If you’ve ever had an on-the-job fatality, it’s not something you’ll ever want to experience again. Yet, while we keep pushing the boundaries on elaborate, multi-million dollar structures, the construction industry isn’t making much progress in stopping serious injuries and deaths on construction sites.
In her Construction Superintendent article, “What keeps you up at night?,” Deb Hilmerson asks readers to answer hard questions about what motivates their safety culture starting with: “Do you do safety because the law says so, or because it’s a core value of your organization?”
She cautions, “If you’re cutting corners on safety to keep down costs, you may want to reconsider your rationale.” She elaborates that the indirect costs associated with an on-the-job injury or fatality can be staggering.
Hilmerson calls on her extensive construction safety experience to offer advice for improving your safety culture regardless of your business size. Among the tips she provides in this article is to lead by example. “Participate in pre-bid meetings, walk the jobsites with your leadership team. Be visible and please dress accordingly. No suits and shiny shoes. Wear sturdy work boots, hard hats, safety glasses, high visibility vests and whatever other jobsite PPE is required. Make safety performance a part of a supervisor’s performance review. If they aren’t cutting the mustard, re-train them or set them free just as you would if they weren’t keeping up with your production or quality expectations,” she stresses.
She also elaborates on how to encourage workers to report unsafe conditions, including near-misses, and the importance of learning from accidents and near misses. “Do not point blame. The bottom line is to ensure everyone goes home to their family safe and sound, and in doing that your safety program will thrive,” she writes.
While following her advice probably won’t stop you completely from worrying about safety, she believes that you will be able to sleep better.
About Hilmerson Safety
Hilmerson Safety® is a full-service safety product design and manufacturing company serving the construction industry. Since 2001 Hilmerson Safety® has been working with construction industry leaders and contractors to develop safe, lean, construction-grade™ products and solutions that add to the company’s bottom line.
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