Spreading its Wings

Martin Marietta's Guardian Angel Safety Program Goes Companywide

It’s prevented accidents and saved lives across parts of Martin Marietta for years.

Now, the Guardian Angel safety program is taking its message companywide.

Originating in the Southwest Division in the early 2000s, Guardian Angel was designed by a small team of employees with the specific aim of empowering men and women in the field.

The program’s creed, a brief statement that all employees are encouraged to learn and take to heart, states that goal clearly.

“What the creed says, essentially, is that if you do these things, we’ve got your back,” said Vice President of Safety and Health Michael Hunt. “It’s all about making sure that our people go home at the end of each and every day.”

Martin Marietta’s Chairman, President and CEO Ward Nye hailed the program and its creed as the right step forward.

“One aspect that I like about Guard­ian Angel is that it’s consistent with the type of branding that we’ve done since our new logo was introduced,” he said. “Like our new logo, Guardian Angel is something our employees can rally around.”

The program may differ slightly from division to division, but its platform remains the same:

  • Martin Marietta wants every employee to go home safely at the end of each day.

  • Employees should take personal responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their co-workers.

  • Employees should be involved in the safety process.

  • Employees should make the safe decision every time.

Since its initial implementation, Guardian Angel has gone through several incarnations – each marked by a number of changes and minor tweaks designed to make its lessons increasingly accessible.

Wade Thrapp, a loader operator at Oklahoma’s Broken Bow Sand & Gravel, was among a handful of Martin Marietta employees to revamp the program late last year.

After creating a new presentation featuring games, testimonials, photographs of employees and their loved ones, and role-playing activities designed to promote the best practices, Thrapp and the group toured parts of the Southwest Division, spending the better part of three months delivering the new Guardian Angel to the masses.

“We spoke from our hearts and I think people could see the blood, sweat and tears we put into it,” Thrapp said. “I think we showed that if we can do it, anyone can. I hope we moved people to get on board.”

Wade Thrapp presents during Guardian Angel training at Jones Mills Quarry in Arkansas.

Wade Thrapp

Rodney Ross, a truck driver at Arkansas' Jones Mill Quarry, experienced the training and said those who spoke were effective communicators.

“I felt the vibe of the guys,” he said. “I felt the emotional parts of it. It was real and straight from the heart.”

Hunt said the program’s companywide expansion has gone well so far because those divisions in which Guardian Angel was not already present were previously utilizing many of the same practices under programs of different names. Those employees not yet familiar with Guardian Angel are expected to be experience some level of exposure by the year’s end, he said.

Though no one can predict exactly how Guardian Angel will evolve as a companywide initiative, Larry Roberts, president of the Southwest Division, said it will likely remain vital as long as men and women in the field are concerned about their personal safety and the well-being of their co-workers.

“The people on the ground – those who do the work each and every day – they’re the ones who own Guardian Angel,” he said. “As long as they’re engaged in its success, it will continue to serve as a touchstone for our safety culture.”

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