Be present. Be focused. Be safe.
That is the theme of Construction Safety Week 2021, and it’s a good one. It’s particularly strong in combination with this year’s special emphasis on the mental health aspect of wellbeing and jobsite safety. Construction jobs are physically and mentally demanding, and the choices we make every day have real consequences for everyone around us.
Safety Week is an important time in our industry, driving awareness among the craft professionals who work long and difficult hours in the construction of our facilities. Safety Week touches thousands of craft and hundreds of small businesses with the goal of reducing injuries in our industry. We can all agree that Safety Week is vital in our mission to prevent injuries.
At Haskell, Safety Week is a time to send a strong message internally and externally about our devout commitment to a zero-injury, zero-incident work environment.
But just as an individual’s wellbeing can’t be properly addressed without a holistic perspective, the safety of our team members, contract partners and clients can’t be ensured without constant vigilance.
Most firms in the construction industry teach safety as a core value, the true measure of success and more. Most of these same firms make safety part of each day’s activities through training, awareness efforts, hazard recognition, milestone celebrations, etc. These firms demonstrate to craft professionals that safety is a core value and that their well-being is paramount.
Yet when small contractors move from general contractor to general contractor, they can find conflicting approaches and varying levels of commitment to safety. If a survey were taken today among the craft professionals and smaller firms on your projects, what would they say about how committed to safety your company and/or field leaders are?
Commitment to safety and safety education should be part of your company’s fabric. Safety Week should be just another week because of your demonstrated safety emphasis year-round. Like a seat belt when you drive home – it is just part of the automobile and automatically incorporated in your commute.
The challenge to our firm and others in the industry is this: Conduct a candid assessment of your commitment to safety. Are you committed year-round? We all can improve our safety commitment for the benefit of each other, but what matters is the perception of those under our control and our obligation to provide a safe work environment.
Currently, events such as Safety Week are necessary, but we should strive to ensure safety is truly in our DNA every day of the year.
About the author: Lance Simons joined the company in 1982 and currently serves as Vice President – Safety and Quality. He is active in several industry organizations, including Southeastern Construction Owner and Associates Roundtable (SCOAR) Safety Committee, NCCER National Safety Committee and American Contractors Insurance Group Safety Committee.