Construction is an industry that is well-known for the hazards it can pose, due to the nature of the work it involves. Big machines, heavy lifting, dangerous environments; it all combines to make construction one of the most challenging industries in the world.
As a construction company owner, you undoubtedly know all of the above, and will have done all you can to keep your workforce as safe as possible. You’ll have read the safety guidelines, done the research, and gone out of your way to make sure every construction site is as safe as possible; from supplying ear defenders to every member of staff to ensuring you use commercial air scrubbers to making sure workers are breathing clean air to using signage effectively around your sites – you’ve done the work, and your sites will be safer as a result. Ideally you’ve also familiarized yourself with topics such as Ambient Air Sampling.
However, even if you are personally dedicated to safety, there is still an additional need to make sure that your staff share this commitment. Below, we’ve provided a few tips on how you can instill a safety-conscious attitude in those who work for you.
Provide safety training and ongoing refreshers
Ensuring that all members of staff understand the underlying principles of construction site safety is vital, and this is usually best achieved by providing thorough training to all new hires. However, training should always be continual, with refreshers and updates provided to staff on a regular basis.
Be rigorous about following the rules yourself
While you will no doubt do this anyway, it’s still worth mentioning due to how important it is for your workers to see you following safety guidelines. Whenever you are at a site, wear the right equipment and – if necessary – perform all the expected checks that are required.
Encourage workers to come forward if they see safety practices being broken
Employees should know that if they witness unsafe practices on a construction site you own, they can report this to you. Make it clear to all staff that you just want to know if there is a problem, and that they should always come forward if they are concerned – after all, doing so is important for everyone working on the site. If at all possible, provide a mechanism whereby workers can report concerns anonymously, as this may help to encourage workers to come forward.
Ask workers to raise issues with discomfort or unhappiness
Similar to the point above, workers should feel empowered to raise any issues they experience while working. If they are uncomfortable, in pain, or are otherwise finding the work troublesome to their well-being, they need to feel empowered to discuss this with upper management so that measures can be taken to try and resolve the problem.
Involve workers in safety management
Safety is not an issue that benefits from a “top down” approach – i.e. instructions being issued to workers and then enacted by front line staff who have not had the opportunity to contribute to the discussion. Ideally, safety should be much more inclusive, with members of staff actively involved in the decision-making process. You can ask staff to be involved in safety planning on every site you work on, and encourage regular meetings where workers can discuss existing safety practices and make amendments if necessary.
Be lenient if a staff member break the safety rules for the first time
It is not uncommon for construction company workers to penalize any member of staff who is observed to be working in a way that contravenes safety practices, but this approach can be unnecessarily harsh. While there is a need to take action if a worker continues to infringe upon safety rules, be very lenient in the first instance, focusing on correcting the behavior with additional training.
Reward positive behavior
One of the best ways to encourage an attitude of safety is to provide reward systems for good safety practices. This works particularly well for behaviors relating to safety equipment; if, for example, an employee wears all of their personal protective equipment every day for a week, then they become eligible for a reward of your choosing.
Safety is something that everyone who works on a construction site needs to see as a paramount importance, and the tips above will help to encourage your employees to share your focus in this area. As a result, you should be able to mitigate many of the hazards associated with owning a construction company, and ensure that you and your workers are able to enjoy an all-around safer, healthier working environment.
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