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LHSFNA Boosts Company's Efforts:
Signatory Contractor Sustains Long Safety Tradition
By Walter Jones
The LHSFNA provides a variety of direct support and assistance to LIUNA signatory contractors. Recently, the Fund had the opportunity to sit down and discuss our services with Steven Matich, President of the Matich Corporation, in southern California.
In July 2013, LHSFNA OSH Division Associate Director Walter Jones, Pacific Southwest Tri-Funds Field Coordinator Amber Novey and Bryan Mathews, Southwest LECET Marketing Representative, met with Matich at his office in San Bernardino. Matich had requested the meeting because – in an effort to gain a better understanding of OSH issues before hiring a new company safety director – he had, himself, temporarily assumed the director's duties.
Matich explained that this family-owned and family-run company was founded in 1918 by Yugoslavian immigrants John and Nikolas Matich. By 1950, the company had expanded operations throughout the Western United States.
Today, the third Matich generation is leaving its mark on the company, which provides services such as private and public road contracting, asphalt sales and construction management. Its concrete construction consists mainly of curbs, sidewalks and driveways. Matich's newest asphalt plant near Palm Springs is recognized as one of the cleanest facilities of its kind. It employs warm mix technology that virtually eliminates pollution without sacrificing the quality for which Matich is well-known. It offers a full range of asphalt products, including conventional mix, rubberized asphalt, RAP and coated chips for sealcoat operations.
After talking with Matich at his office, Jones and Novey toured three company worksites: a street grading operation near Palm Springs, a road paving site in Two Bunch Palms and the Matich Asphalt plant in Cabazon. They also visited the Matich maintenance yard near its main offices.
The main hazards were the 90-100 degree desert heat, motorist intrusion into work zones and internal runover/backover hazards. Observations and employee interviews revealed that the worksites and workers were well prepared to handle the high heat threats. The roadway work zones were found to be in compliance with the safety requirements of MUTCD.
At Matich's request, Jones is reviewing and commenting on the company's Employee Safety Handbook. Meanwhile, Jones suggested that all Matich employees receive OSHA 10-Hour training and all supervisors take the OSHA 30-Hour. Matich agreed, and Novey has made arrangements to get the training started with the LIUNA Azusa Training Center.
Other signatory employers who may be interested in a site visit or other consultation with the Fund's professional staff should contact the OSH Division at 202-624-5465.
[Walter Jones is the LHSFNA Occupational Safety and Health Division's Associate Director.]