bike. How would it feel if I couldn’t run alongside him?”

Eddie Oliva, Regional Human Resources Safety Manager, Rocky Mountain Division
Eddie Oliva

"It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for it to really seep into their minds and hearts. When it does, people see that Guardian Angel is truly a living and breathing safety culture. That’s what I believe and I know that there are other Guardian Angels out there who believe the same.

“Then, there’s the Wingman. What that means is that we’re going to look out for each other every day. If I see something or feel that you’re doing some­thing that would put your safety at risk, I need to have enough courage to say, ‘Hey, I don’t agree with what we’re doing here and I don’t want you to get hurt. There are people who expect you home tonight and I want to make sure we get you there.’”


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