Construction Safety Week 2022: Connected. Supported. Safe.

Construction Safety Week is an annual, weeklong event that creates space for the construction industry to collectively celebrate a safe mindset and engagement around EHS. It also shines a spotlight on mental health. These efforts were reflected in Safety Week’s theme for 2022: Connected. Supported. Safe.

A construction worker stands next to his own image on a Construction Safety Week banner.
Construction Safety Week is an annual event offering the construction industry space to collectively energize efforts at eliminating incidents on jobsites. Courtesy of Matt Pranzo

During the week of May 2, more than 20,000 DPR team members and project partners around the globe, including DPR’s entire family of companies, participated in Safety Week events. More than 260 project teams held safety focused events and invited subject matter experts and industry vendors to provide demonstrations that reinforce safe practices including fall and fire protection, as well as mental health resilience.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Employee Health and Safety encompasses efforts to not only keep team members safe physically, but psychologically as well. At a jobsite in Richmond, VA a mental health professional was on site to talk about Mental Health awareness and the prevalence and effects of mental health disease. This is especially important in construction, which has the second highest suicide rate by industry (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). Additionally on May 2, to coincide with National Mental Health Awareness Day, 600+ employees logged on to a Mental Health Awareness webinar from DPR’s employee assistance program (EAP) provider focused on “Resilience in Changing Times.”

A man and a woman stand together wearing t-shirts with positive mental health messages.
Justin McCarthy and Shannon Publicover, safety professionals for trade partner Miller-Lighthouse, attended DPR’s Safety Week celebrations to focus on mental health. Courtesy of Jake Eddy

“Everyone has mental health, just like everyone has physical health,” said Tiffany Newell, one of DPR’s talent advocates. “Our well-being is affected by all aspects of our lives, and that in turn affects how we experience life, work and time with our family and friends. Expanding our mindset by looking at performance beyond injuries and incidents is shifting perspectives to include holistic, individual well-being and psychological safety. DPR is committed to increasing awareness about mental health and mental illness, addressing the stigma, and providing resources, education and a supportive workplace.”

Resources and Activities

Throughout the week, DPR team members made use of a wealth of resources—from swag and visuals to EHS moments—to get conversations started each day of the week. And as always, Safety Week was a family affair, with exercises on offer to bring friends and family together. Fun activities to promote the health and wellness aspects of safety included a 20-minute on-demand yoga class and a Cinco de Mayo healthy cooking demonstration—both provided by DPR extended family members.

A bulletin board shows a Safety Week banner, photos of children and coloring pages.
Safety Week family activities included construction related coloring pages. Courtesy of Frank Heymann

Team members also got down to the nuts and bolts by hosting Toolbox Talks focused on EHS around various aspects of building safely. The following sampling of DPR jobsite activities from around the world is representative of the types of events held in every DPR community.

Each project in Europe held educational sessions for teams around topics like mental health, environment and energy saving techniques, high-risk activities and electrical safety. In Switzerland, a day was devoted to talks about mobile scaffolding and hands-on refresher sessions on safe work with mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP), with a trade partner organizing a MEWPs obstacle course competition. Other competitions to engage workers on-site included a “Spot the Hazards” activity to gauge knowledge about high-risk activities.

In the US, hands-on training classes were held, such as a South Florida fall protection class showing proper procedures for harnesses and common mistakes when using them, and a local fire department gave a talk on fire hazards and preventions. Meanwhile, in Raleigh-Durham, teams hosted a hands-on scaffold awareness hazard findings session and demonstrated fall rescue.

Groups of people build Baker scaffolds.
In South Florida, teams hosted activities, including a Baker scaffold building competition demonstrating best practices. Courtesy of Valerie Diaz-Harbich

In Austin, TX team members gathered together as one group to discuss the importance of Safety Week, Mental Health Month, and Mental Wellbeing. They then broke into two groups, alternating between outdoor Fire Safety/Fire Extinguisher Training and indoor group discussions focused on “Why I Work Safe.” All sessions were conducted in Spanish and English and concluded with the signing of a Safety Week Banner

People sit at tables and listen to a presentation about fall protection.
A DPR trade partner in Central Florida hosted fall protection training during Safety Week. Courtesy of Ryan Cotton

On the West Coast, the San Francisco Bay Area’s SPW concrete team hosted safety training sessions given by supplier partners on various tools and equipment, as well as topics such as fall protection, silica management, and concrete pumps and pumping safety. The team held a daylong event that brought together craft and admin to discuss safety, with participants splitting into groups to share experiences, hear other perspectives and learn from each other.

In an office setting, people sit at tables viewing a presentation and a male speaker.
In Southern California, a team hosted a trade partner summit for underground utility strikes with the goal of experts discussing improvements to avoid future incidents. Courtesy of Mario Guerrero
A group of people listen to a presentation by a male speaker holding a box.
In Seattle, Superintendent Charlie Cobb led safety discussions all week, culminating in a Friday quiz session, where teammates were awarded prizes for correct responses. Courtesy of Jennette Campbell

In the Southwest, DPR and GPRS partnered for Construction Safety Week to raise Mental Health Awareness, Stress Management and Utility Strikes Prevention. The team hosted a session with information and a reminder that stress can affect every aspect of our lives, the importance of making healthy choices, and a reminder that we are not alone.

A man in a hardhat and safety vest stands in front of an easel giving a presentation.
DPR and GPRS partnered for Construction Safety Week to raise Mental Health Awareness, Stress Management and Utility Strikes Prevention. Courtesy of Carlos Hurtado

And no Safety Week would be complete without an element of celebration. Safety Week activities are intended to not only educate, but to also celebrate safety with teammate recognition, shoutouts in meetings and onsite breakfasts or lunches. Teams also participated in raffles to win swag and prizes. In the San Francisco Bay Area, teams held fun team bonding activities like cornhole and washer tosses, rounding out the day with a catered BBQ lunch provided by a supplier partner. Attendees on a few US jobsites were even surprised with live mariachi bands!

“Each year, DPR gets better and better at celebrating our EHS efforts and our people. This year was no exception,” said EHS Leader Michelle Gray. “Due to the leadership and support on our projects, the efforts to make our projects and our people feel more Connected, Supported and Safe was a resounding success.”