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Safety Week 2024 – Project Highlight: Sarasota Memorial Hospital Research & Education Institute

Barr & Barr is currently working at the main campus of Sarasota Memorial Hospital, building their new state-of-the-art 80,000-SF Research & Education Institute. At this site, ensuring a safe working environment is paramount. Chris Thompson (Superintendent) and the team have diligently crafted a site-specific safety plan to uphold the Barr & Barr Standard.  Chris’s commitment to safety is evident as he leverages his years of experience to develop and continuously review and update the plan well before subcontractors commence work at his site.  This plan encompasses various facets such as site logistics, pre-employment orientations, scheduled safety audits/walks, and training.

This project presents unique challenges due to its tight site constraints and proximity to the hospital’s main ambulatory road.  Consequently, maintaining a safe accessible work environment becomes even more critical.  Chris has meticulously developed a site logistics plan, complemented by a detailed Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) Plan, to ensure safety not only for site personnel, but also the neighboring public , and hospital staff/ employees.  The MOT plan entails deployment of ATSSA Certified Flagmen to regulate vehicular and pedestrian traffic during unloading and loading operations, this facilitates unimpeded access for emergency vehicles.

Given that the project site is shared with another contractor responsible for constructing an attached parking structure for the hospital, managing site logistics and safety becomes inherently more complex. Part of this complexity involves ensuring that subcontractors do not encroach upon each other’s project site. To enhance safety awareness and preparedness, every floor features a designated “safety board” housing pertinent safety information along with essential safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and eye wash stations.

To instill a culture of safety among all personnel, a site-specific safety program is mandatory for everyone on site. During the orientation process, standard safety protocols are revisited, and site-specific concerns are thoroughly discussed. Additionally, weekly toolbox talks are conducted to address evolving safety issues, with subcontractors continuously updating their Job Hazard Analyses (JHAs) to reflect changing conditions. Recent efforts have focused on reinforcing the correct usage of caution and danger tape, emphasizing the importance of removing such tapes promptly upon completing work to prevent complacency and minimize accident risk.

Regular site safety walks involving leads from each subcontractor and the company team are conducted weekly to identify potential hazards. Findings from these walks are discussed during subcontractor meetings, prompting focused training sessions or toolbox talks on specific safety matters. Furthermore, monthly “All Hands Safety Meetings” are convened onsite to build upon the culture of safety and accountability, with individuals who demonstrate commitment to safety being recognized. It’s reiterated in every safety meeting that every onsite personnel possess the authority to stop work if they identify any safety concerns.

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