‘Safety first’ helps Steamboat companies earn top honors from Pinnacol

Fox Construction's Wayne Klinck works on a job site off of Pine Street Monday afternoon. The construction company earned the Circle of Safety Award from Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s leading workers compensation insurer.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The start of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games are still a month away, but that hasn’t stopped one Steamboat Springs company from earning gold, and along with two others setting a standard for safety across the state of Colorado.

Fox Construction was one of three companies in Steamboat Springs that earned the Pinnacol’s Circle of Safety Award in 2017. The local contractors earned gold status while the HLCC Construction Company and GO Alpine were honored at the bronze level.

“I think it is a big deal,” Sarah Fox, owner and CEO of Fox Construction said. “We think it sets us apart just in general as a construction company because we do focus around safety. Every single day we talk about safety; it’s part of our culture, and it shows.

“It doesn’t mean that we never ever get injuries because things can still happen, but we work to prevent them,” Fox said. “We have all sorts of things in place to have gotten the award and to keep our guys safe. The main reason we do it is we truly want everyone to be safe and to go home every day.”

This is the third time that Fox has won the award, and the first time since Pinnacol’s Assurance started recognizing companies at the gold, silver and bronze medal levels. Fox said just qualifying for the award is special, and she is thrilled that two other companies from Steamboat were also recognized.

This is the 10th year that Pinnacol, Colorado’s leading workers compensation insurer, has handed out the honors. The company provides services to 57,000 Colorado businesses. Of those businesses, 342 qualified for the Circle of Safety Award, and 42 received it. Of those, only six were rated at the gold level.

“The construction industry, unfortunately, remains one of the top industries for injuries and fatalities in the United States,’ said Chris Rainwater, owner of Rainwater Safety and HR Consulting, which offers services to both FOX and HLCC Construction. “It is an amazing accomplishment given the number of general contractors in the state of Colorado that these companies in Steamboat Springs have been recognized. Winning these awards is nothing short of spectacular.”

“This is our sixth award,”  said Pegi Simmerman, office manager for HLCC. “It’s a big honor. I think there are only 3,000 that are nominated, and out of that only 42 get it, so you have to be on top of your safety game.”

The local construction company was honored with the award in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017. 

GO Alpine has picked up back-to-back awards during the past two years.

“Our focus is indeed on safety all the time,” said Betty Rubin, GO Alpine’s director of human resources. “When we win awards like this, we are proud of them … it helps our employees and our drivers know that we are in fact sincere about being safe.”

GO Alpine carries more than 155,000 passengers and travels about one million miles annually.

“This year’s Circle of Safety winners are setting the standard in protecting their employees on the job, no matter what kind of hazards they face,” said Phil Kalin, Pinnacol’s president and CEO, in a news release. “They’re an example of how to do it right, which keeps their employees safe and their businesses strong.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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