If you had the power to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on the construction site, would you?
Of course you would. And the fact is that with an empowered, safety-conscious team and the assistance of advanced technology, you do have that power.
Modern technology has evolved to the point where data can be collected, tracked, analyzed, and applied to dramatically improve workplace safety. Instead of scrambling to correct hazardous situations after an accident has already occurred, it is now possible to avoid the incident altogether with the help of your team. Developing and training a team committed to safety is the most powerful tool for combating workplace dangers.
How Safety-Conscious Is Your Team?
OSHA provides training courses that are generally required by construction employers. But in practice, these courses are probably not enough to adequately prepare your workers for the reality of all they could encounter in their daily work.
Given the number of variables that can be encountered on a job site – from inclement weather to the need to adapt to new equipment – a one-time training session at the onset of employment is unlikely to be enough to truly have an impact on workplace safety perception. It is important to consider ongoing training opportunities, especially those relevant to specific projects and challenges.
Consider the needs of a typical job site. An employee may be working on a different task each day of the week, each with its own unique challenges and dangers. Is your employee prepared for each task? Is the employee aware of the safety protocols in place for each task? It’s not feasible to offer safety training every day to prepare your employee but it is possible to teach your team to be more aware so they can safely adapt to new tasks and support one another in preventing incidents in the workplace (learn more about building an effective team in Teamwork: Working Together Towards a Safer Tomorrow).
Whole Team Training for a Safer Workplace
Studies show a trend of employees quitting their jobs due to problems with management. Whether it be perceived or actual ineffectiveness, no company wants to lose its best employees because of poor management. Part of this struggle could be dealt with by holding workplace safety training for both management and employees in order to foster communication, improve morale, and ensure people at all levels of the company are on the same page. Even veteran employees can use refreshers on safety protocols and proper responses.
Whole-team training improves the effectiveness of management, minimizes the us-versus-them mentality that can arise in the workplace, and drives home the importance of safety for the entire organization. Bringing supervisors and workers together encourages communication and accountability, both of which have positive effects for safety on job sites.
Team training may also allow organizations to identify workers who have the potential to become effective temporary (or even permanent) safety supervisors. Having employees who demonstrate a complete understanding of the more complex elements of their work can be just as valuable for improving outcomes as having the right safety standards.
Once your team is well-trained on expectations related to safety on the work site, you can take your team-focused approach to safety to a higher level. They already understand the need for awareness as they shift from task to task and the importance of working as a team. To deepen the safety consciousness of your team members, encourage them to communicate what they’re experiencing on the job and ask them to reach out by any means to report issues or potential problems (learn more in Safety Culture: Essential Elements of Creating a Workplace Safety Culture).
When it’s time for a refresher or introduction of a new task, job, or tool, be sure to bring the team together again. Remind your team of the rewards that come with continued monitoring and upholding of safety protocols, and emphasize your continued commitment to creating a safe workplace.
Bringing Together Your Safety Team and Key Technology
There are great tools available to help your team uphold safety protocols and collect vital safety data. Cloud-based safety software makes reporting a snap and allows your safety team to access real-time data. Based on worksite observations and reports, your team can respond quickly and efficiently to potential issues and make appropriate corrections in a timely manner. Intelligent use of this technology combined with a connected, safety-conscious team will help build a strong safety culture in your workplace.
Empowering your entire team to contribute to health and safety strategies encourages employees at every level to accept accountability and ultimately make a difference in improving workplace safety.