A contractor repairing damage at the Pentagon caused by the events of Sept.11, 2001, was recognized for working 206,000 employee hours without a single workplace injury.
Companies in the same industry average about four workplace accidents per 200,000 hours worked, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 200,000 hours standard represents 100 full-time employees working 40 hours a week for 50 weeks.
Henkels & McCoy Inc., a national installer of data, voice and video networks, received the highest safety award from Liberty Mutual, its workers compensation insurer, for the accomplishment.
Henkels & McCoy was one of several contractors working at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The company was selected in 1999 to install an advanced network in the building. The project progressed in phases; as work in an area finished, construction moved to another section of the building. On the morning of Sept. 11, a plane crashed into a section of the Pentagon where the company had just completed work. No Henkels & McCoy employees were injured, but the project team faced the challenge of quickly repairing damage and completing the network upgrade throughout the remaining areas of the facility.
Jim Zanine, project safety director of Henkels & McCoy, credited a safety audit program with helping achieve the safety milestone.
“Employees at the site and throughout Henkels & McCoy responded to the challenge presented by 9/11. After the attack, we worked 24 hours a day, seven day a week and brought in additional employees from across the country. Given the extended shifts and new staff, we implemented a safety audit program — Managing Vital Performance — at the site that had worked effectively at other Henkels & McCoy projects.”
Henkels & McCoy partnered with Liberty Mutual to develop the Managing Vital Performance safety audit program and to implement it at the Pentagon site. The program identified the work procedures critical at the job site (such as proper ladder use), set safety standards for each of these and monitored and reported compliance with these safety guidelines.
“The Managing Vital Performance program quickly created a culture of safety at the site and was instrumental in our working over 200,000 hours without an accident,” said Zanine. “Everyone knew the safety guidelines that had to be followed and weekly reports monitored how we did at following these standards. The program gave everyone — from laborer to the project manager — a tool for working safely.”
As a testament to the importance of safety and the effectiveness of the program at managing safety, Zanine noted that supervisors often conducted daily surveys, even though the program called for a single survey a week.
Henkels & McCoy, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Blue Bell, PA, is one of the nation’s largest privately held firms serving the telecommunications, power, and gas industries with a broad range of engineering, construction, project management, and maintenance services.
Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified international group of insurance companies and one of the largest multi-line insurers in the North American property and casualty industry. The group has more than $50 billion in consolidated assets, more than $13 billion in consolidated revenue and ranks 142nd on the Fortune 500 list of largest corporations in the United States.