Another step on our IFE journey

As part of our effort to sharpen our safety focus, Skanska is launching two-day Injury-Free Environment workshops across the country in 2014. These new workshops will center on the personal experiences and lessons learned of Skanska people, improving upon the decade-old IFE workshop format that these are replacing. All Skanska leaders will have the opportunity to participate in these workshops, for which a new safety video has been produced.

The new workshop format focuses on how far we have come over the past ten years and where we are heading on our journey to zero accidents. The goal of the workshop is to lead each participant to a transformational experience that encourages a personal discovery regarding their relationship to safety and the importance of leadership.

This new workshop format is a fundamental part of Skanska’s safety aspirations, said Hendrik van Brenk, Skanska USA chief environment, health and safety officer. 

 “We, as an organization, must recognize that achieving IFE is absolutely possible,” van Brenk said. “IFE is the idea that none of us will settle for mediocrity, that every day on every job site we don’t settle for paper-only pre-task plans and just checking the box.”

He added: “IFE is when safety isn’t just about being safe – it is also about leadership. We are a remarkable company when it comes to safety – but our goal is to be even better than that. We must continue to strive for safety excellence.”

The new workshops were introduced on Dec. 11 and 12 in Portland, Ore., at a meeting of Skanska EHS directors, as well as colleagues from our Portland office.

EHS directors meeting
On December 9th and 10th, Skanska EHS directors from across the country gathered to discuss such ongoing initiatives as a combined safety, health and environment management system (encompassing such items as pre-task plans and our crane standards), inspired Executive Site Safety Visits and plans for Safety Week 2014.

The meeting began with the Safety Roundtable Video, in which Rich Cavallaro and Bill Flemming (presidents of USA Civil and USA Building, respectively) discuss the safety issues we’re facing and their commitment to an Injury-Free Environment. This video set the tone for the meeting, highlighting the importance of the EHS team’s duties as leaders in health and safety as well as the need to promote our IFE culture throughout Skanska and the industry as a whole.

A new focus for the directors is increasing Skanska’s presence at industry EHS seminars, such as those held by the U.S. Green Building Council and the American Society of Safety Engineers. They also aim to build on university partnerships; already our EHS staff works with Columbia University, Virginia Tech and the University of California Los Angeles. At Columbia, Paul Haining, Skanska EHS vice president, has been an adjunct professor for an EHS for Construction Management class.

The directors welcomed Kenny Herrera, USA Building EHS director in California, to the team. David McMichen, vice president of safety for Industrial Contractors Skanska, was also a part of the directors’ meeting.

The team also said their goodbyes to Bob Moore, EHS vice president with USA Building, who has worked with Skanska for 35 years.

“Bob really raised the bar on our safety culture,” said Mindy Uber, Skanska EHS director in Seattle.
“He always challenged people to think outside the box to find the safest way to get the job done, and he wouldn’t go down without fighting for what was right. I will miss having him around.”

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