Creating a Culture of Safety

In 2015, 937 workers died on the job in the construction industry. According to OSHA, 64.2 percent of those construction deaths were caused by falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in or between machinery. These accidents could have been prevented if the proper safety training and procedures were in place as well as enforcement of the safety training and procedures. It's important to create a culture of safety at any worksite to keep workers and bystanders out of harm’s way. Here are three tips for establishing a standard of safety on the job.

1. Implement Training to Define Expectations

There needs to be a solid understanding of what procedures to follow on the jobsite. Workers can’t be expected to follow safety guidelines if they haven’t been properly trained. Maintaining up-to-date training courses for all employees ensures that everyone is properly acquainted with company expectations, such as a fall protection training. Training should include everything, such as how to use equipment properly, safety precautions, and signs. Implementing safety training for new hires and refresher courses for tenured employees establishes a culture of safety early on.

2. Create Consequences for Unsafe Behavior

Whether they are rewarded or punished, having results for proper and improper adherence to safety standards will alter employee habits. Establishing a consequential system for breaking safety protocol will deter unsafe practices in the future. These consequences can range from probation, strikes in employee files, or even termination in extreme situations. Ultimately, there needs to be a zero-tolerance policy in place to hold violators accountable after they’ve completed documented training. Using such a system will enable workers to rectify bad habits, which puts an end to any possible liability.

Employees who violate safety protocols are not the only workers who should reap consequences. Reinforcing good behavior or safe actions with rewards will help correct bad habits as well. Encouraging your workers to not cut corners, wear vital PPE, and to complete their work safely will benefit everyone. Rewards can range depending on employer preference.

3. Encourage Safety Observation Reports and Feedback

Failure to report safety issues results in further problems. As it stands now, how many safety violations slip through the cracks because no one notifies management of the violations? Providing a convenient and accessible way to record problems on the worksite allows for more workers to voice their concerns. Who knows what’s going on better than the workers and operators in the field? Take advantage of your workers’ expertise and listen to them.

Create a committee for discussions and feedback. This committee should be developed from people on every level of your organization to guarantee a united front and understanding that these policies must be followed by everyone in the organization. With input from both the management and worker level, your culture of safety is self-correcting and constantly evolving. Your committee will hold the responsibility of managing training issues and researching new practices. Additionally, a safety committee will provide employees with a comfortable way to pass along suggestions.

Creating and maintaining a culture of safety is vital for the functionality of every workplace. From manufacturing to construction, whatever the industry, safety should always be the highest priority.

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