More than 40 firms participating in Construction Industry Safety Week
Skanska, one of the leading construction and development companies in the United States, is challenging its more than 10,000 employees across the country to closely examine how they plan for daily tasks as it launches its 11th annual Safety Week from May 3-9.
The intent of this year’s “Plan for Today” theme is to reinforce Skanska’s Injury-free Environment® through meaningful discussions among craft workers that aim to eliminate complacency that too often leads to accidents.
“Construction sites can change not only every day in many ways but every hour, down to the immediate surroundings of a crew’s work area,” said Skanska USA President & CEO Rich Cavallaro. “Whether you’ve been in the field for 30 years or 30 days, the conditions and risks of a work area are unique. Safety Week gives us a platform to remind everyone on a site that we need to be constantly vigilant and to not only plan for the known, but also for the possible.”
Skanska’s theme is in response to an industry-wide trend: construction injury rates in the United States are dramatically lower than in past decades, but have levelled off short of the ultimate goal of zero injuries. From 2003 to 2011, the construction industry reduced its total recordable injury rate from nearly seven for every 200,000 man-hours worked to half that amount, but has stayed roughly at the same rate since.
“Everyone, from the executive suite to the journeyman carpenter wants to see an injury-free industry,” said Skanska USA Chief Environment, Health & Safety Officer Hendrik van Brenk. “When we see injuries, it’s often from a factor that wasn’t taken into account on site. We know our craft workers on the front lines are the ones who see potential hazards first, so we want to empower them to take the lead through conversations and proactivity.”
Skanska’s hundreds of project sites in the United States have planned daily activities for Safety Week. Each site is sharing a daily “toolbox talk” designed to drive meaningful conversations among individual work crews about approaching work with a fresh perspective every day. These activities are complemented by site-specific activities that have been selected by project teams themselves. Activities range from training sessions and safety product demos to award recognitions and crew stand downs to focus on specific job site hazards.
Additionally, Skanska is participating in the 2nd annual construction Industry Safety Week, which it helped establish in 2014. This year, more than 40 partners from across the industry are participating.
“Safety calls for collaboration, not competition,” added van Brenk. “The same union and subcontractor workers handle projects for all of us. If we can establish a culture of safety among them that goes from project to project, we will be one step closer to an accident-free construction industry.”