The focus of this Article is the creation and maintenance of a jobsite environment and culture of safety designed to meet or exceed Federal, State, and local safety requirements. This Article does not address specific provisions of law. Rather, it is the intent of the author to generally define policies designed to encourage and enhance a workplace safety culture.
WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR SAFETY?
Identifying those persons responsible for safety and recognizing this obligation is very important, critical to creating and maintaining a culture of safety.
The Contractor Has a Legal Responsibility for Providing a Safe Workplace.
Project managers, supervisors, foremen, etc., are responsible for the day to day jobsite safety.
Safety representative(s) should be designated to monitor the success of the overall safety process.
What is the Responsibility of the Employee?
Each Employee is primarily responsible for following the safety policies and procedures established by the Contractor.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OSHA VIOLATIONS?
In the event of an accident involving an OSHA violation, or identification of an OSHA violation on a jobsite, it is important to be prepared to properly respond to an OSHA investigation.
Be Prepared to Answer the Following Questions:
Who created the hazard?
Whose employees were exposed?
Who was responsible for correcting the hazard?
Who was responsible for controlling the hazard?
STRATEGIES FOR MAINTAINING SITE SAFETY
Planning ahead and maintaining strict discipline in enforcing safety programs and policies is very important.
Senior Management’s Responsibility:
Assumes Primary Responsibility for the Safety Program
Establishes a Safety Philosophy
Develops Safety Policies and Procedures
Establishes Safety Goals and Objectives
Gives Safety Authority and Accountability to Supervisors
Holds the Management/Supervisor Team Responsible for Employee Safety
Creates an Expectation for Employees to Follow Safety Policies and Procedures
Toolbox Safety Briefings – Conduct Them Formally and Make Them Important to Each Employee
Formal Safety Training Should be Detailed, Thorough, and Relevant
On the Job Training Should be Monitored
All Employees Should Understand the Safety Training or Message
ALL Training Should be Documented
ESTABLISH A SAFETY CULTURE
Competent supervision is very important in developing a culture of safety.
Legally Responsible for Workplace Safety
Team’s Safety Must be Top Priority
Each Shift Should Begin with a Safety Message
ALL Safety Concerns Raised Should be Addressed
EVERYONE on the jobsite Must Understand and Follow the Safety Rules
Any safety program should include a strictly enforced site inspection and hazard assessment program strictly adhered to on a daily basis and contemporaneously documented.
Site Inspection/Hazard Assessment:
Identify, Assess and Control Safety and Health Hazards
Ensure Worksite Safety Inspections are Performed Daily
Formal Inspections (written checklist)
Informal Inspections (visual)
Results Should be Shared Immediately with the Foremen and/or Employees
Immediate Action to Correct any Unsafe Condition or Behavior Should be Taken
Employees Should be Encouraged to Report Unsafe Conditions or Acts
(Never Shoot the Messenger)
Tools and Equipment Should be Inspected Before Each Use
ESTABLISH A SAFETY INCIDENT PROCESS
Listen to Employee Concerns
Actively Investigate All Incidents, Accidents, or Near Misses
Employees Should be Provided “Stop Work Authority”
ESTABLISH A FEEDBACK PROCESS
Give Recognition for Feedback
Be Specific When Praising an Employee for Feedback
Give Praise Publicly, but Give Criticism in Private
Every jobsite can be a safe site. However, a failure to plan is a plan for failure. Safety on the jobsite starts well before the appearance of the Contractor on the site. Creating safety programs strictly enforced by knowledgeable supervisors on the site will go far to make accidents and work interruptions less frequent, resulting in substantially increased productivity.