As workers push to meet deadlines or simply forget safety procedures in the busyness of their day, lives can be put at risk.
Be Serious About Job Safety
Most people in construction love innovative new power tools to make a job more efficient. And there’s also the worker who won’t part with a quality hammer, passed on from his grandfather. There’s just something within construction workers, from carpenters to electricians, that loves using tools – old and new - to build something that will be used for generations.
A construction site is a busy place with many projects being accomplished simultaneously. You don’t have to be on a site for long before you see many potential scenarios that could cause an injury or even death. As workers push to meet deadlines or simply forget safety procedures in the busyness of their day, lives can be put at risk.
Simple Mistakes. Big Consequences.
It seems like such simple things – a damaged electrical cord, an extension ladder that’s not tied off before a worker climbs it, a welding cable that’s laying in a heavily- travelled walkway. But it’s these simple mistakes that can lead to serious workplace accidents.
The CDC cites at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html that every year in the U.S. more than 500,000 people are treated and about 300 people die from ladder-related injuries alone. Think about that! Workers are losing their lives because a safety procedure wasn’t implemented before climbing a ladder. What a heartbreaking circumstance for something that can be avoided.
In 2017, OSHA’s list of the most commonly cited violations included: 1) general fall protection requirements, 2) hazard communication, 3) scaffolding, 4) respirator protection, 5) lockout/tagout, 6) ladders, 7) powered industrial trucks, 8) machine guarding, 9) fall protection training requirements, and 10) electrical wiring methods.
As leaders in the construction industry, we must do everything we can to lower these statistics and train our employees to think of safety first. Even emphasizing how important it is to put smartphones away is important – I’ve seen video of a worker fall into a hole while looking at his phone!
Attitude Is Everything
Safety must be part of a company’s culture. It must come from the top down that every employee is a valued member of the team and part of that is to insist that they do their job in the safest manner possible. With this type of positive attitude, employees see that the spirit behind safety regulations isn’t to impede their work or hinder their progress, but to make the environment safer which then becomes more productive.
It’s important that safety procedures are constantly being reviewed with repeated reminders daily or weekly through brief onsite meetings and other communication tools such as a company e-newsletter to keep safety procedures on the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Make it fun! Our company often has contests and gives small incentives, such as free breakfast, to employees who show they’re following safety procedures. We’ve implemented the Collins Safety Hall of Fame Program and induct the winner based on efforts throughout the year that include following safety policies, correcting problems on jobsites, and participating in safety events.
Invest in Your People
If your company is like ours, your staff is like family. We care about each other and don’t want to see anyone get hurt. It’s a worthwhile investment to continuously train your employees on safety procedures and far outweighs the financial cost and heartache of an accident. After all, a safe worksite is one where workers thrive, projects run smoothly, budgets are met, and the end result is one in which you can be proud.
Dawn Morgan has owned Collins Construction since 2009. Her experience includes ensuring financial diligence centered around client satisfaction. The firm has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.