VTA BART rail transit project achieves major safety recognition

A recent view of one of the project’s two stations under construction.

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, recognized our VTA BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension joint venture’s strong safety performance by admitting the project to its Golden Gate Partnership Program.

We did not apply for this honor. Rather, it came to our team based on a Cal/OSHA inspector being impressed by what he saw during an invited visit to the site, in San Jose, Calif.

“The Cal/OSHA representative was beyond impressed with the safety program on the project and the culture that we all work hard for every day,” said Lou Dema, EHS director.  “He was even more impressed in our approach to changing behavior as the crucial step in our success, as well as striving for best practice versus compliance.”

Dema added: “I guarantee you: That representative has not seen a program like ours in the Bay area.”

Dema said the project’s exemplary safety culture starts at the top with strong support from executive leadership, both on the project and overall in Skanska. For instance, Todd Sutton, the senior vice president in charge of the project, regularly reminds crews that the project will never sacrifice safety to boost production, Dema said.

This $800 million, 10-mile-long rail transit project – involving both USA Civil and USA Building – has had no lost-time accidents over the almost 2 million hours and nearly 1,200 days from notice to proceed – amazing accomplishments! But being 68 percent complete, this project has much more to go. The focus on having an Injury-Free Environment must continue until the very end.

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