A group of HGC team members enjoying their career in construction.

Empowering HGC Through Training & Innovation

At HGC, safety is our #1 priority. Above field production and business operations, our primary goal every day is to send each teammate home in the same condition as they arrived. Due to the volume and scope of work our projects require, many tasks involve constant potential hazards that could result in serious injury, such as: falling, being struck by heavy equipment, electrocutions and breathing in silica dust and other harmful toxins.

Roughly 20% of worker deaths in the United States are in construction, but construction workers make up only 6% of the U.S. labor force.

Creating a culture centered around teammate safety and reversing the negative association most people have with safety in the workplace, have been critical in the growth strategy of HGC and will remain at the forefront as we move into the future and continue working toward being the best site developer in the Carolinas.


Created in 2018 by a hand-selected group of teammates, HGC Empowered is our internal safety initiative designed to drive awareness around the importance of maintaining a safe workplace and create individual accountability, resulting in an overall stronger safety culture. The initiative has helped develop a foundation of safety through encouraging an open-door policy without fear of retribution. Everyone at HGC has Stop Work Authority: the ability to pause their task at hand to ask questions or report a safety concern. While each teammate is viewed as a leader and safety advocate, a vital component of developing our safety culture would not be possible without our dedicated Safety Team.

“As a large site-developer with over 40 projects running at one time, our team cannot be everywhere at once,” states Rusty Duncan, Safety Superintendent. “Our vision is to gain the buy-in at an individual level that sparks a culture shift throughout entire crews and teams.”


Under the direction of HGC’s Safety Manager, Mason Kirkley, our safety team has continued to evolve over the last three years to better support our growing company. This group of certified professionals have decades of experience that has allowed them to better develop standard operating proceduresimplement new initiativesand provide field and classroom training to empower our teammates to be their safest.

The members of our safety team are extremely proficient in their field, maintaining up-to-date certifications in the following areas:

  • American Red Cross CPR Instructor
  • Flagger Instructor
  • OSHA-Authorized Trainer
  • MSHA-Approved Instructor
  • Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)
The HGC Safety Team: (top row L-R) Chris Williams, Rusty Duncan, & Jose Martinez (bottom row L-R) Mason Kirkley & Edward Sluiter


Kicking off with a comprehensive two-day safety orientation developed for our new hires, each teammate at HGC is encouraged to actively take ownership of their role in keeping themselves and their teammates safe on the job. Our team begins with Jobsite 101 Safety and, over the course of New Hire Orientation, move through OSHA-10 certification requirements and more complex situational training exercises.

Once the foundation is set, our teammates move into the field where they are closely monitored by our safety team, field trainers, and jobsite leaders to make sure their classroom knowledge is transferred into practical application on the job. Our safety team is designed to act as a resource to the entire company to not only ensure we are following safety protocols, but to also provide continuous learning and development opportunities to our teammates and partners.

The dynamic safety curriculum available at the HGC Academy gives our team the flexibility to offer a wide range of courses – in English or Spanish! Depending on the needs of our clients, or the phases of our projects, we are able to proactively (and quickly!) coordinate to ensure our teammates are the most skilled and educated in the business.

“Our guys have a lot of experience under their belts – they have seen unique situations and want others to learn from them. We are working hard to change the narrative and to be viewed as a positive resource for the rest of the company,” says Mason Kirkley, Safety Manager.

Safety Superintendent Jose Martinez leading a safety training class in Spanish.


In collaboration with our field trainers, the safety team is transforming how information is shared and absorbed. In a recent project, the Team Development Group came together to build a scale-model sandbox, complete with remote controlled heavy equipment. This test environment allows our teammates to discuss proper jobsite setup, improve their positive communication and focus on potential hazards.

By thinking outside the box and developing more engaging and cutting-edge training resources, we are able to be a safer and more efficient company. As safety trends and best practices evolve, so will we!

HGC teammates participating in sandbox safety training!