Entrepreneur starts up business with a safety focus
Taylor Holmes could have just continued to work in the construction industry, and he would have been a happy man.
And then, one day at a job site, an accident changed the course of his life.
“(A man) fell three stories at a construction site and died,” Holmes said. “That was 2012, and it changed me forever. He was 63 years old. He had kids and grandkids, and he wasn’t ever coming home to them again.”
From that day forward, Holmes has been focused on safety.
“I was content to being a construction worker my whole life,” he said. “After that accident, I took three days off to get myself together. I started thinking about safety, and when I dove into it, I went headfirst. It’s all about educate, educate, educate.”
The first five years in, Holmes was doing 80 to 100 hours of full-time education.
Now 35, Holmes is working with companies doing jobs on the Hanford nuclear site.
He’s worked with some big ones: the Army Corps of Engineers, Navy and U.S. Department of Energy.
“But I was doing safety training on the side,” he said. “During the pandemic, when everyone was staying home, I decided I wanted to work for myself.”
So Holmes started Paradigm Safety.
“Another contractor found out what I was doing and asked me to help them,” he said. “I dove in, started going about August of 2021.”
Among the services Paradigm offers: consulting, contract staffing, writing safety programs, developing site specific safety plans and trainings on falling protection, excavation, aerial lift and forklift safety.
“We offer temporary part-time staffing for companies that aren’t big enough to hire a full-time safety professional,” said Holmes. “We can offer ‘X’ number of hours and represent their interests or (get them) squared away on whatever they need.
“We offer tailored safety programs, training, or site plans to each contractor’s industry or project.” Holmes continued. “We really strive to provide custom services to each client to ensure they are receiving services that promote actionable advice to promote workplace safety. Actually, I think I’m doing a lot better than I thought I would at this point.”
Getting clients as a one-man band – he’s the sole employee – can be hard.
“A lot of it is by word of mouth,” Holmes said. “But I think I have a pretty good name in the federal sector, which is where the majority of my work is.”
Yet Holmes can be a resource for small companies with five or six employees that can’t afford a safety manager.
“You can see the tangible moments such as working around a client’s yard,” Holmes said. “Then an insurance company sees the changes, and the client’s premiums are going to be lower.”
Injuries, Holmes said, happen all the time.
“It’s human nature to stand on a chair and fix something up high,” he said.
The most common injuries on site are falls, electrical shocks, being hit by equipment and excavation cave-ins.
“There were 35 deaths in the nation through excavations and trenches last year alone,” Holmes said.
Holmes gets an influx of information and news involving safety from various organizations around the country and world.
He sifts through it and relays the relevant data to his client companies.
About 70% of Paradigm’s work involves consulting.
“Consulting consists of a lot of site visits out at Hanford, working with the frontline supervisors,” he said. “I’m the only one at Hanford doing safety consulting for subcontractors.”
But if he’s tied up with other business, Holmes can outsource the consulting.
The remaining 30% of work at Paradigm involves training.
“My plan now is to start doing more staffing throughout Washington state,” Holmes said. “The ultimate goal is to have three or four safety consultants out there. That allows me to train. I like the training aspect the most.”
Eventually, he wants to get a small office for small business training.
Whatever he does, Holmes says it will involve safety.
“I love finding a challenge that seems so difficult, that no one can figure out, and finding a solution,” he said. “They’re puzzles, difficult things to figure out. I don’t want to do anything but safety now.
“I got lucky. I found my passion.”
Paradigm Safety: 8524 W. Gage Blvd., Building A-1, No. 144, Kennewick. Contact: 509-518-2451; paradigmsafetyco.com.