Marina Heights — the largest office project in Arizona’s history — may have passed 3 million hours worked without a lost-time incident, but the safety team on the five-building, 2 million sq ft mixed-use development overlooking Tempe Town Lake won’t be happy unless they make it all the way through to completion with the same result.
Kyle Schoenberger, safety superintendent, Ryan Companies US, says although there are many ingredients that go into making safe construction sites, attitude is critical.
“We’re positive (thinkers). We preach family and staying involved in the safety plan,” Schoenberger says. “We’re not the safety police.”
The hours and days without a lost-time incident continued through a stop by the 3M mobile safety roadshow last week, coordinated by Schoenberger and Nick Laughlin, also a safety superintendent.
Nearly 1,000 workers went through the one-day, hands-on training and updates on industry best practices sessions over the roadshow’s two-day stay, according to Schoenberger. But over the more than 800 days since construction start, nearly 6,000 workers have gone through the general contracting firm’s safety training, including subcontractor workers.
According to the safety team, Ryan builds all of their projects — and especially one as significant as Marina Heights — with an approach that attempts to make staying safe less of a task and more akin to a cultural standard. The more than 40 subcontractors on the project are also absorbed into the Ryan safety culture during their work onsite, including BBQ celebrations for reaching milestones and events like the 3M roadshow.
Laughlin says that he often hears how the heightened safety culture becomes ingrained in the culture of subcontracting firms.
“When the subcontractors go on to other jobs, the training they receive here can help them see what will make them safer,” says Laughlin.
The safety team also holds more traditional safety tasks as part of their safety plan, such as weekly foreman meetings and executing monthly safety shutdowns.
In November, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health awarded Ryan Companies with a Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program Accreditation for the Marina Heights project.
Ryan was the second construction company to receive a SHARP award.
The month-long SHARP assessment conducted by ADOSH included a four-day onsite consultation, and assessments of the safety manual, emergency action and rescue plan, hazards and an equipment inspection.
The company has done much more than work with companies like 3M. On the Marina Heights they have also developed a “special” relationship with city of Tempe, according to Schoenberger, who was a fireman before going into construction and has kept his paramedic qualifications current. Ryan and the city’s fire and police department also coordinated safety drills and on one occasion, Schoenberger and his crew loaned a safety basket designed to be moved by a tower crane to Tempe Fire so they could rescue a construction worker on another site.
Phase one of the Marina Heights project moved into phase two in November and some parts of the complex are already occupied. Construction began in 2014 and is expected to reach substantial completion in 2017.