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Safety and security at heart of building the airport

Flying start: an artist’s impression of the proposed new terminal in St George’s

Aecon’s commitment to safety in the workplace is the No 1 core value of our company. We believe the most important thing on a construction site such as the Bermuda Airport Redevelopment Project is to ensure that every person, whether a manager or a mason, gets home safe each and every day. We believe that all injuries are preventable and that, with care and consideration, we can ensure that there are no lost-time injuries.

At Aecon, we pride ourselves on our track record and we look forward to continuing this in Bermuda: in 2016, we carried out 21.5 million hours of work with zero lost-time injuries. We are proud to have had our achievements in workplace safety recognised by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research with a Corporate Social Responsibility Award, presented for our work on the Quito airport in Ecuador. We were also awarded the Safety Excellence Award by the National Capital Heavy Construction Association this past year.

Keeping our employees and contractors safe and sound is not the responsibility of one individual, but everyone on the construction site. We encourage all workers to contribute to making their work site a safer place for all through our Safety Opportunity Programme. This empowers all employees to report areas in which they feel could be made safer or to suggest ways of raising safety standards. We particularly welcome the input of local workers in Bermuda, with their local knowledge and experience.

Our new employees and subcontractors in Bermuda are our most valuable resource and we are eager to invest in them by ensuring that they have the best safety training available. That is why we are proud to be working with the Construction Association of Bermuda to make sure that everyone is properly trained in health and safety procedures.

The CAOB is a Bermudian membership organisation that has dedicated itself to making the construction industry safer, more efficient, more competitive and better able to contribute to the development of Bermuda. The CAOB is also the Accredited Training Sponsor for the National Centre for Construction Education and Research, overseeing all local NCCER training.

Bermudians working for Aecon will undertake NCCER Construction Site Safety Orientation, a 12½-hour safety course, which will teach them the importance of safety in the construction and industrial crafts. They will be taught safe work practices, safety and hazard recognition, elevated work and fall protection, struck-by or caught between hazards, energy release hazards, personal protective equipment, and how properly to inspect and use safety equipment.

Upon completion of their NCCER training, employees and contractors will receive a certificate, and will be added to the NCCER’s National Registry, a globally recognised and portable credentialling system that allows organisations and companies to track and check the qualifications of their employees, as well as check the qualifications of possible new hires. This is an achievement that employees and contractors can apply not only to their work in building the new terminal, but also to all future building projects they work on.

Additional training, such as more advanced fall protection, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, confined space training, and respirator use and fit testing will be rolled out for site workers throughout the construction phase of the Airport Redevelopment Project as needed.

New hires will also undergo 4½ hours of site-specific orientation to familiarise them with Aecon safety policies, practices and procedures before starting work on site. Additionally, Aecon supervisors are required to participate in a two-day Aecon Common Core Supervisor Training programme, which covers the 12 modules of Aecon’s Environmental Health and Safety Manual. This training will help to ensure that all supervisors have a full understanding of Aecon’s health and safety programme, and are able to implement the requirements. Aecon’s Environmental Health and Safety Manual, known as the “Redbook”, is our 1,178-page-long environmental health and safety bible. Each year supervisors will be required to participate in a review of any updates to the Redbook to ensure that everyone is on the same page. As part of our commitment to ensuring that all of our employees and subcontractors are up to date on health and safety regulations, we celebrate an annual Safety Week in which all of our employees are encouraged to focus their attention on the importance of safe work habits and how they can be improved. This will be celebrated in Bermuda for the first time this year in the first week of October.

Together, we believe we can build the new airport terminal safely and securely, building a legacy to last. For Bermuda.

Frank Ross is the Executive Director of Infrastructure at Aecon

The redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport is being implemented under a government-to-government framework agreement between the governments of Canada and Bermuda. In terms of the agreement, Bermuda Skyport Corporation Ltd will oversee the overall development and implementation of the project, and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, through a subcontract to Aecon, will deliver the construction component of the project. More updates about the Airport Redevelopment Project can be found on the Bermuda Government portal at www.gov.bm and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BermudaSkyport