No one wants injuries—either for yourself or for your employees. And when a fatality occurs, the emotional ravages of human tragedy endure a lifetime. The obvious solution: accident prevention and the promotion of jobsite safety within your company.
Despite everyone’s ready acknowledgment of this truism, a number of very natural forms of resistance hold back the promotion and implementation of safe practices. Under the pressure of keeping a job on schedule, many workers find it inconvenient and time-consuming to follow safe practices. It is easier and faster to use the saw without the guard. Getting the right ladder and stabilizing it is a pain, especially when you are just finishing up some small project. Properly wearing and attaching a harness feels like a waste of time and slows progress down—all costing time and money!
What makes this worse is that the guy you are competing against ignores all these procedures. You are in danger of losing out on the work to him. If you do it right, you’ll have to charge more and your jobs will take longer. There goes the competitive advantage.
Why lose out on this advantage when it’s highly unlikely that anything will ever happen? Accidents don’t happen here. Many of our workers are young and in their prime, where they live with a sense of being invincible. Risk-taking demonstrates that they aren’t sissies, and caution can tarnish the image. Nothing bad can happen to them, they think, for they haven’t experienced much loss in their lives!
The problem is that accidents do happen—all too often! Older, more experienced workers realize it. Sometimes the injuries may be small, but with nagging, long-term consequences. And when the worst happens—and someone dies on your construction site—someone needs to make the call to a daughter, or to a spouse, telling them that their dad, or husband, won’t be coming home tonight. At that point, things like saving time, competitive advantage, being macho, and being invincible suddenly all take their proper perspective in the big picture of life.
Because “safety is the right thing to do,” the greatest motivation to implement safe practices in your work flow is “a matter of the heart,” according to Dana Nathan Blose, Manager of Loss Control with the Builders Insurance Group in Atlanta. He points out that there are many solid financial reasons for caring about safety. But to become part of your company culture, the commitment to safety needs to be felt by all, especially those in leadership positions. With that passion driving it from the top, the necessary disciplines can then be implemented company-wide to make it work.
Despite the need for a heart passion, business is business, and an owner also