To drive home the importance of lean construction practices in project delivery as well as jobsite safety, Turner Construction Co. paused its 45,000-person staff and subcontractor workforce in North America for 30-minute to one-hour tutorials, delivered company-wide on Sept. 4 to all shifts. This year's "safety stand-down" is the eighth annual post-Labor Day event the contractor has held to push the message of job safety.
"This was a chance to educate a large swath of our workers," says Jim Barrett, Turner's director of integrated building solutions. The lean construction approach borrows from manufacturing processes to "maximize value and minimize waste," according to the website of the Lean Construction Institute, its trade group. Barrett and Cindy DePrater, Turner's vice president of safety, have been working with several universities to use the approach to improve jobsite safety. A Turner spokesman says international worksites also are receiving the lean construction primer, but not all on the same day.
DePrater also notes Turner's "Nothing Hits the Ground" program, which promotes rolling carts, pallet jacks and similar equipment as alternatives to reduce repetitive-motion injuries from cutting materials and other work on the ground.
Other firms, such as DPR Construction, San Jose, Calif., are using visual planning tools that list key project components, including tools, equipment and personnel, to save time and money.
Firms are seeing results from lean. "We've seen a 50% reduction in injuries, 20% in cost savings and 20% reduction in schedule duration," says David MacNeel, operations manager at Baker Concrete Construction, Monroe, Ohio.