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    HEALTH AND SAFETY CULTURE

    Vegas development gambles on improving health and safety culture  

    In June 2008 workers at a $9.2 billion CityCenter site in Las Vegas went on strike for one day in protest at safety conditions after 6 construction deaths. The development is a partnership between MGM Mirage and Dubai World and is due to open in late 2009. Following the ‘walkout’ the developer allowed safety researchers onto the site who also provided 10 hours safety training for all workers. There have now been significant improvements in safety with no deaths in the last six months.

    Steve Holloway, of Associated General Contractors said “safety is so much about culture, about environment. If management from top down is concerned, then employees are going to be concerned about safety. And if they’re concerned and conscious, then there are fewer accidents and that’s what’s happening at CityCenter and other sites.”

    Pete Stafford, of the Center for Construction Research and Training said “contractors can always improve. The research centre was granted full access to CityCenter for safety studies, and found Perini (the main contractor) was sending mixed messages to its employees on safety.” He went on to add “you think you have good safety culture at the top, but by the time it gets to the bottom that’s not necessarily the case.”

    Comment: This story shows how a disastrous situation can be turned around. Strong leadership and the ‘right’ safety culture from top to bottom throughout an organisation are key factors.

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