Beginning with a round of 'Stretch and Flex,' a series of stretching exercises done on all Gilbane job sites to start each work day, Safety Summit attendees were primed for a day of presentations and break-out discussions on the topic of construction safety. Business leaders set aside competition in the name of making the construction industry safer as a whole. In addition to leadership from Gilbane Building Company, attendees included Mike McNally, CEO of Skanska USA; Charlie Bacon, CEO of Limbach, Inc.; and Ross Myers, CEO of American Infrastructure.

"Safety is not about compliance. It's about caring," said Bill Gilbane, Jr., president and COO, to open the event. American Infrastructure's Myers agreed, stressing accountability. "The only way we can truly get to zero incidents is when every worker owns safety."

Presentations included an inside look at an innovative safety program from one of the most sizable projects in Gilbane history; McNally sharing Skanska's vision and approach to injury-free job sites; Myers and Bacon discussing how construction managers can work more closely with their specialty contractors on projects; and several employee safety videos and personal accounts of dangerous situations that have been corrected through a behavioral approach to safety.

"Skanska's executives make dedicated safety job site visits," said McNally. "Employees need to see that kind of commitment. These visits have had a tremendous impact."

Some of the day's insights included:

  • Projects that are on or ahead of schedule have the lowest incident rates
  • Job site cleanliness translates into safer worksites
  • Subcontractor leadership participation is critical; involve the principals
  • If leadership is committed to safety, it transcends through the rest of the company

Attendees came away with a sense that they have an opportunity to change the culture on job sites to make safety less about "checking off boxes" and more about actions and behaviors. Bill Gilbane addressed the leaders in the room at the end of the day. "Think about the people you have responsibility for each day. They are looking to you for leadership."