Curran takes risk out of the equation

Dave Curran
June 12, 2012 - 2011 marked the fourth consecutive year that both companies that now make up United States Alliance Fire Protection (USAFP) earned the prestigious ASA Chicago Safety Award. The review process for this award entails a thorough analysis of a company's performance during the previous three years. By this math, USAFP's safety and loss prevention programs have been at the front of the pack since 2004.

That date coincides with the start of Dave Curran's career as USAFP's director of safety and risk management, a job he's held for the past eight years. During that time, Curran has continued to raise the bar for the already safety-conscious staff at USAFP.

Before joining USAFP, Curran was with the Construction Risk Management team for Zurich Insurance Group. In total, he has worked in risk management for 25 years. During his tenure, Curran has realized that safety isn't just about the man in charge - it's the whole company's responsibility.

"It's got to be a team approach," Curran says. "I'm just one resource, but it's the guys out in the field who have to execute. It's my job to train them and make them successful."

Curran says one of his favorite parts about his work is that no two days are the same. Recently, Curran was on-site at Allstate Insurance's headquarters in Northbrook, Ill., to test the site's fire sprinkler system equipment.

"Being there to support our employees gives a level of comfort to the customers," he says. "The staff from Allstate was happy I was there - their comment was that they've never seen attention to detail like what we provided."

That was at 6 a.m. From there, Curran headed to meetings for new projects. After that, he visited more job sites, including the University of Chicago Medical Center and Tribune Tower, before heading back to the Lake Forest office to finish reviewing claims and safety requirements for project bids.

When on-site, Curran says many years in risk management help him communicate the risks and dangers with his team.

"I identify hazards and explain them to the team, but I can also illustrate how even a simple injury can be a life-changing event," he says. "For example, if you don't wear safety glasses and you injure an eye, you could end up with a driving restriction and be unable to drive at night. That means you have to have a loved one drive you to work."

It's the little things that make USAFP so proficient. Curran and his crew check for everything from faulty extension cords to broken parts. That's not just beneficial for the teams on the ground - it ensures that end users are safe in the long run.

"We're only as good as our weakest link," Curran says. "Fortunately, everyone at USAFP takes safety seriously. Our goal is zero accidents and zero injuries. We are currently approaching a million man hours without a lost workday case."

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