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Million man hours of safety

15 Mar 2013 | Cpl. Ali Azimi

Two construction projects with more than one million hours of labor performed by approximately 1,000 construction workers without a single case of serious injury incurred.

Straub Construction and Martin Harris Group construction workers have completed one million hours of safety during the production of two new bachelor enlisted quarters aboard the Combat Center, Package 4 and Package 9.

This is an unprecedented accomplishment of safety, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Bedard, resident officer in charge of construction.

More than 500 workers, on each of these projects, have been working since 2008 to build new barracks buildings for Combat Center Marines.

“The barracks enlisted quarters Package 9 campus was designed to meet the needs of today’s Marines and make a unique visual statement for this new generation of enlisted housing, while still maintaining cohesiveness with the Twentynine Palms base surroundings,” said Richard Straub, joint venture partner, Straub Martin Harris Joint Venture. “These are two of the largest projects in both firms’ histories and as a joint venture.”

Each package potentially houses approximately 1,000 Marines in two-person bedrooms. The barracks feature sports areas, such as basketball and volleyball courts, walking paths, barbecue grills and common areas.

Bedard and Straub attribute the success of the contract workers to a “culture of safety” that has been instilled throughout the past five to ten years.

“So what that culture of safety does is remove what was in the past where safety was established as a priority. That was essentially good, but then priorities change in the field,” Bedard said. “We’re not looking for safety as a priority because priorities can change; we’re looking for it as a culture. So we’re looking to drive it down to that individual guy to say, ‘You’re coming here to work and that’s good but we want you to go home safe every day. We don’t want you to compromise yourself by taking unnecessary risk in the field and compromising your safety.’”

This culture has proven to work with the recent accomplishment.

The ROICC has watched over the construction from the beginning, providing oversight for safety and quality control as well as monitoring schedules and plans. During the past five years of construction. There has been no Day Away Restricted Transfer on either of the construction sites.

DART is a system used by the ROICC which refers to injuries a worker may sustain that would prevent them from returning to work.

“If a worker gets injured on the site, it may be something as simple as a cut,” Bedard said. “That’s first-aid, that’s not a DART, because they would come back the next day no problem.”

“Bottom line, you want to make sure everybody goes home at the end of the day,” Bedard added. “You want to make sure everybody comes to work, everybody has a productive work day but also goes home safe every day. It’s really incumbent on each person to take that initiative and accept that culture of safety.”

Package 9 was finished in 2011 and is currently called home by hundreds of Headquarters Battalion and Combat Logistics Battalion 7 Marines. Package 4 is scheduled to be completed in October.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms