May 2-6 marks Skanska’s 12th annual Safety Week – and the 3rd annual Construction Industry Safety Week, where we and 50 of our peer construction firms pause to take a closer look at how “safety is the thread that ties us together.” We asked Bill Flemming, President & CEO of Skanska USA building, to share his thoughts on the importance of workplace safety.
As a leader in construction, it’s our obligation to deliver our projects safely, using innovative and sustainable solutions with great efficiency and quality. Creating an Injury Free Environment® – one that sends every worker home every night the same way they came to us in the morning – is of paramount importance. To me, we are not successful if we put our workers at risk to deliver projects. We work safely, or not at all.
Bill Flemming (center), President and CEO of Skanska Building, tours a NYC project site during Safety Week 2016.
A zero lost-time accident rate doesn’t happen by chance. It takes thoughtful planning and execution to ensure the safety of everyone involved. After the work is done, acknowledging what went well – and identifying what didn’t – leads to better preparations for the next time. We are continually raising the bar on how we work to create the safest work environment possible.
Safety extends beyond the job site as well, into our offices and our homes. Sometimes the simplest and most repetitive of tasks are the ones that present the most overlooked dangers. Making safety a part of our everyday habits – for ourselves and our friends and families – will also get us to a zero accidents.
Two years ago, I asked everyone at Skanska USA Building to make a personal safety pledge. At the same time, I made a pledge to visit more of our projects with the purpose of talking to our workers about the importance of safety.
For Safety Week this year, I visited job sites with my peers from Hunter Roberts and Lend Lease, and we talked about the importance of safety in everything we do. We agreed that anything that makes our sites safer was worth doing together in full collaboration. Moving forward, we will be developing a unified orientation program that can apply to all three organizations, which will save each firm from doing individual programs for a new employee. This cross-company approach will make our workers safer and provide more consistency to our safety protocols.
On those job site visits this week, I also witnessed, first-hand, the lengths our workers go to in creating an injury-free environment on our projects. Their dedication to safety was inspiring and tells me we can get to zero accidents on all of our job sites all the time. It takes everyone committed to making it happen.