In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 1,066 fatalities in the construction and extraction industries; about one third of them involved vehicles. Causes included:
- Struck by falling object from vehicle or machinery (other than a vehicle part)
- Struck by falling object or equipment (other than a powered vehicle)
- Pedestrian struck by a vehicle backing up in a work zone
- Fall from the same level involving vehicle
- Fall to ground level from up to 10 feet involving vehicle
That same year, I faced 25 incidents in my region, the Carolinas and Virginia, which were associated with material deliveries. After a near miss that could have had tragic consequences, but only resulted in minor property damage and a schedule delay, I knew something had to change.
Our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Manual covers safety procedures for material and equipment deliveries, and we had a program in place to orientate delivery drivers on those steps. However, it was outdated and not engaging. I worked with my EHS team and local leadership to update Skanska’s Delivery Driver Program. This included refreshed collateral like signage and educational flyers designed with memorable and easy to understand graphics. Now, when drivers arrive at our project sites, they see instructional safety posters in English and Spanish. Our teams then go through a five-minute orientation to review the program.
Since implementing the Delivery Driver Program, we’ve trained 750 delivery drivers from 40 local companies. We’ve also presented the program to the regional Associated Builders and Contractors and shared it at the North Carolina Department of Labor’s 2019 Best Practices Workshop event. With a brief orientation and modern signage, delivery incidents on our jobsites have been reduced to zero.
It’s exciting how a simple, five-minute orientation and refreshed graphics can have such a significant impact on safety. We’ve received positive feedback from colleagues, subcontractors and partners. And, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we’re always glad to receive ideas for enhancing the program.
To spread the word across our regions and projects at Skanska, my team created a 15-minute training video for our colleagues so they can implement the program as well. The orientation dives into:
- Statistics behind vehicle-related incidents on construction sites
- Examples of past incidents on our projects and their impact, from schedule delays to injury
- How materials and equipment should be delivered to our project sites
- The steps to successfully implement the program and engage subcontractors and suppliers
We want everyone to go home safely at the end of the day, and that means putting Skanska’s value Care for Life into action. Just like a simple “hello” and conversation can show someone you care, sometimes straightforward, yet creative changes can have a valuable and lasting impact.