Job Site Safety: Building Near Occupied Schools

Job Site Safety: Building Near Occupied Schools

Wherever O&G is working in close proximity to an occupied school, we have an opportunity to highlight our commitment to safety. It requires diligent planning with everyone assigned to the project, from the O&G team to subcontractors, to ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors.  In this blog, Project Manager, Joe Vetro, describes his experience on a recent project.

Middletown’s Beman Middle School is a new 195,000 SF facility designed by TSKP Studios. It was built within 50 feet of the existing, occupied middle school that it replaced. These logistics, coupled with the accelerated 20-month schedule, posed several challenges and required much preplanning. O&G collaborated with school officials and building committee members to create a site-specific safety plan.

The safety plan called for the installation of an 8-foot perimeter privacy fence within 20 feet of the new structure. All work was scheduled around bus drop-off and pick-up times, and a temporary bus loop was constructed out of harm’s way. As an added layer of safety, the field foreman for each trade devised a specified plan for whenever they worked near the bus lane. Brian Pracuta, O&G’s superintendent on the project, monitored the fence daily to ensure there were no breaches and that all trade workers were abiding by the safety plan.

Most of the work was performed from the far side of the project site, as distant as possible from the occupied school. For example, the steel frame was erected from the far side, and the 300-ton crawler crane was set up inside the building pad area to perform some of the picks. Man lifts and other heavy machineries were prohibited from operating near the existing school. Various contractors accessed the project site by peeling back specific sections of the fence along the access drive. 

Any issues within the safety perimeter were minimal and dealt with quickly, such as a minor settlement in the temporary bus loop.

The project team met regularly with school officials to review and coordinate the schedule of construction activities and school functions to ensure there would be no disruption.

Our track record of working safely and unobtrusively near an occupied building is commendable, largely because of the commitment of O&G employees to following the plan and working with a safety mindset.