Creating a Culture of Safety on the Jobsite

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

 

Training Program:

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.

 

Supervisor’s Responsibilities:

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

 

CONCLUDING COMMENTS

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.

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