Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring 2022

14| ColoradoPublic Works Journal trench lengths they can finish in a day and completely covers and protects excavations when work stops. A team lead trained as a Competent Person who has learned expertise in slope stability soil analysis observes each trench using sloping, shoring, or a trench shield within the trench itself. “Confined spaces, where a person enters a manhole or underground vault is another area where additional care goes into planning the work,” says Crowley. “In confined spaces, we train and employ a No Entry Rescue Method, involving a harness on the person going in attached to a tripod outside of the entrance. If something happens, we’re going to get that person out of danger without sending a second person into danger, if possible.” Roads and Bridges: Mitch Ellingson, Central District Safety Manager, Kiewit As one of the largest transportation builders in the United States, Kiewit takes on the challenge of delivering some of the largest and most complex public infrastructure projects in the nation. From roads, bridges, highways, and tunnels to rail lines and airports, Kiewit’s workforce is integrated into the fabric of America. Central District Safety Manager, Mitch Ellingson, has been with Kiewit for 18 years and today oversees safety across a geography stretching from Montana to Tennessee. “Safety isn’t about policies or procedures; it’s about people. If you can connect with people, you can integrate safety into their everyday behaviors for the better of all,” says Ellingson of the linchpin in safety success. “Kiewit is recognized as a leader in the construction industry for the scale and complexity of the work we build. However, we take just as much pride in safety as we do in rising to the challenge of a difficult job.” Having worked his way through the ranks of Kiewit’s safety program for the last 18 years, Ellingson has witnessed the progression of safety over his tenure and shares that a safety program must be both top-down and bottom-up to be effective. “About twelve years ago, Kiewit implemented the Craft Voice in Safety (CVIS) program, which empowers the craft workforce to speak up about safety issues or concerns without repercussions,” says Ellingson. “Craft members from every discipline volunteer for the CVIS team, and they must be well respected and approachable by their peers. These craft leaders circulate through the project interacting with other workers to ensure their concerns, opinions, and observations can be heard. This is a no-name, no-blame system that has contributed to lower incident and injury rates on projects of every sort.”