How’s Your Construction Safety Culture?

construction safety

The pandemic changed the playing field for everyone. It definitely changed the safety culture for construction industry worksites. We were considered “essential workers,” but jobsites and office closures did substantial damage.

Back at work, we had to develop a new way of working; a more proactive safety culture. Did our industry do it? Did your company do it?

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) decided a safety culture should include a human health approach. You may size up workers’ fitness for a job by observing their physical strength; making sure they have the right protective gear and equipment. ABC’s Greg Sizemore says, “You need to look at the heart and mind in addition to the physical.”

Construction Safety Policies

It appears construction companies with a robust safety culture also have several commonalities. They often have:

  • A substance abuse policy that is emphasized and backed by drug/alcohol testing when possible
  • Intense safety focus that includes emotional health as well as physical
  • Leadership and management that visibly follow construction safety protocols and programs
  • New-hire training and onboarding that focuses special attention to policies and expectations
  • Regularly scheduled toolbox talks that include reminders of or focus on construction safety

What You Can Do: Get Back to the Basics

If your safety culture is off-course and you want to get it back on track for 2022, Environmental, Health, and Safety Advisor editor Jay Kumar says you can start by getting back to the basics. Begin by reviewing OSHA’s Construction Safety & Injury Prevention workbook. Several steps are key to fostering change in your company’s safety culture:

  1. Define the need for change
  2. Commit to a construction safety culture
  3. Assess current safety program(s)
  4. Strategically plan
  5. Focus on incident control – your goal is 0% incidents
  6. Communicate the change and implement the goals 
  7. Measure and analyze the results

Sometimes, getting back to the basics strengthens moving forward. It’s a solid strategy that works.

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