Stretching for safety: Skanska's unique plan for an Injury-Free Environment.

Author:Atherton, Andrea
Position:SMALL BIZ BEAT
 
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Every morning at chamber member Skanska's construction sites scattered throughout Michigan. Skanska employees and subcontract workers begin their day the same way--with a 10-minute exercise routine called "stretch and flex."

Dressed in hard hats, neon reflective vests, safety glasses and work boots, groups as large as a few hundred (depending on the size of a project) come together to participate in exercises to stretch and warm up their bodies in preparation for the days physical activities. Afterwards, everyone breaks into groups to conduct pretask planning where they discuss work schedules and most importantly, safety concerns for the day.

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A nationwide initiative, "stretch and flex" is one component of Skanska's Injury-Free Environment (IFE) culture, created in 2005 as a commitment to the safety, health and total well-being of all individuals on a jobsite. Since the inception of IFE, employee lost-time accidents have been reduced by 24 percent in Skanska.

In addition to contributing to the safety consciousness among workers, "stretch and flex" has proven to reduce soft tissue injuries common to the trade. It also serves a dual purpose, allowing superintendents the opportunity to observe employees and subcontractors firsthand and when needed, take caution to prevent potential accidents by keeping workers that seem distracted or disengaged from putting themselves at risk by going into a hazardous situation.

"Safety is a core value at Skanska and our top priority -we want to create a work environment where each worker can go home safely to their families every day. Therefore it's of great importance that everyone--employees, subcontractors and partners--take part in...

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