Monday AM September 21st, 2009

“Workplace safety week” has come and gone, but one construction firm finds that increased safety awareness is important year-round. Ed Mayberry reports.


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Skanska Construction USA has conducted a week-long safety campaign for about five years.  During the seven days of last year’s event, seven lost-time accidents were reported among the company’s 55,000 employees.  This can be compared to an average week, when 19 mishaps are reported.  Skanska’s J. P. Chandler says construction injuries account for about 40 per cent of injuries in the work place, so there’s safety orientation with every project.

“I know that on some of the job sites that I’ve worked on, and that I’m currently working on, everybody gets an orientation.  You know, one English, one in Spanish, and they’re made aware of all our safeety program, our safety procedures.  And we try to make sure they have the proper protective equipment: hard hats, safety glasses, safety vests, which we require at all projects.”  

Chandler says it’s more than just tracking accident statistics at the company’s 10,000 project sites and offices.

“Used to, [at] Skanska, it was very quantity, you know, ‘what’s our number of lost-time injuries, what’s our number, number, number.’  But let’s make it a mindset, and you know, what are the causes for, you know, the incidents, and let’s make sure we don’t have that happen again.  You know, lessons learned.  And so that’s exactly what, let’s take a moment of silence, let’s make sure everybody’s aware.”  

Skanska is based in Stockholm, with U.S. headquarters in New Jersey and an office here in Houston.  Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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