Eliminating accidents takes proper planning, proactive communication and a commitment to protecting oneself and those around you. While Skanska’s Injury-Free Environment® mindset and certain safety protocols are standard across all our projects, projects always need to innovate to meet their individual circumstances. Here are a few ways some of our projects are successfully keeping their people safe:
Making safety personal: Zero lost-time injuries on a project is impressive, and that’s what our team achieved during the 25 months they spent constructing the Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy in North Windham, Conn. Superintendent Bruce Laudone had two goals in mind when he decided to lead all 480 safety orientations: he wanted to gauge firsthand the level of expertise of our trade partners’ workforce, and he also wanted every worker to begin to get to know him and hear his explanation of Skanska’s IFE culture. By meeting every worker, Laudone wanted to improve lines of communication and create a team mentality so both trade partners and Skanska would be working to deliver the best building possible. “It’s the personal touch that was a differentiator,” Laudone said.
The team at Barrows STEM Academy in Conn. achieved zero lost-time injuries over their 25 month project.
At the Ambulatory Care Center expansion Skanska is building at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, our team’s success here is also based on a personal approach to safety, said Ryan Aalsma, Skanska project executive. “We’re really trying to tap that energy that comes from the heart, that desire for people to do what’s right,” he said. “In this case, what’s right is no one getting hurt on our jobs and everyone going home safely.”
Also key at Lackland is keeping safety “fresh,” so it remains top of mind for everyone on site. “You have to make your safety commitments up front and revisit them every day,” Aalsma said.
Integrating safety into the project: Our Los Angeles Exposition Line Phase 2 transit project hires many local workers as apprentices to learn construction skills, and even with thorough, first-day safety orientations those new workers are not immediately familiar with job-site hazards. So apprentices are required to wear blue hard hats for their first 90 days of work so more experienced workers know to pay extra attention to them.
The team at Los Angeles Exposition Line Phase 2 is focused on safely building a light rail.
At Barrows Academy, attention to detail meant building safety into the pre-construction process. From when they first saw the project documents, our team was looking for safety concerns and how they could address them in construction. Then, Skanska was very straightforward in addressing those concerns in trade partner bidding documents, in part because of this project’s strict public procurement rules. At every stage of trade contractor procurement – from scope review to contract review to execution – safety was emphasized. “Even before they received their contracts, our trade partners understood how important safety is to us,” said Beau Burgess, project manager. “This understanding carried forward into construction.”
It begins at the top: At Barrows Academy, Laudone understood that the buck stopped with him. By leading all of the safety orientations, Laudone made it clear that he was not only committed to safety but also someone that workers could turn to with concerns. For example, if a layout worker made a mistake rather than trying to hide it he would bring it to Laudone’s attention because of a non-blaming, open-door philosophy. Similarly, workers felt comfortable bringing up potential safety issues. “I’ve been on a lot of job sites where it’s us vs. them,” Laudone said. “Here, the trade contractors looked at us as a partner in creating this building.”
At the same time, if a project’s safety performance isn’t where it should be, the project leaders should be open to critiques and making subsequent adjustments to improve safety, Lackland’s Aalsma said. Additionally, the Lackland team has focused on doing Executive Site Safety Visits “with conviction,” said he. Any problems that are identified are quickly resolved.
At the Ambulatory Care Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, safety starts at the top.
At Barrows Academy, Expo Line Phase 2 and Lackland, our teams have demonstrated that a disciplined approach to safety can pay tremendous dividends. How will you incorporate these lessons into your own work?