At ENR’s annual Award of Excellence, Top 25 Newsmakers and Best of the Best Projects ceremonies held in New York City April 13 and 14, two vital aspects of the construction industry were center stage: workforce safety and the need for public transportation infrastructure.
Award of Excellence winner Matt Compher, a vice president at Quanta Services, urged guests at the banquet gala held at New York’s Pier 60 to stop building their safety programs around fixing workers’ behaviors and preventing their inevitable mistakes. Instead, Compher called on them to apply the New View techniques of the energy contractor’s Capacity Model safety program. Used by Quanta since 2019, it focuses on limiting harm from serious injuries by eliminating hazards and creating barriers to absorb or prevent high-energy events from badly injuring or killing workers.
Compher spiced his acceptance speech with stories and quips that attested to what he sees as the futility of the compliance- and behavior-based safety mindsets’ attempts to make people perfect. First he told the story of how he asked the Quanta Services human resources leader: “Are all of Quanta Services employees human beings?”
After a suitable amount of time for research, Compher says he received a reply in the affirmative: They are. The story illustrated the inefficacy of putting all your safety chips on compliance or the idea that employees can be made to be totally mistake-free. “Heck,” he joked in a disarming reference to his own mistakes. “I’m about 15 in myself already tonight.”
The following morning, the editors presented the 14th annual Best of the Best Projects awards at a breakfast program held in the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan’s theater district. The editors awarded the year’s top award to the Los Angeles Regional Connector Transit Project, submitted by Skanska USA Civil.
To win, the Regional Connector had to emerge from regional best projects submissions by more than 600 project teams in 20 different categories. A national jury of independent industry experts was assembled to examine 200 of these regional winners and distinguish the one project in each category that was the Best of the Best in teamwork, safety, innovation, quality and success in overcoming challenges.
Looking ahead, the 2023 Best Projects awards contest is now open at enr.com/bestprojects. The time is now to start thinking about your project team’s submission.