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Cement and Concrete’s Year-Round Health and Safety Culture

Chris Ward
President and CEO Lehigh Hanson, Inc.

June is National Safety Month, and for cement and concrete manufacturers, health and safety are not just business priorities, but values that set the tone of who we are as an industry. A strong culture of health and safety starts at the top and grows when employees at all levels are committed to voicing concerns, identifying hazards, and stopping unsafe practices while also proactively looking at ways to improve in these areas. Safety Month is certainly a time to emphasize these commitments within our own businesses, but the cement and concrete industry has thrived for over a hundred years because health and safety with an attitude of “do the right thing every day” permeate every aspect of our culture and operations.

Currently, our industry has many practices in place that foster the health, safety and vitality of our workforce. Establishing clear and enforceable policies, training workers to identify hazards before entering work areas, staying diligent about equipment maintenance, and ensuring all personnel have appropriate and well-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) are all essential. The aggressive actions taken industry-wide to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic also exemplify our commitment to health and safety. Our people are our most valuable asset and thanks to the cement and concrete industry’s strong existing safety culture, we were able to act quickly and effectively to keep our workers safe.

By utilizing and enforcing rigorous standards within our plants, we are able to reduce injuries, ensure employee well-being and routinely work with local, state and federal regulatory agencies to successfully operate as an essential sector during this critical time.

It is our duty to continually improve our health and safety practices. We do not view health and safety improvements as proprietary, but rather seek opportunities to share best practices across the industry to elevate practices for our entire workforce. Lehigh Hanson is an active member of the Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) Occupational Health and Safety Committee, which spans the industry and is a resource to all PCA member companies. The committee also partners with regulating agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to find ways to share health and safety information and advancements.

Our industry is committed to collaborating on impactful initiatives and PCA continually offers resources to educate our workforce on the latest health and safety topics.

While we live these values every day, June is an important reminder that our industry is made up of 600,000 individuals, and it’s our job to ensure that each employee goes home at the end of the day healthy and whole.

Join Our Ambition to Reach Carbon Neutrality Across the Concrete Value Chain

In late 2020, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) released a climate ambition statement: PCA and its members will develop a roadmap by the end of 2021 to facilitate member companies achieving carbon neutrality across the concrete value chain by 2050.

This roadmap will guide us on perhaps the most ambitious decarbonization journey ever attempted. The entire value chain of clinker, cement, concrete, construction, and carbonation (concrete as a carbon sink) is an integral part of tomorrow’s circular economy and each area has its own part to play. This roadmap enables the construction sector to meet this sustainability goal and collaboration with industry and private partners will be imperative to realize the multitude of solutions outlined.

We invite stakeholders along this value chain to join this ambition to realize carbon neutrality not just in one sector but across the full concrete value chain.

Cement and concrete have been pivotal in building resilient communities that enable people to live safe, productive and healthy lives via structures that withstand natural and man-made disasters. PCA members are committed to delivering products that meet those needs as well as drive down emissions and achieve the industry’s environmental goals.

This roadmap enables our member companies and partners along the concrete value chain to continue building a better future, shaped by concrete. On behalf of America’s cement manufacturers, we hope you will join us on this journey.

Learn more about the five aspects of decarbonization that make up our roadmap.

Sign up below to receive detailed updates on the cement and concrete industry’s roadmap in the coming months and how we plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.