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100K Man Hours, No Lost Work 

Construction site safety stressed at new MRH campus

Construction workers building the new Middletown Regional Hospital have passed a milestone of 100,000 labor hours without any lost time accidents. The milestone was surpassed last month.

The Middletown hospital construction team has implemented high safety standards for anyone involved even before construction started. During the planning phase, Middletown Regional Hospital worked closely with Excel Corporate Care, the hospital's occupational health company and construction managers Skanska Shook to develop a safety policy for the nearly three-year construction project. The team set up and is adhering to high safety standards with the expectation that injuries can be minimized.

"For a construction project of this magnitude and duration, it is nearly impossible to eliminate injuries completely; however, it is possible to minimize it," said John W. McKinney, III, Middletown Hospital's corporate safety officer and construction team manager. "We are going to great lengths to get everyone on board with our safety program, because the stronghold of any injury prevention program is acceptance, adherence and positive attitude."

One critical element to the safety program is orientation. To date, all the more than 500 workers on the project have attended orientation during which they learn the importance of a drug-free work zone, ergonomics and lifting, keeping the worksite clean, wearing safety apparel, fall protection, as well as proper attitude on the worksite.

Each morning, crews participate in "Stretch and Flex," a series of exercises designed to get workers limber before construction work begins.

Additionally, each contractor hired for the project must employ a safety officer who meets and helps enforce Skanska Shook's strict safety guidelines. Together the safety team conducts audits to minimize risk, holds regular meetings and tool-box safety workshops for employees, as well as patrols the construction site to monitor the work zone and enforce the safety policy.

"The three critical elements to any safety program are awareness, communication and providing proper tools to do the job," added McKinney. "Beyond that, we rely on each worker on our job site to be smart because they are not only responsible for themselves but the safety of their co-workers."