Over the last year, I have been part of a program to improve our safety performance by tapping into the minds of the agency that governs safety throughout the United States. In November of 2021, JE Dunn and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Fort Worth and Dallas Offices signed an OSHA Strategic Partnership agreement to utilize our Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center project as an ongoing site for OSHA non-enforcement verification activities.
Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is one of our largest Texas projects currently in construction. This 500,000 SF, 22-story, 888-room luxury hotel with a 570,000 SF convention center has more than 84 trade partners involved and 700 skilled workers onsite during the peak of construction.
The location, scale and scope of this project made it ideal for partnering with OSHA and allowed for a level of transparency between the agency and a general contractor unlike any other in North Texas. For JE Dunn and for me personally, it provided an opportunity to take our safety standards to the next level as we continue to build large, complex, phased projects like Loews.
As part of this partnership, OSHA conducted three, non-enforcement site visits by OSHA personnel from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and other southwest states. OSHA representatives conducted a site walk, noted observations, made any necessary corrections, and sat down for debriefs and one-on-one discussions regarding safety trends and best practices with workers onsite.
Just as important was hosting classes on what good safety protocols look like and sharpening their attention on positive reinforcement during inspections. As part of the program, we encouraged OSHA to talk with our trade partners and share their feedback.
The JE Dunn team has conducted hundreds of site safety audits at this project site, hosted dozens of training sessions and invited OSHA to join JE Dunn at our annual safety programs, such as safety week and as a speaker at our Suicide Prevention Standup in September.
One of the larger groups we hosted was 20 newly hired OSHA compliance safety health officers (CSHO(s)) who were able to tour JE Dunn’s jobsite as a part of the training requirement during the OSHA Training Institute’s 2000 course. This was the first time OSHA Region VI hosted this course in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.
Our participation in this course gave CSHO(s) locally and throughout the nation with the opportunity to hear from a large contractor and to tour an active commercial construction jobsite and see the many components associated with a large commercial jobsite. “JE Dunn has been a great strategic partner for the Dallas and Fort Worth Area Office,” said Basil Singh, Dallas Area Office Area Director and Timothy Minor, Fort Worth Area Office Area Director.
What we have gained is a deeper trust and genuine partnership with our local OSHA chapter. By strengthening our partnership, we are doing what we say is priority number one – keeping the people who are building this project safe and making sure JE Dunn provides the safest and healthiest worksite possible.
That is the goal of OSHA too. I’m thankful for the opportunity to connect with OSHA and highlight the importance of safety on this economic expansion for North Texas and for Arlington’s growing entertainment district. We will apply best practices and lessons learned on this project to JE Dunn projects nationwide and are already sharing what we’ve learned with other teams.
There has been incredible coordination for this program over the last year, and I credit our General Superintendent, Cliff Larson, Project Executives, Chris Paris, and Adam Cox, and so many others for making this monumental project a spotlight for how we implement safety today and for future JE Dunn construction projects.