The seriousness of safety is still not quite as prevalent among many pavement maintenance contractors as it should. Contractors who are growing in size seem to be the more progressive about driving safe work practices and being aggressive in leading and managing safety. Many smaller contractors still only flirt with a real safety commitment.
Let me suggest a few ideas that might help you make safety a greater part of your company’s future.
- Start thinking about safety at the first sight of a new sales opportunity. Notice the terrain, local traffic, access to work areas, etc.
- Discuss safety as an important concern with your customers.
- Create a “checklist” of safety-related materials, tools, protective wear, barricades, tape, flares etc. each crew or job should have.
- Build a safety “perspective” into weekly staff and crew meetings.
- Make daily safety reminders part of every morning or end-of-day crew “huddle.”
- Regularly inspect vehicles to make sure that safety equipment is on board, easy to access, and in working condition.
- Make a formal safety presentation at least quarterly.
- Identify employees who will serve as “Safety Coordinators” and train them to be the extra eyes of safety for your crews and jobs.
- Measure safety and post your results in very visible locations for all employees to watch and monitor (ideas include number of days without an incident, maintenance of safety equipment checklist, etc.)
- Make sure that you and every leader are modeling safety in every area of the company.
- Take any hint of an unsafe practice seriously and address it promptly. Follow-up on supposed rumors.
Simply telling your workers to be safe isn’t enough today. With all of the press and visibility associated with construction, it is critical that you promote, support, and “live” safety. In fact, you might find that hiring and keeping better workers will be tied to how committed you are to promoting and supporting safety. Simply put, great workers do not work with unsafe contractors.
Now, if you are struggling with implementing safety, don’t lose heart. You’re not the only contractor that might be challenged with making safety part of your company “DNA.” However, you need a plan to make it happen. Consider:
- Develop a Safety Vision – put into words what you want to see from a safety standpoint.
- Establish company values that represent your commitment to safety.
- Have a serious conversation with your leadership team about safety.
- Develop and implement a Safety Action Plan. Start with one area of the company and spread your efforts across the entire organization.
- Always include monitoring to make sure safety efforts stick!
- Train, train, train! Safety is a forever thing that must be reinforced regularly.
Look, if you’re really new to implementing a comprehensive safety plan don’t panic. Use the steps and techniques presented in this article. Also, if you have access to a company that has been “living safety” for a while, ask to visit with their leaders. You’ll learn some “best practices” from them that can assist you and even save you some time.
Safety is serious business. While no one will not deny its importance are you doing all that you can to ensure that your workers and the environment that they work in are safe? Start today and work to make safety a real part of your company’s “DNA.”
Brad Humphrey is president of Pinnacle Development Group, a consulting firm that specializes in the construction industry. Want a weekly “visit” from Brad? Sign up for his www.thecontractorsbestfriend.com weekly newsletter.