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Great Lakes Joins Safety Week Celebration

Great Lakes Dock and Dredge Co. (GLDD) joined national and global construction companies in celebrating Safety Week from May 4 to May 10. Through its involvement in the Incident and Injury Free (IIF) CEO Forum, which joined the Construction Industry Safety (CISI) group, GLDD joined the event to collectively raise awareness of safety issues on the jobsite and beyond.

Thirty-one companies in the construction industry, including two other dredging companies – Manson Construction and Weeks Marine – participated in the weeklong event. The companies all pitched in to support a website dedicated to the week, which contained general information about safety and tips for hosting events (www.safetyweek2014.com).

GLDD Risk Manager Jason Campbell said GLDD focused on wellness, and this theme guided the training and events for the week. Individual project sites hosted their own activities, including overall wellness checks for skin cancer, blood pressure, glucose levels, height and weight. Campbell said some projects had nutritionists on-site, and on vessels with galleys, some did cooking demonstrations of healthy meals.

It was also a time to celebrate, Campbell said. “We wanted it to be fun,” he said. “Some celebrated with cookouts and gave away t-shirts.”

While events couldn’t compete with or shutdown projects, each project site could tailor an event for their needs and location. That included operational safety training as well, from sessions on stretching and flexing and rigging techniques to man-overboard emergencies and protection equipment. Project management teams and individual employees coordinated the events, with help from Campbell’s team. The planning period was quick, with GLDD only committing to Safety Week at the beginning of the year.

Some sites rented hotel conference rooms for Safety Week presentations, and many project managers reached out to vendors and local Corps of Engineers districts to participate in safety events.

“We also wanted to take safety home,” Campbell said. For the corporate offices, GLDD packed about 1,300 kits with small smoke detectors, safety glasses, hearing protection, even coloring books on dredging and stickers for the kids. The kits had additional information centered on home safety.

“The employees really appreciated that,” Campbell said. “We heard that over and over.” It was a big time and financial commitment, but worth the effort, Campbell said.

He used social media during the event to post information and pictures and is already talking about making it bigger for next year. In addition to more companies and overall employees, Campbell said GLDD would like to have more involvement from regulatory agencies as well.

“Safety Week shows that we can find the time to train and bring people together to celebrate and appreciate what we’ve done,” Campbell said. He said so often safety issues get a lot of attention after an accident, and Safety Week allows the discussion to happen in a more positive, celebratory environment.

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