Pedro Regalado stared down in disbelief at the cumbersome contraption wrapping around his jeans. For the next few weeks, it would be a constant reminder—along with an awkward limp—of the fall he’d suffered the day before, dislocating his knee. But the stint in a brace wasn’t the worst outcome of Pedro’s fall off of a flatbed truck—not by a long shot. Though the accident was in no way Pedro’s fault, his employment was promptly terminated, leaving the husband and father fearful for his future.
At the time of his accident, Pedro had worked in the construction trades for nearly 20 years, both in the vertical and civils sectors. He’d seen his fair share of injuries, including a few serious ones, and had a handful of scars that reminded him of his own brushes with the First Aid station. But just as disconcerting to Pedro as the accidents themselves was the cavalier and often dismissive attitude towards safety that he’d observed—an attitude that treated injuries as inevitable and often subjected workers to shame and blame when they did occur. Pedro soon landed back on his feet, but not before resolving himself to two beliefs: first, that the industry could—must—change, and second, that he’d play a role in its evolution.
When Pedro joined the Balfour Beatty Infrastructure team in 2011 as a labor foreman, he knew this was an organization that “walked the talk” when it came to safety—not merely in its regulations, which exceeded OSHA standards, but more importantly in its approach to people. And though Pedro was confident that Balfour Beatty was a company in which he could pursue a rewarding career, what he couldn’t possibly imagine was that he’d soon have the opportunity to transition into a full-time safety role. “I jumped at the chance,” Pedro swells with emotion as he recalls the moment he was entrusted with this awesome responsibility.
Since that time, Pedro has earned a reputation as a humble and heartfelt safety champion. When he observes a worker not wearing the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), he’s quick to share a story from his catalog of experiences. “I ask them, ‘Do you want to be able to see your children with both eyes? Because I’ve witnessed guys who weren’t wearing their glasses lose an eye.’ ” Pedro tells his own stories, too. “I’m not just preaching what the book says,” he stresses. “When I go home safe, and the 100 plus people on my jobsite go home safe, I know we’re getting it done, day by day.”
This philosophy is one of the reasons Pedro is a staunch supporter of Balfour Beatty’s newest Zero Harm
campaign, “See Something, Say Something,” that aims to increase dialogue about unsafe behaviors and work practices. Knowing firsthand the long-term damage that a culture of silence can inflict, Pedro believes that meaningful conversations lead to lasting change. When he stops to correct workers, he always strives to obtain their input about what measures could effectively reduce risk in any given activity. And because Pedro is bilingual, he’s able to have those important conversations in both English and Spanish—a tremendous benefit to a diverse workforce.
Today, Pedro is part of our team that is modernizing the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant
in Los, Gatos, California. The five-year project is expected to boost the plant’s clean water output to as much as 100 million gallons per day. As of April 2017, the project has gone over 450 days without a lost time accident. But more than this noteworthy statistic, Pedro prides himself on caring for the workers under his watch. “Two of my guys had babies last month,” he beams. At Pedro’s request, the Balfour Beatty team sent them congratulatory flowers—a gesture representative of his people-oriented leadership style.
Perhaps that’s because to Pedro, his work is incredibly personal. In fact, he dedicates each of his projects to a family member, whether it’s his wife of 17 years, sons ages 15 and 12 or his 16-month-old daughter. And speaking of his wife, Pedro has her to thank for the introduction to Balfour Beatty. Mrs. Regalado encouraged her husband to look into the infrastructure contractor after taking a job in the same building as its Fairfield, California headquarters. “I may have heard an ‘I told you so,’ ” laughs Pedro.
It’s a line you’ll never hear Pedro use on the jobsite. If some safely leaders believe in obtaining compliance by carrying a big stick, Pedro seeks instead to ensure commitment through coaching and caring. He knows firsthand that construction is inherently risky. But he also knows we can take significant steps to make it safer. The truck on which he injured his knee, for example, wasn’t equipped with handrails. One worker, one day at a time, Pedro isn’t just making good on his promise to change the industry. He’s fulfilling his destiny.
Hear more about why safety is important to Pedro: