By Mr. Stephen Rochette (USACE)September 23, 2009
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md.- Construction workers at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers military construction project have amassed nearly 500,000 consecutive hours without a single lost-time accident.
The Philadelphia District recognized this milestone with a safety award during a Sept. 8 event at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The award was presented to the joint contractor team of Tompkins-Turner, Grunley, and Kinsley.
"It's critical to recognize the importance of safety with all of our work," said Philadelphia District Commander Lt. Col. Thomas Tickner, who presented the award. "I'm particularly proud of this project because this facility is going to directly impact all deployed Soldiers for years to come."
The firms are building the new C4ISR complex, named for its mission areas of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
The facilities will house thousands of employees relocating from Fort Monmouth, N.J. as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005. It will be an Army center for research, development and lifecycle management of communications and electronics technology.
With more than 1,000 workers on the construction site each day, maintaining safety standards can be a challenge.
"Prevention is the name of the game," said Jim West, senior safety engineer for the construction team. "We track every incident and we run an incentives program to reward our people for doing things the right way."
Employees who follow through on safety rules are eligible to receive gift certificates at the end of every month. But all it takes is one safety violation to miss out.
"We don't walk away from any incident," said West. "We'll document it and correct it with our people."
Philadelphia District Safety Chief Bill Bartel said the award recognizes an important milestone.
"This is a significant accomplishment when you consider the number of exposure hours logged by workers with no lost-time accidents," said Bartel. "In the past, this entire Corps district would log the same number of hours in a year - in this case it's only one quarter of the project."
The successful safety record is the result of careful coordination between the Corps and the contractor safety team, said Paul Burke, a Corps safety specialist who works on site.
"It's certainly been a team effort," said Burke. "This is about recognizing a proactive attitude and a culture of safety the contractor has developed here."
C4ISR construction began in March of 2008. The first phase of the project is approximately 75 percent complete.