The transformative IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program, ITRP, at George Bush Intercontinental Airport has emphasized safety since Day 1, and that emphasis and execution of safety practices has yielded great results. The program to date (all ITRP contracts) has recorded enviable safety statistics across more than 2.2 million program man-hours to date.
There have been no incidents or recordable injuries in all of 2021, which has logged more 308,000 hours year to date. Since program inception in 2015, there have been no lost-time incidents, which are defined as recordable incidents where workers are given a restriction from working for a period of time beyond the day of the incident.
To mark the transition from design to major construction and memorialize its commitment to safety, the team held a Safety and Construction Phase Celebration on Friday, Oct. 15, in the ITRP contractor trailer site adjacent to the Infrastructure Division Office building. Pausing and taking a moment to refocus on safety as a culture and commitment is mission critical with the complexity of the construction underway and the activities of multiple contractor teams ramping up across all ITRP sites. The event also served to reinforce that ITRP is one team and build a family atmosphere that fosters the ownership of safety and inclusion of fellow contractors, Bush Airport employees and the traveling public.
ITRP Executive Program Manager, Steven Andersen, opened with welcoming remarks and congratulated the team on its significant progress with construction now well underway. He reminded everyone of the ultimate and lasting impact the ITRP will have on the City of Houston and that we should all be proud to part of such a significant program. Andersen also talked about how proud he was of the strong safety culture in place within the ITRP. He stressed the importance of safety during each workday.
“We want everyone to return home each evening as healthy as when they arrived at work that morning,” Andersen said.
Andersen also spoke about a truly successful program being one that is on time, within budget, and without injuries. He reiterated that a strong safety culture is imperative in a successful program.
His remarks were echoed by the contracting partners Gary Perrin, Operations Manager for Hensel-Phelps; Rob Walker, Project Executive for Austin-Gilbane; and Chris Hotop, Project Director for Burns & McDonald. Although there are times when an unexpected event can occur despite great attention to safety, safety compliance marks a deliberate mindset and commitment that incorporates safety into every activity.
“We are here to celebrate what’s ahead and what’s already done,” Perrin said.
“It’s all about teamwork and coordination with one another. We have to play together as a team and watch one another’s back. Let’s not try and take risks and put ourselves in harm’s way. We don’t want to risk your lives and your families.”
Rob Walker was grateful of the working partnership and open communication that he, Andersen and the other leaders had established. He talked about the historic impact ITRP will have on the City of Houston and community and discussed his personal safety philosophy.
“I’ve never regretted doing the right thing,” he said. “When I have regrets, it’s because I didn’t do the right thing. You won’t have regrets if you do the right thing, for yourselves, for your work family.
“On time, on budget means a lot - building responsibly means a lot – but that’s not what people will talk about on this project if we lose some workers. Let’s keep safety in focus.”
Hotop agreed with the preceding speakers.
“We are very excited to be a part of this program” Hotop said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on one of the largest infrastructure projects in the City of Houston’s history. Steve talked about legacy, and a big part of your legacy is how you safely execute your work. We all must go home safety afterward.”
Hotop further emphasized a point Andersen previously made.
“Come to us, talk to us if you see something that doesn’t seem right. Let us know,” he said.
They were followed by several of the construction superintendents who stressed their career experiences and keen emphasis on keeping everyone safe.
Promotion of the ITRP safety plan has been continual: safety moments in leadership meetings, daily walk-throughs, Monday morning safety meetings, weekly executive safety audits, a safety deficiency log, pre-construction meetings for activities and for new subcontractors coming onsite, a site orientation video (in English and Spanish), attendance in the HAS HACEC OSHA training and much more.
To date, more than 900 individuals have completed OSHA-10/HAS Safety and Security training.
“When I raised the idea of this event, the other leaders didn’t hesitate,” Andersen said. He said it spoke volumes of their individual and organizations commitment to safety on the ITRP.
“Companies with a culture of safety display a real and strong concern for the safety and well-being of every employee,” he continued.
Andersen concluded with an expression of thanks to the ITRP leadership and staff for their ongoing commitment to safety.
“We have cooperative leadership and the right people in place to continue to be successful,” he said. “I’m very proud of this team and to be a part of this group’s efforts.”