Building a Culture of Safety

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1/3/2023 5:42:25 PM

At Michael Baker International, health and safety are fully engrained in all that we do because our employees are our most valuable asset. We consider safety to be the lynchpin of our daily operations, and every employee – whether working in the field, remotely or in an office location – commits to the responsibility of maintaining a safe work environment.

We utilize a safety tool and process called S.L.A.M. to strengthen our safety culture, promote safety awareness, recognize hazards and assess and manage risk. Here’s what S.L.A.M. means:

  • STOP and consider risk in surroundings and the environment
  • LOOK for hazards with harm potential
  • ASSESS the risk
  • MANAGE the risk

As June and National Safety Month come to an end, we are spotlighting the winners of our annual S.L.A.M. Safety Award, which recognizes a project team, service group or office that improved a safety process, contributed to our safety culture and achieved outstanding safety performance over a significant period of time.

Learn more about our two winners, the Philadelphia International Airport – Terminal D/E Apron Repair project and the Hernando de Soto Bridge Inspection.


Construction Services S.L.A.M. Safety Award Winner

Philadelphia International Airport – Terminal D/E Apron Repair

Michael Baker provided engineering services for the Terminal D/E Apron Repair Project at the Philadelphia International Airport, the primary airport for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which serves more than 31.7 million passengers per year.  Much of the existing apron and taxilane pavement located between Terminal D and Terminal E was more than 60 years old and exhibited signs of structural and environmental distress. This project provided an opportunity to replace the most troublesome and frequently used sections of concrete pavement within the Terminal D/E Alleyway.

The project replaced specific sections of apron pavement that could further deteriorate and improve the overall pavement condition. The repairs included replacement of 113, 25’ X 25’ concrete pavement panels located within the heart of the Terminal D/E Alleyway during nighttime, off-peak construction hours and within tight 4-hour time constraints dictated by airline schedules.

The safety measures implemented by the team included regrouping the full-depth pavement panel replacements to fall in a more confined footprint; identifying where construction could be isolated from taxiing aircraft; simplifying temporary taxilane movements; and enhancing communications throughout the project.


Field Services S.L.A.M. Safety Award Winner

Hernando de Soto Bridge Inspection

On May 11, 2021, inspectors from Michael Baker International were conducting a routine inspection of the upper portions of the Hernando de Soto Bridge. During the inspection a member of the inspection team fortuitously saw a major fracture in the tie girder in an area of the bridge below deck and outside of Michael Baker’s scope of work. The team moved into swift action to ensure the safety of the traveling public and the 18 rope access inspectors climbing the upper portions of the bridge. After confirming the critical finding, the team moved quickly. The team immediately contacted the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), the lead agency for the bridge’s biannual safety inspection, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the lead for maintenance and construction activities associated with the bridge, and 9-1-1 to alert them of the situation and request support to close the bridge to both automobile traffic moving across the bridge and river traffic on the Mississippi River below. 

The next few minutes were critical. Michael Baker’s rope access inspectors were called down and as the team awaited support from local authorities to close the bridge, they moved off the structure down each of the westbound and eastbound lanes dressed in neon colors, waving their hands and stopping traffic. With the assistance of the Memphis police, the bridge was quickly evacuated.  In addition to stopping vehicular traffic on I-40, all river traffic was immediately halted on the Mississippi.

Following the initial discovery of the fracture, the Michael Baker team used unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to rapidly scan the rest of the structure. No additional damage was observed by the team and under TDOT, a three-phase plan was devised, with Michael Baker serving as the lead designer. Learn more about the project here

The team incorporated safety measures including working with ARDOT on lane closures that avoided primary direction, peak rush-hour times; eliminating lifts for the 2021 inspection; minimizing at-risk hours for the rope-access inspectors; utilizing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to scan the majority of cable lengths to eliminate numerous lengthy rappels by the climbing team; and incorporating tie-offs to minimize fall risks and enhanced lanyards to reduce the risk of dropping tools.

Congratulations to the teams on being selected as S.L.A.M. Safety Award winners and thank you for your dedication to our safety culture.

Construction Services S.L.A.M. Safety Award Winner: Philadelphia International Airport – Terminal D/E Apron Repair

Field Services S.L.A.M. Safety Award Winner: Hernando de Soto Bridge Inspection

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