Posted March 17, 2019
Council brings together broad cross section of industry and government stakeholders discussing safety measures for the dredging sector
By: Michael Gerhardt, Managing Director CDMCS, Vice President Dredging Contractors of America
The Council for Dredging and Marine Construction Safety (CDMCS) convened last week in Washington, DC, on the heels of its Pipeline Task Force Meeting. Chairing this industry-leading forum on safety were Jason Campbell of Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company and Albert Wong of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). As Managing Director, Michael Gerhardt of the Dredging Contractors of America also facilitated the discussion. In attendance were representatives from ten dredging companies (GLDD, Weeks Marine, Manson Construction, Mike Hooks, Cashman Dredging, The Dutra Group, Norfolk Dredging, Inland Dredging, JT Cleary, and Quality First Marine), seven U.S. Army Corps district offices (Baltimore, Detroit, Galveston, Los Angeles, New England, New Orleans, and Philadelphia), the USACE South Atlantic Division, and USACE Headquarters. Key stakeholders and partners the American Waterways Operators (AWO), Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO), the National Safety Council (NSC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rounded out the list. CDMCS is pleased to announce that CAMO is now an official member.
On behalf of the USACE HQ Safety Office, Albert Wong presented eleven incidents that occurred on government and industry floating plant across the country during the last three months. While some of the incidents only involved damages to assets and not personal injury, each example provided lessons-learned to council members and forced a healthy discussion on training, supervision, controls, culture, and root-cause analysis.
Dan Shultz of Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting presenting the Cashman Approach
Dan Schultz shared Cashman’s approach to safety and opened it up stating “What we are looking for today in our company is legacy, not just a history. Legacy will last and change others.” Central to that legacy is safety, and for Cashman that includes a program that blends elements of a compliance-based-systems, and behavior-based approach. Engaging both leadership and the crew to participate in site visits, walk-arounds, hazard hunts, developing a near miss reporting culture, promoting stop-work authority, and advocating for off –the-job safety too are just a few activities of the Cashman approach that have led to a reduction in mishaps, incidents and accidents.
As reported by Luis Bonilla of Weeks Marine in his presentation of the CDMCS Incident statistics generated by the member companies, damage to the hands and fingers,, injury from slips, trips, and falls; sprains, strains, and pulls on the lower back; and being struck by an object continue to be the most common injuries during dredging and marine construction activities. As a follow-on to its hand safety training and awareness video, the CDMCS will soon release video(s) on back safety and ergonomics to reduce injuries in those areas. An additional media asset on Slips, Trips and Falls will likely follow.
Council members discussed their own individual spill response programs and preparedness and agreed to share them with one another as best practices in the member-only section of the CDMCS website.
In his agenda topic “Accident Reporting for Dredging Activities,” Dylan Davis, Coastal Program Manager for the USACE South Atlantic Division, discussed how working on water is entirely different from working on land, yet the way incidents are reported doesn’t take this dynamic environment into consideration and that in some circles there is a lack of appreciation for this difference. According to Davis, there is an opportunity for the council to tailor its communications to include a “working on water” message. The council will explore avenues for this, both in advertising and in-person meetings.
This conversation served as a good segue into the highlight of the meeting – a roundtable Corps/industry regional discussion on safety progress and challenges. It was the second roundtable of its kind and served yet again to be a great opportunity for representatives on both sides, whether in safety and/or operations, to listen, learn and ask questions. Marie Strum (USACE Detroit District), Chris Frabotta (USACE Galveston District), Ken Goldberg (USACE Philadelphia District), and Dylan Davis (USACE South Atlantic Division), each laid out the positive and negative developments in their areas, noting that across the board accidents have decreased.
The next quarterly meeting of the CDMCS will be on Wednesday, June 26 and its 2nd Annual Leadership in Safety Awards Dinner is set for Tuesday, November 12 – both in Washington, DC.