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Safety Stand-down hosted across UVA

October 4, 2023

Facilities Management staff members and contractors paused work to focus on safety topics

Teams across UVA participated in a Sept. 27 safety stand-down: the Main Heat Plant Teams across UVA participated in a Sept. 27 safety stand-down: UVA Wise Pippin/Wylie Hall renovation project Teams across UVA participated in a Sept. 27 safety stand-down: CC&R staff on various projects gathered at Ern Commons
Teams across UVA participated in a Sept. 27 safety stand-down, including from left, the Main Heat Plant, UVA Wise Pippin/Wylie Hall renovation project and CC&R staff on various projects gathered at Ern Commons.

To support safety and awareness on the job, Facilities Management teams supported a system-wide stand-down on Sept. 27.

Hundreds of workers participated in the stand-down gatherings, which included staff members from Capital Construction & Renovations, Operations and Energy & Utilities, as well as contractors on all active CC&R construction sites. Gatherings took place across Grounds including at the Heat Plant, Ern Commons, the Chemistry Building renovation, Brandon Avenue upper-class housing construction (which included 176 participants) and even as far away as the Pippin/Wylie Hall renovation on the UVA Wise campus.

The stand-down was spearheaded by CC&R leadership and was supported by the Occupational Health & Safety team and Operations and Energy & Utilities leadership.

“We decided to organize the stand-down due to the large amount of work we have going on, and we had seen an increase of near misses and incidents,” said Mark Stanis, director of Capital Construction & Renovations. “We wanted to take a full system-wide stand-down to pause and reflect and remind people — we have to watch out for each other and keep each other safe.”

CC&R project management teams led the stand-downs on each construction site and FM staff led the talks with their staff members. All teams spoke to the following talking points:

  • What is our “why?”: When we ask the questions — “Why care about safety?” or “Why work safely?” — consider your own personal reasons beyond adhering to compliance and policies. To create a truly safe work environment we must be motivated personally.
  • Safety culture on the job: If you see a hazard, stop and fix it or speak up. If something looks or feels unsafe, there is a very good chance it is. Safety is everyone's responsibility regardless of your role. If we speak up and share what happened, we can take advantage of the opportunity and learn from it, so it can be avoided going forward. No one should feel fearful of notifying leadership of near misses.
  • Mental health: Lack of sleep, personal and work stress, illness, and other things can impact how we are “showing up” at work, which can impact our focus and attention. Normalize conversations around mental health with your teams to help create a culture of care and support. There are mental health and wellbeing resources available for all UVA employees through FEAP.

“All of us in FM are committed to creating a culture of safety and awareness for every project so that each and every person can go home to their friends and family the same way they came to work,” according to leadership representatives. “Please stay safe and watch out for each other.”

About the author

Jane Centofante
Communications senior generalist
UVA Facilities Management
(434) 982-5846