By Nathan | Posted on
There's no one in the construction industry who will deny the importance of safety at a work site. Safe work sites are not only well, safer, but more profitable, due to increased effectiveness and lack of fines. But there's no denying that the topic of workplace safety isn't exactly sexy. Or particularly interesting, either. And it's not just an American problem. In Ontario, Canada, University of Algoma professor Cathy Dénommé conducted a study in which subjects attended safety training for various jobs. This training used a number of methods, ranging from computer Power Point style presentations to lectures with a live speaker. And the results? Workers dutifully attended these meetings and training sessions. And not only did they retain very little of what they were taught, the topics covered did not improve safety in any measurable way in work environments. Why? Dénommé and other specialists feel that a large part of the problem is that construction safety topics and safety training is offered in a generic and impersonal way. Feeling talked at, "students" disengage without even being aware of it.
Construction safety conversations aren't ones we can afford to stop having. Daily safety tool box meetings aren't just a good idea, they're required for some contractual construction work, such as with the federal government. So what tips and safety toolbox talk topics do Dénommé and others offer to ensure that safety audiences are actively involved instead of just bored?
5. Safety Training Should Involve Real Life Work ExperiencesWhy are your roofers watching a video featuring actors pretending to jam their fingers in a filing cabinet when they could be viewing the true account of the roofer who neglected to use proper fall protection?
4. Involve Employees In Safety TrainingDénommé said that the most effective safety training allows workers to be directly involved with it, as in forming safety committees and helping to set agenda, and allowing for time after meetings for feedback and questions.
3. Make Employees "Safety Spies"Don't wait for meetings to report safety issues or bring up concerns. Encourage employees to both keep an eye out for potential or active safety concerns, then post them where they'll be checked frequently. Management shouldn't ignore these posts either, but respond to them quickly and prominently.
2. Incorporate DifferencesConstruction sites are no longer the domain of white male workers. Be aware of potential ethnic and cultural differences that could affect perception of safety issues. Bilingual safety signage and warnings are a must for sites with non-native workers and visitors. And while the days of "shrinking violet" female workers are long gone, certain circumstances may create unique health or safety issues for these employees. Be aware of them and make accommodations accordingly.
1. Make Safety Part Of The CultureWork sites should never have a "double safety standard". All firm employees should be held to the same safety protocols on a site, with the same rewards and consequences for doing or not doing so.
Don't let employees think that there is a "good enough" level where site safety is concerned, either. Technology like Raken indirectly helps in a big way with safety due to the possibility of real time jobsite notifications and accurate daily reports. This way, if there is an injury or safety mishap, it is documented and a project manager (on site or off site) is immediately notified. While it's impossible to avoid all accidents, all site employees should never stop trying to create a work environment that's as safe as possible.