Each morning, crews working on the Town of Hillsboro’s Rt. 9 road project discuss safety on the job. This week, they went the extra mile to really drill those talks in.
It’s Construction Safety Week—an annual event that sees the construction industry recommit to the goal of sending every worker home safe at the end of each day, according to constructionsafetyweek.com. Although they discuss workplace safety each morning before getting started, crews from Archer Western Corp., the company handling the town’s road project, took extra time Sept. 14-18 to discuss safety topics surrounding proper rigging methods, trenching, firefighting, tree clearing and the importance of personal protective equipment.
“Archer Western is so focused and so committed on safety,” said Hillsboro Communications Specialist Christi Maple, noting that there have been zero injuries or other safety-related incidents among the 50 or so crew members since the project began March 4.
One contractor this week visited town to discuss the proper methods of rigging, such as the necessity to monitor weight loads and proper ways to identify faulty rigging. That’s an important topic in relation to the town’s road project, since crews have been tasked with installing 96 stormwater drain structures and eight utility vaults weighing about a ton each.
Another contractor discussed trench safety—another vital topic when considering those utility vaults were placed in holes up to 15 feet deep.
Members of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System even visited the town on Wednesday to talk about fire extinguisher safety. In doing so, fire crews brought with them a fire demonstration in which Archer crews practiced putting out virtual fires through a laser-based training system. Station 26 Battalion Chief Justin Green emphasized to the Archer crews a four-letter word—PASS, which stands for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep.
Another day, the crews talked about personal protective equipment, or PPE—an acronym the entire world has come to know in the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but one construction workers have been familiar with for decades. Their PPE consists of gloves, hard hats, reflective safety vests, long shirts and pants no matter the temperature outside and steel-toed boots.
And on Friday morning, Evergreen Tree Service—the company that performed all the tree clearing for town’s road project—visited the crews to talk about tree clearing safety.
In addition to this week’s safety briefs, Archer Western crews regularly discuss their workplans and safety before the start of each day. They also limber up before they start that work by doing about five minutes of stretching, like head rolls and toe touches.
The stretching and safety briefings should prove even more useful to the crews as the project advances toward completion in early April 2021, since they sometimes have to share the highway with the traffic that is now allowed to pass through the town for a few hours at a time on certain days.
Hillsboro’s Rt. 9 traffic calming and pedestrian safety project is intended to make the town’s road and pedestrian system along Rt. 9 safer by installing two roundabouts on each end of town, burying utility lines and filling in missing links of sidewalk.
Construction Safety Week was established in 2014 when more than 40 domestic and international construction firms comprising the Construction Industry Safety Initiative and the Incident and Injury Free CEO Forum joined forces. Two years later, Safety Week was more formally branded and started to take shape as the fully integrated annual campaign with a growing number of members and sponsors.