Overcoming the Dangers of Highway Work Zones

Construction workers on highway infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and tunnels are exposed to hazards every day. On large sites with a lot of heavy machinery, measures have to be taken to address the risks of workers being struck by distracted motorists, equipment or objects, for instance. As a leading construction and development company, we are uniquely positioned to strive to achieve zero incidents on our sites while also influencing the industry and its stakeholders. We are committed to the safety of our people. It’s important to us that our workers arrive home to their families every day the same way they arrived to work – safe and sound.

The Halo Light, which many Skanksa crews use, is a personal safety system that makes workers more visible, while also increasing their efficiency. The innovative safety device, which attaches to hardhats, provides 360° illumination visible over ¼ mile away in any direction, while lighting the entire task area.

But hazardous elements exist outside the work zone too, especially on large transportation and infrastructure projects. So, as much as we provide rigorous safety plans for our construction project teams, the community needs to be diligent as well. It’s a two-way street.  When you consider that motorists are often asked to drive through a complex array of signs, barrels and lane changes in work zones, driving cautiously can go a long way in keeping both motorists and workers safe.

This time of year, maybe more so than any other season, presents an increased likelihood for incidents. Winter weather conditions can make driving challenging, and shorter daylight hours can impede visibility.

Working with a customer that understands that there are no compromises when it comes to safety makes for a true partner. Creating a safe environment in work zones is critical. It’s a responsibility for the construction company and customer, and having diligent motorists are essential to creating a safe atmosphere for everyone. Working together, we can create work zones with good signage, safety barricades and more to make sure everyone from workers to motorists are safe.

Here are some safety tips for motorists from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration:

Stay alert and minimize distractions. Avoid changing the radio station, using a mobile phone, eating or other activities that can remove your concentration from the road.

Keep your headlights on. In active construction sites, it’s as important the workers see you coming as it is you see them.

Pay attention to the road. Watch brake lights on vehicles ahead. Watch traffic around you and be prepared to react.

Merge into the proper lane. Merge well before you reach the lane closure. Be aware that traffic patterns can change daily.

Don’t tailgate. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance.

Obey the posted speed limit. Workers may be present just feet away. Fines may be double for moving traffic violations. Be prepared to slow down further if conditions indicate the need. If you’re traveling 30 miles, chances are speeding will save you mere seconds of time on your trip while on the freeway. Slowing down in work zones won’t add time to your trip and can save lives. Here’s the math to back it up.

Change lanes safely. Change lanes only where pavement markings indicate, and only when traffic conditions permit.

Follow instructions from flaggers. These workers, while vulnerable standing in active moving lanes, are critical to ensure safe passage in a construction zone. Be mindful and cognizant of the directions they are providing, and watch your speed.

Expect the unexpected. Workers, work vehicles, or equipment may enter your lane without warning. Other vehicles may slow, stop, or change lanes unexpectedly.

Be patient. Construction won’t last forever so remember the minor inconvenience you are experiencing or feeling today will be short-lived in comparison to the improvements in the long run.

Being mindful while driving can help save a life. We will do our part to keep everyone safe. We hope drivers will, too.

Clark Peterson

Clark Peterson

Vice President, Environmental, Health and Safety

More Posts

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and holiday feasts, which make it an important time to keep safety top-of-mind. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly four times more home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on a typical day.

Skanska has an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) team that uses a series of standard policies and procedures to help keep people safe. The same mindset that helps us avoid incidents on a jobsite can keep you safe at home.

From fire prevention to the general safety and well-being of everyone in your home during the holiday, the safety tips listed below can help you prevent potentially dangerous accidents:

Always stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food.

Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

Designate a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove.

If you use a turkey fryer, make sure it is outdoors and in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures that could catch on fire. Place it away from moisture that can cause serious burns from steam or splattering hot oil. Click here to watch a short video on the dangers of turkey fryers.

Be sure that electric cords from an electric knife are not dangling off the counter within reach of a child.

For more Thanksgiving safety tips from the American Red Cross, click here. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

More Posts - Website

Fall Safety Tips

Today marks the official end to the summer. As we say goodbye to the warm months of the summer season and welcome to the cooler fall weather, it’s important to keep a few safety tips in mind.

At Skanska, we have an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) team that uses a series of standard policies and procedures to help keep people safe. The same thinking used on our project sites can apply to keeping safe in almost any aspect of life.

Below are some safety tips and reminders to ensure your family can enjoy the crisp autumn weather, while avoiding some of the dangers that come with the season.

Fall Safety Tips:

Get your flu shot – Autumn is the start of flu season, and its recommended that everyone six months and older gets vaccinated.

Fire safety – When the weather turns cold, most people spend more time inside their homes using fireplaces, furnaces and heaters to keep warm. Before the cold weather sets in, be sure to call your heating and cooling company to service your furnace. A specialist should inspect the furnace to make sure everything is in working order.

Be aware of poor visibility while driving – Falling leaves can obscure vision on roadways, as can rain and fog. Be aware of limitations in your visibility, and slow down if you can’t see well.

Watch for children playing close to the street – Children love to play in piles of leaves, so use extra caution when leaves are piled at curbsides. In addition, school buses will be making their rounds now that school is back in session so drive with care in your local neighborhoods.

Slow down on wet pavement – In many areas of the country, rain is common during the fall. If it’s raining, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Wet roads make it more difficult to stop.

Be prepared for bright sunlight – When sunrise occurs later in the morning, it can also present challenges for drivers. Having a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle to wear when the sun is bright is a good strategy.

Watch out for ice – As the temperatures drop further at night, you may need to spend some extra time in the morning scraping frost off your vehicle. Shady spots on the roadway may be home to black ice, which a driver may not be aware of until his or her car starts to skid on it.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

More Posts - Website

Why we’re piloting a new hard hat

There is no symbol of construction like the hard hat. It is the most visible piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) we use and one of the most critical. Yet, it is also one of the least evolved. Hard hats in use today, by and large, are the same as the ones used a generation ago.

While the traditional hard hat provides impact protection to the top of the head, it has marginal effectiveness protecting against impacts to the front or back. A sudden movement, tilt of the head or, worse, a fall, generally means the hard hat flies off. In the latter case, it not only leaves the worker unprotected, but can also lead to the hard hat becoming a falling projectile. That can happen at any height, even a slip, trip or fall from ground level. When we do work at heights, we often tether our tools and workers are required to tie off. The same is not standard for hard hats.

Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released figures indicating that construction workers suffer more traumatic brain injuries than workers in any other field in the United States. Any step we can take to further protect workers is a necessary step.

We believe there is room for improvement and, if you see a Skanska job site, you may start to see a new look among some of our workers.

The latest hard hat is rated to protect effectively against impacts to the top, front and back of the head.

On several project sites, we are piloting the use of a construction helmet that, at first glance, might seem more at home on a hockey rink or rock-climbing wall. At first, we see workers look at them a bit funny, but after a week or so in practice, few have wanted to go back to the old-style hat. That’s because the benefits far outweigh any odd glances, and most deal with being safer:

– The hard hat is not only rated to protect effectively against impacts to the top of the head, but also the front and back. The truth is, most workers can probably think of times where they’ve scraped the front or back of their heads more often than something hitting the top of their hats. The new hat is obviously an upgrade. Normally, a blow to the front or back of a hard hat causes the hat to shift, which can lead to a blow to the head. Our new hats don’t do this.

– The chin strap keeps the hat in place. We say we stretch and flex every morning the same way an elite athlete does before a game. Similarly, most football and hockey players keep their helmets strapped on. So do bikers, rock climbers and more. It’s common sense that when you’re in motion, you should strap in for protection. The upshot is easy to imagine on a job site. You can look up or down with both hands free, not needing to hold the hat in place. In the event of an unforeseen motion, the hard hat stays in place. When working at heights, a hard hat that can be strapped on should be a no-brainer. In fact, we have started to require them in certain scenarios involving heights and exposure to wind.

– A side benefit is the visor for eye protection. Rated the same way safety glasses are, the visor provides more coverage, is attached to the hat (so no real way to forget to take safety glasses along) and, for the most part, never fogs up, a constant frustration with safety glasses.

– Lastly, feedback from the field says it’s actually pretty comfortable to wear.

You can imagine it’s already a big change for some craft workers to trade their hard hat for something new. Hard hats are often personalized and, in some cases, help tell the story of a worker’s career. It’s encouraging that so many workers have not only been willing to try something new, but that they’re willing to do so because, when you get right down to it, they want to be as safe as possible. They all want to go home to their friends and families every day.

So, if you see a Skanska site, take a look. More and more, we expect you’ll see the new hard hats in action. When you see them, know that it’s because the crew on the site is wearing them to further prevent head injuries.

How a construction approach to safety can benefit everyone

This week marks Skanska’s 13th annual Safety Week and the 4th annual Construction Industry Safety Week. We asked Paul Haining, Chief EHS Officer for Skanska USA Inc., how the Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle of continuous improvement, this year’s focus, can help drive us towards zero incidents as an industry.

Proper planning, an engaged workforce and proactive communication reduces incidents. These are the basic principles for Skanska’s Injury-Free Environment® (IFE) mindset and safety protocols that drive the way we work.

While a construction Environment Health & Safety (EHS) Manual can be hundreds of pages of procedures, a lot of it can be boiled down to a simple thought process that can be applied even at home by DIY-ers. The Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle helps drive our culture, influencing the way we live and those who work with us.

How the Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle works:

Plan: Evaluate the work to be done, whether across the scope of work or for just a single day. Establish what success looks like. Identify all hazards and how you will address them.

Do: Execute the plan as it was written. If circumstances change or if conditions arise that were not accounted for in the plan, stop. Revaluate and move ahead according to the new plan.

Check: After the work is complete, evaluate the results. Did the plan work? Are there things that should be improved in the plan moving forward? What didn’t the original plan cover?

Act: Make adjustments and create a new plan based on the evaluation. Begin the cycle again.

The Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle drives safe choices and productivity. Everyone’s inspiration for working safely is different. The “why” is the motivator that drives someone to make the safe choice over a quick and dirty alternative. Where we find common ground is in the method in which we work.

The Time is Now

Our industry has made great strides to protect workers and we are closer than ever to achieving the ultimate goal of zero injuries. With construction volume forecast to increase and a significant number of seasoned craft workers nearing retirement, we must all work to sustain a culture that rejects the thinking that incidents are an unavoidable part of the work we do.

The construction industry is looking at a potentially grim equation if it doesn’t reinforce its safety efforts. Dodge Data & Analytics is forecasting a 5 percent increase in construction starts in 2017 at the same time as the construction industry tackles a labor shortage with more than 150,000 unfilled positions. With many industry veterans leaving the workforce, the risk is that newly-hired skilled workers enter the field without knowledge of how to plan work to avoid injuries.

The labor shortage presents an opportunity now, more than ever, for the industry to band together to help drive unified expectations and our safety culture. Each person who steps onto a construction site has something to learn. That is what the Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle instills in the people who use it on a daily basis. By teaching this method of working to each person who enters a Skanska jobsite, we are giving workers – new and old – the foundation to work safe on future projects, industry-wide.

When we all work safe, we all go home safe.

Taking the mindset home

Another facet of Skanska’s IFE culture is that it isn’t just for work; it’s a lifestyle.

On this blog a few years ago, I discussed how pro cyclist Danny MacAskill plans for risk and how he says he constantly evaluates what he’s doing. That constant evaluation is the core of Plan > Do > Check > Act and it should be applied whenever we do anything with risk.

Just as complacency on a job site can lead to a cascade of factors that lead to injury, a near-miss when driving, working around the yard or even waiting for your ears to stop ringing after a great concert is a sign that, perhaps, we can plan those activities differently to be a bit safer.

As we focus this week on making our industry as safe as can be, so too can each of us strive to be safe no matter what risks we face every day.

Paul Haining

Paul Haining

Chief environment, health and safety officer

More Posts - LinkedIn

Spring cleaning tips: Weekend warriors can stay safe with tips from construction pros

We’ve made it. Spring is finally here. While that signals a shift in the weather, it’s also a reminder that it’s time for spring cleaning. But before you dust off those indoor cleaning supplies and attack some outdoor projects, keep in mind that safety should go hand-in-hand with spring cleaning.

Homeowners probably don’t see a lot of similarities between household upkeep and the activities of a massive construction site. However, many of the same safety risks construction workers face exist for the “do-it-yourself” work that weekend warriors hit the toolbox for every spring.

Hundreds of thousands of people injure themselves just “doing work around the house” every year. Many of these injuries could be prevented if people treated work at home the way construction companies approach safety.

It is assumed construction is dangerous work and, indeed, workers must plan for how they will address a variety of hazards every day. In 2016, as a result, 91 percent of Skanska’s job sites in the United States had zero incidents that resulted in a worker missing time from work. We want to get that number to 100 percent. The larger point is that when people respect the dangers they potentially face, and take the time to plan out the work, incidents can be avoided.

Our homes are perceived as safe places, but there really is no difference in risk between a ladder being used on a construction project site and one at your home. By approaching work at home like a construction crew would, we might all spend more time grilling on the patio than recovering from an injury. Below are a few safety tips from the jobsite to apply in your home:

Cleaning the gutters

This is a task that almost certainly requires a ladder. Did you know that a ladder is often the last-resort choice on construction sites for working at heights? When a ladder is used, extensive planning takes place. At home, most people grab the ladder and go, making it no surprise that the Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates there are about 165,000 ladder-related injuries every year.

Before climbing up to clear gutters of accumulated debris, start on the ground. Is the ladder in good shape? How will you stabilize the ladder (e.g. having someone there to hold on)? Keep in mind: Skanska doesn’t allow for extension ladders that haven’t been physically tied to the structure. Where will you put this ladder and is it level?

Once on the ladder, never climb past the third rung from the top. Never lean off the side of the ladder. It may be a bit more time consuming to climb down and move the ladder, but it is safer. Certainly, don’t get the idea to climb onto your slanted roof and work from above. Construction workers would tell you they’d be uncomfortable doing that without tying off properly. Trust the professionals. Incidents on ladders happen quickly and, often, catastrophically. Proper planning can eliminate those risks.

Lawn care

Nothing says spring like the smell of freshly-mowed grass. A lawn mower is probably the top piece of equipment used by homeowners to take care of their property and, where there’s a lawn mower, there’s also usually a trimmer nearby.

On a construction site, specialized equipment like this would require dressing appropriately. Do you do the same at home? For instance, the low-to-the-ground blade would require closed-toe shoes. Something being pushed means the need for gloves to protect the hands from a variety of hazards. The propensity of lawn mowers and trimmers to fling rocks and debris in the air at a high speed would demand a worker wear long pants and eye protection. The noise would require hearing protection. People who work in similar conditions every day would dress appropriately. Why not follow their lead? Lawn care isn’t a fashion contest and you don’t get a lot of second chances when it comes to injuries to your sight or hearing.

Using the right tools for fix-it jobs

One of the leading causes of an incident on any of our job sites is a lapse where a worker uses the wrong tool for a job or uses the right tool the wrong way. If you’ve ever tried to hammer in a nail with the handle of a screwdriver, you’re guilty of this.

Improvising is not a good solution if safety is the goal. Tools are designed to do a specific task very well, but misuse can lead to a variety of cuts, lacerations and… well, do the right Google search and you can find worse outcomes.

Lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling and awkward postures

How many times have you performed a task at home, only to find yourself arriving at work the next day with sore aching muscles?  Ergonomics-related hazards at home are also equally significant and comparable to what we face on a construction site.  Often times, the “how” portion of moving the material from point A to point B gets overlooked in planning of work, because as humans, we tend to be programmed to just pick something up without considering how we are going to do so.  We also tend to ignore warning signs of potential strain type injuries and push through the task in the spirit of getting the job done.

Prior to each task, determine what materials need to be moved and how to safely move them. Do you need a partner to help with any lifting and carrying? Can you utilize a cart at waist height for easier access to materials, versus bending over multiple times throughout the day? Will you be working in an awkward body posture? If so, are you able to rearrange things to place your body in a more natural posture? Another good tip is to perform stretching exercises prior to beginning your task.  Skanska performs stretch and flex exercises every day of every week prior to going to work, as a way of getting our muscles warmed up. It also creates more fluidity around the joint areas, so we are adequately prepared to use our bodies that day.

There’s more…

Sometimes, even things that seem like simple fixes require turning off water, power or gas. An example of this is replacing an electrical fixture that you were waiting for better weather to handle, and turning the power off before doing so.  This is something construction teams are also very familiar with, often taking extra steps to ensure all workers on site know what’s live so they can plan against it. Storing cleaning agents properly can ensure no spills of potentially harmful chemicals, as well. On job sites, that’s usually a legal requirement. In your backyard shed, though, it’s equally important.

Two other common construction site mantras will help eliminate injuries at home, too. If conditions arise that you didn’t anticipate, stop and re-think the plan. Don’t proceed like everything is normal if it is not. Know when to ask for help. If you don’t think you can safely accomplish the task, stop and get help from others.

Check out our top 12 construction time-lapse videos

Today, we’re taking a step back (and up) to offer a unique perspective on some of our most complex projects. Building anything new often takes several years, but nothing accelerates the construction process like a time-lapse video to transform a project before your eyes. The videos below highlight the conversion of an empty space or hole in the ground into something meaningful and impressive.

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus

In 2016, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub opened in downtown Manhattan, the culmination of our 15-year journey in restoring and enhancing transportation access to Lower Manhattan. Our team fabricated and erected the hub’s “Oculus” – a Santiago Calatrava-designed structure comprised of approximately 11,500 tons of structural steel consisting of portals, arches and rafters that combined give the structure a unique shape similar to a bird in flight. To erect the Oculus, we used two highly specialized tower cranes manufactured explicitly for this unique project. The Oculus is the centerpiece of the new hub and will serve more than 250,000 pedestrians per day as the primary link for access to New Jersey PATH trains and 11 New York City subway lines. More than a national symbol, the Oculus is a global icon that symbolizes the successful rebirth of Downtown Manhattan.

99M Street, SE

In Washington, D.C., our team is developing and building 99M Street, SE, an 11-story, 234,000-square-foot Class A office building in Washington’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood just steps from the Washington Nationals Ballpark. Located at the corner of 1st and M Streets, this prime office space will include a green roof and rooftop terrace, a club-grade fitness facility, secure bicycle storage and four levels of underground parking. The complex excavation for 99M began in November 2015 and nearly 500 construction workers have dedicated approximately 51,200 work hours to complete the excavation and foundation work this month. As part of the excavation process 34,000 cubic yards of soil and rock were removed from the site, enough to fill more than 10 Olympic-size pools.

The New York Wheel

In Staten Island, we completed the foundation for the New York Wheel, a 630-foot observation wheel that will rise over the southern end of New York Harbor and provide unique views of the Manhattan skyline. Our team executed two massive concrete placements for the observation wheel pile caps. Each placement saw nearly 4,000 cubic yards of 10,000 psi, self-consolidating concrete that was placed continuously over 14 hours.

Fore River Bridge

In Quincy, Massachusetts, our team transported a custom-built span from a shipyard down the Weymouth Fore River on a custom-built barge to the Fore River Bridge. Then, the nearly three million pounds of steel was lifted approximately 60 feet and installed between the two existing towers as the outgoing tide lowered it into place. A crucial factor was timing the ride of the river, which moves up and down as much as eight feet. The moving tide was necessary for floating in and properly placing the new span.

Philadelphia International Airport

After six months of detailed planning and coordination, we erected a 91,000-pound, 100-foot-long pre-assembled baggage conveyor bridge over the main airport departure road in less than eight hours. The work took place in the middle of the night to minimize any potential disruption to airport operations.

Capitol Tower

In Houston, our 35-story Capitol Tower office project – which is currently under development – started with a 19-hour, 20-minute concrete pour to create a mat foundation that varies between seven and nine-and-a-half feet thick. Our planning and execution of this 9,020 cubic-yard continuous pour was so precise that the actual duration was within three minutes of what we originally planned.

Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

In Miami, we are building the state-of-the-art, 280,000-SF, multi-use science and technology museum, planetarium and aquarium being constructed in Museum Park in the Greater Miami Downtown area. The 500,000-gallon aquarium required a continuous concrete pour that took 24 hours and 49 minutes. This pour sets the foundation for the Gulf Stream Tank that will be home to a number of deep-sea species viewable from both top and bottom.

Recently, we installed a 31-foot, 13-inch thick, 60,000-pound viewing oculus in a complex crane operation that required five years of planning.

Second Avenue Subway

In New York City, our crews dug two-and-a-half miles of tunnels and caverns, set the tracks and installed the communications network for the Second Avenue Subway, which will move an estimated 200,000 people a day. The new line runs from East 63rd Street to East 96th Street connecting with midtown Manhattan and beyond. Excavations for the 86th Street station required the removal of 450,000 tons of material in order to create a subterranean “launch box” or starting point where the tunnel boring machine (TBM) could be assembled and begin its work.

MetLife Stadium

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, we built MetLife Stadium, one of the most sustainable and technologically advanced open-air stadiums with seats for close to 85,000 spectators. The stadium is home for the New York Giants and the New York Jets, which makes it the first facility built specifically to accommodate two U.S. National Football League (NFL) teams. Incorporating innovative methods both in the construction of the facility and in its design, our team worked in collaboration with both franchises to cater to the needs of two different teams.

Tampa International Airport (TIA)

In Tampa, Florida, our team is currently at work on our $130 million portion of the $1 billion Tampa International Airport (TIA) redevelopment plan, which includes the main terminal building expansion, construction of a new car rental facility and the new automated people mover. Last summer, our team unveiled the east side of the expansion, including two new restaurants, glass curtain walls and new, more modern finishes.

LaGuardia Airport

In New York, we are leading the design and construction of LaGuardia Airport through an innovative public-private partnership (PPP), which is the largest in the United States. With our partners, we will design, build, operate and maintain the Central Terminal B facility. Right now, multiple phases of work are being performed on site. The P-2 parking garage demolition has been completed, clearing the way for pile driving and foundation work on the new airport terminal building.

Have a cool project coming up that could make for an interesting time-lapse video? Contact us at USACommunications@Skanska.com.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

More Posts - Website

Make the Holidays Happy with Safety in your Stocking

For some of us, the holidays are filled with comical visions of lights that don’t blink, avalanches of snow falling from rooftops onto unsuspecting relatives and kitchen cooking escapades that end in mild disaster. While those might be funny on the movie or TV screen, the holidays can be packed with very real opportunities for serious injury.

On our Skanska USA jobsites, we plan every day to prevent potentially dangerous incidents. We invest in equipment and training so we are always prepared. Failing to carefully consider the downsides of household holiday chores – like stringing outdoor lights or deep frying a turkey – can be just as dangerous.

Here are some ways you can translate jobsite safety to home safety:

Plan for the job before you start – similar to our jobsite Daily Hazard Analysis – including gathering supplies, tools, and protective gear;

Stretch and warm up before carrying heavy objects like trees, presents, and lawn ornaments to their destination;

• Consider the proper protective gear for the job you’re doing, including eye protection and gloves. Depending on the task, respiratory and hearing protection and even a hard hat may also be required;

Keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher handy – or at least know where they are should you need them;

Rather than climb on the roof or a ladder, hang holiday lights with an extension pole while standing at ground level;

When stringing electrical decorations, use the proper gauge wires and extension cords and be careful not to overload circuits;

Eliminate fire hazards, including open flames from candles and placing Christmas trees too close to heating elements like radiators and baseboards;

• Practice good housekeeping in the kitchen by cleaning clutter from countertops; don’t overcrowd the stove or oven to prevent holiday meals from catching fire or falling from their perch;

Never drive when you are tired or compromised by “holiday cheer;” stay alert by eliminating distractions including cell phones;

• Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Discover more safety tips in this great graphic from the National Safety Council:

2016-infographic-12daysofsafety

A safe holiday is a fun holiday – we hope you enjoy yours!

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

More Posts - Website

Safety for All Seasons

This time of year, the changing of the seasons in many parts of our country puts Mother Nature at center stage, with leaves turning from crisp greens to golden yellows, oranges and reds.

Soon, many of us will be raking those leaves after they fall from the trees and doing other fall yard work associated with getting ready for the onset of winter.

Strenuous outdoor work also means the potential for injury, including to the back, shoulders and wrists when twisting, bending, lifting, and reaching.  Improper use of lawn tools can sometimes make things worse.

Simple precautions – like stretching, and wearing gloves and safety glasses – are important parts of our backyard routine. Paying attention to the job at hand and eliminating distractions – especially around saws, mowers and hedge trimmers – can further reduce or eliminate injuries and possibly a trip to the doctor.  It’s important we all practice good safety habits at home no matter what the season calls for.

Skanska ID site visit to SKW at Sparrows Point, MD

Safety on our job sites is no different. In the final months of 2016, we’re working to reduce distractions and promote neat and tidy project sites in order to prevent injuries to our employees and our subcontractors.

On job sites, we see distractions in many forms, including: 

• Inattentive equipment or vehicle operators are responsible for a high percentage of incidents where a piece of machinery hits or runs into something;

• Messy site conditions and poor housekeeping contribute to slips, trips, and falls, which comprise a significant number of injuries;

• Preoccupied workers suffer from lacerations and abrasions at an alarming rate as a result of being distracted on the job.

Fall is a wonderful time of year to enjoy with family and friends. Simple precautions when doing outdoor work can help make sure we get to join in the fun.

Paul Haining

Paul Haining

Chief environment, health and safety officer

More Posts - LinkedIn

High above Portland, it’s IFE (with a view)

Nearly 200 feet above SW Broadway in downtown Portland, Alan Jones of Cascade Tower & Rigging can see a number of projects he’s worked on, including the Portland State University (PSU) Academic and Student Recreation Center, completed in 2009.

His main focus from his seat at the controls of a tower crane, though, is the new School of Business building for PSU, working to erect elements of a building that will be a local landmark, mainly for its unique design.

2016-06-07 PHOTO-IFEWithAView2

“As the crews have been pouring concrete, there have been more and more blind picks, where I have to rely heavily on the crew on the ground,” Alan says. “We work together to make sure we have clear communication about what’s needed from the crane.”

Alan has been an operator of different sorts of cranes for decades. Years of experience have helped make certain aspects of his job second nature. He knows how to take the swing out of his line after moving the trolley along the jib with just the right touch on a lever. He can judge how far his hook is from a nearby rooftop at a glance.

Those instincts, paired with a great respect for working safely, show how our trade partners are a key part of our journey to an Injury-Free Environment, or IFE.

“In my career, there have been certain phrases I’ve come to recognize as red flags,” Alan says. “I haven’t heard them on this site, thankfully. But, there have been times when someone on the ground has called up ‘be careful with this one.’ I hear that, I don’t want it on my hook. We’re either going to do the pick safely or not at all.”

From his perch, he’s also had to use his judgment about when conditions will allow for safe operations.

2016-06-07 PHOTO-IFEWithAView1

“We had a day recently where the wind was really going,” Alan says. “I could see and feel how it was affecting the line. I knew if we moved ahead with a pick, there was a good chance we could hit the active pedestrian sky bridge adjacent to our site. I told the crew and we shut down the crane for the day. It was the right decision.”

That sort of technical expertise paired with the willingness to only work safely has made him a valued part of the crew.

“Alan has been a great partner for us,” says Senior Superintendent Jason Koski. “When we’re putting our crews together, he’s the kind of person we always want to have on our team.”

The job has its perks, too. Alan’s happy to show a picture of Mt. Hood at sunrise, something that you can’t see from the street level of downtown Portland, but something he frequently has a front row seat for atop the crane.

“I’ve been working with cranes since I was 17 and my father operated cranes,” Alan says. “There’s just nothing like it.”

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

More Posts - Website