10 Ways to Improve Construction Safety Culture
Successful construction companies are built on solid construction safety cultures. They understand safety practices and attitudes are crucial to ensuring workers are safe from don’t fall what OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines as ‘fatal four’: falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in or caught-between. This is observed to avoid severe work delays, high insurance costs, and hefty fines for the company. Construction professionals know that it’s their responsibility to keep sites safe to guarantee project quality, ensure worker retention, and improve ROI.
To reap these positive impacts, a construction company needs to look for additional ways to ensure that safety goes beyond the required PPE or regular on-site inspection. Successful companies are constantly on the lookout for things that they can improve on or perform better. Construction firms need not look far. They can start by improving their safety culture. Safety policies, training, and procedures need frequent updates to keep up with changing times and accommodate various worker needs.
If you’re wondering what else can reinforce your construction safety culture, you can take your pick from any of the enhancements provided below.
Improving Construction Safety Culture
1. Use Safety Gear and Tools
While personal safety equipment is standard in the industry, innovative protective gear and tools can further improve your firm’s safety culture. Tools such as hand wheels ensure machine operators can efficiently control their equipment. Wearable devices in colored clothing, smartwatches, and glasses allow managers to monitor job site workers. They keep track of individual locations and alert managers in case of injuries for immediate response dispatch.
2. Reiterate Safety as Core Value
The most basic improvement is in reiterating safety as a core value. Construction professionals need to refocus their attention to safety as a guiding principle for everyone from top to bottom, especially among workers. Management can communicate the importance of this core value by using new methods—texts messages, emails, even mobile apps to remind them of its importance.
3. Personalize Safety Training
Safety training helps workers prevent construction incidents and worker injuries. While requiring new hires to undergo safety training as part of their onboarding and apprenticeships is effective, pairing them with an exemplary veteran could help them learn first-hand about your company’s safety practices. This is a practical and effective way to develop safety as a work attitude for new workers.
Aside from new hires, you can also provide your seasoned employees with refresher courses to remind them of basic protocols and provide them with updates on site-specific rules. You can make them mandatory rather than optional course offerings.
Provide engaging training and link safety practices with personal experience. Emphasize how adhering to safety practices ensure they can enjoy being with their families after a hard day’s work. This way, workers can realize safety attitudes go beyond the premise of a construction site as they could carry it with them wherever they go.
4. Incorporate Toolbox Talks
According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, toolbox talks are the most effective methods to convey safety measures to Jobsite workers. Use it as a weekly opportunity to inform workers of general health and safety issues. Encourage them to ask questions and provide feedback so you can come up with effective policies that are reflective of their needs and address on-site demands.
5. Make Safety Everyone’s Priority
Improving the construction safety culture requires the direct participation of workers. Aside from providing them with relevant training, please provide them with responsibilities to keep themselves and everyone safe. Create a safety committee that brings in people from all company departments and levels. Assign them to review or update the company’s safety program using their knowledge and experience.
Apart from a safety committee, you can also opt to assemble an all-employee incident response team to provide basic first-aid should any of the fatal four—slips, struck by objects, caught in/between, and electrocution occur in your site.
Involving workers and making them accountable help them realize the value of safety in their daily routines. It encourages them to follow the rules and compel fellow workers to adhere to the same guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.
6. Leverage Technology
Technology not only makes construction tasks lighter, but it can also upgrade a company’s safety culture. You can use various technologies to monitor the safety of the construction site and prevent construction accidents.
Equip workers with scannable QR badges that indicate their training and certifications. This way, you’re confident of sending the right person to operate any equipment. These badges also work as trackers. The sensors give out an audible alarm to warn them of potential danger and, in case of accidents, help site supervisors quickly locate injured workers through indoor GPS.
You can even use drones to conduct site inspections before and after each workday. Daily inspections determine safety concerns and help mitigate risks. You can quickly survey the area and make decisions to address issues even if you’re far away. These drones can also help you communicate your concerns to engineers and other professionals to keep everyone on the same page, with safety as a priority.
7. Provide Safety Reminders
Poster, warning signs, and even hand gestures are the language of a construction safety culture. Keep workers reminded of their commitment to workplace safety by installing posters and warning signs as visual reminders. When they can’t be heard amid the bustle of construction work and equipment, hand gestures can help them communicate with each other and provide them with the means to warn others in case of danger.
8. Reinforce Positive Behavior
Acknowledging employee commitment to safety practices by giving them simple treats such as chocolate bars, candies, hats, or gift cards to grocery stores and other establishments. Rewarding employees motivates employee to do better and maintain flawless performance. Good practices will surely give way to good safety habits.
9. Have Incident Reporting in Place
Since safety requires time and training, companies also need to place incident reporting measures in place. Encourage workers to notify supervisors of unsafe conditions and also to report violations to safety codes committed by fellow workers. Keep the reporting anonymous and provide constructive feedback to encourage compliance.
In addition to reporting unsafe conditions, you should also ensure that supervisors submit miss reports so that you can use the data to develop more effective strategies to prevent future accidents.
10. Share Clean Up Responsibilities
Last of these safety culture improvement methods is distributing cleanup responsibilities to workers. Housekeeping efforts keep the site free from slip and trip hazards and ensure workers are in optimum health. Rotating cleaning assignments ensures everyone participates. This, too, can help them understand cleanliness as a crucial aspect of worker health and safety.
Improving construction culture safety entails adding a twist to make safety policies and practices worker and job-site specific. Innovative tools and wearable technologies upgrade safety procedures while increased worker involvement provides them with greater accountability for the company’s safety and success.