If you work in construction, you don’t need to be told twice that your job can be just as risky as it is rewarding. In fact, recent stats from the National Safety Council state that a worker is injured on the job every 7 seconds. The worst part is that these workplace incidents and injuries are preventable.
Every year the first of May marks the kickoff of Safety Week, an educational event sponsored by the Construction Industry Safety Initiative and the Incident and Injury Free Executive Forum. The purpose of Safety Week is simple: to raise awareness and encourage commitment from leaders across the industry to do their part to eliminate workplace injuries. Following Safety Week is the National Safety Stand-Down, an initiative launched by OSHA to prevent falls in construction.
In honor of these two important construction safety events, here are a few proven strategies you can implement to reduce risk across your job sites:
Strengthen Your Safety Culture
Creating a culture that champions safety excellence through active participation is critical to eliminating injuries. But in order to boost participation in safety, the entire company has to be on the same page and know that workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility. Transforming your safety culture starts with securing top-down commitment and requires management to lead by example and establish that safety is their top priority. Once this is demonstrated by your company’s top leaders, the rest of your workforce will follow suit.
Facilitate Open Communication
To improve safety and bolster your culture, you must create an open and inclusive work environment where employees feel not only comfortable, but empowered to speak up and talk about safety with each other and management. This includes identifying and reporting hazards and near misses, in addition to making proactive suggestions for improvement. When workers feel like their concerns and feedback are being heard and taken seriously, participation rises and increased participation contributes to improved performance. It’s also important to remember that safety isn’t proprietary – make sure knowledge and best practices are being shared not just within your organization, but across the industry as a whole.
Ongoing Training Sets Everyone Up for Success
Safety leaders know that orientation and training during a new employee’s first few days, weeks and months on the job are essential. Employees should not perform any task they have not been formally trained to do and have the right to refuse unsafe work.
That said, in order to continuously improve and ensure everyone has access to the latest resources available, consider investing in ongoing training to help your employees continue to do their jobs as safely as possible. To accommodate the diverse learning styles among your workforce, provide a variety of types of training – including regular toolbox talks, in-class instruction and e-learning courses through your safety management system.