Those first 60 minutes ticked by on a mild morning in March. By the time the heat of summer had gripped the site of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and June had dissolved into July, more than a million man-hours had passed.
One million man-hours worked without a serious accident, that is. Out of all the landmarks the project will mark as the museum heads towards completion in 2015, one of the earliest is also one of the most significant.
With about 3,000 men working on the Saadiyat Island site, the hours pile up daily. Each one without what the industry calls a "lost-time accident" is an achievement in itself.
"A million hours is something to recognise, but not something to gloat over," says Rob Whent, health and safety manager for the project.
Building sites are potentially dangerous places, in the wrong circumstances even fatal.
Tower cranes wait to drop heavy objects on heads, and large pieces of machinery move around ready to crush the unwary. There are deep pits to break bones and sharp objects to slice open flesh.
It is Mr Whent's job to make sure this does not happen, working with the contractor's own health and safety team as a guide and mentor - and if necessary, although he insists this happens rarely, an enforcer.
In the complex structure of the Louvre Abu Dhabi joint venture, when it comes to safety, Mr Whent and his company, the engineering consultancy Buro Happold, represent the interests of the client, the Tourism and Development Investment Company.
And with a project as high-profile as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, it is definitely in everyone's interests that the workforce stays safe and healthy.
The milestone of a million man hours with a serious incident is not particularly unusual in the UAE, where massive building projects seem to be the rule, rather than the exception. Even so, says Mr Whent: "It's still pretty good."
Using the commonly accepted definition, a lost-time accident is defined as an injury sufficiently serious to cause a worker to miss at least the following day's shift. A single accident of this severity is enough to set the clock back to zero.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi site has more than sufficient resources to patch up the minor cuts and bruises that are a normal occurrence on a building site.
More serious cases would be moved to hospital - something that fortunately has not yet been needed.
Or is it fortune? It is true, Mr Whent says, that some sites can be "lucky" or "unlucky".
The same accident might have a number of different outcomes. A man falling down a hole could escape with a sprained ankle or fracture a leg. In the worst circumstances, he might break his neck.
But the objective of the Saadiyat site is not to be lucky, but well managed. It is a task that continues to become ever more challenging.
The number of workers on the site has grown from 300 in March and will likely peak at nearly 6,000 later this summer. The nature of the work will alter too; at the moment it consists largely of pouring concrete for the museum's lower floors and basement. Next year it will move to the construction of the Louvre's iconic - and massively complex - dome. All of this will be done according to a tightly controlled timetable, with little room for delay.
But if the complexities of the project change, the health and safety objective remains the same - zero accidents on the job.
Prevention, of course, is always better than cure. Workers arriving on site are given safety training as part of their general induction.
In addition, those with specific skills - a carpenter, for example - receive additional safety instruction relating to their work.
Once on site, the project employs something called a "method statement", in which teams are given a detailed sequence of the task they are to carry out, including the likely safety hazards.
Documents detailing the statement are placed in an easily accessible box on site, and can be amended as the work continues.
At this time of year, with the danger of heat stress, workers and managers will also be briefed daily on the heat and humidity.
Members of a trained safety team are constantly on site, easily distinguishable by their red hard hats and ready to spot potential risks and hand out advice.
Other precautions include deploying "banksmen", whose job it is to guide diggers and heavy machinery around the site and make sure no one is run over.
Climbing scaffolding requires first a full-body safety harness and a shock-absorbing lanyard to break any fall. Pathways safe for walking around the site must be clearly marked with green flags.
Still, accidents will happen. Mr Whent says the approach to health and safety has evolved since the project started from one which sometimes saw breaches or potential breaches in terms of punishment, to one which takes a more cooperative approach.
"We look at mechanisms to put it right rather than who is at fault," Mr Whent says.
Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and improve, he adds. It is a culture of improvement through learning.
This approach moves the emphasis on blame away from the accident victim and towards an examination of the way operations are being carried out.
As a rule, "a good 95 per cent of accidents can be traced back to management failures", Mr Whent says.
As an illustration, he gives the example of a minor injury caused when a worker decided to take a short cut over a safety barrier and hurt his arm. He spent several hours at the site's medical centre, but was able to return to work the same day.
But, Mr Whent says, while the worker was probably wrong to vault the barrier, there were other factors to consider.
"We should have made the barrier higher," he muses. "If we knew this was a route that people were taking on a regular basis we should have put a gate in it."
In the end, it may be the human touch that works best insuring that those million hours continues towards two million.
One of the challenges of the project is that it has workers from many different nations, who not only speak different languages but also have different cultures of health and safety.
There are practical solutions to this - for example, using pictograms rather than words on warning signs. But Mr Whent says one of the most practical methods he finds for getting across the safety message is sitting down with the workers for a morning cup of tea.
Conversations might start with asking about their families, but end with questions about how to stay safe on the job. And while workers know they can talk to health and safety specialists, there are also suggestion boxes on site that allow anonymous contributions - both suggestions and concerns.
The culture that has evolved is now one in which "we are encouraging the workforce to speak up".
After all, Mr Whent says: "We are one big team working together to deliver this project."