Construction fatalities have declined almost 40 percent during the past five years according to a recent AGC report. The 40 percent decline in fatalities out paced the decline in construction revenues. This indicates a shift in the industry that has produced extremely positive results.
Many companies have made a commitment to improving workplace safety. Miron, for example, has dedicated considerable resources to safety training, which is the cornerstone of hazard identification. If a construction worker is educated on the means and methods to protect themselves and others from project site hazards, along with the steps necessary to correct those hazards, he/she is equipped to manage and eliminate unsafe practices. One of the key components to hazard correction is empowering employees to take action if they witness unsafe practices or hazards on site. Miron’s supervisors and professional trades people are instructed that not only do they have the right to take time to correct a safety-related short-coming, they have an OBLIGATION to correct it. There is a fundamental difference between the ability, or right to correct, and the obligation to correct. Miron employees understand that it is completely acceptable to shut down production operations in order to address a safety concern.
The obligation to correct safety problems comes with a paradigm shift. Being that production has historically been the sole focus of most construction operations nationwide, many professional trades people have been reluctant to take a moment to correct a known unsafe practice or hazard unless directly advised by a supervisor. One of the reasons individuals were reluctant to correct problems was that the time to correct the issue was traditionally viewed as a cost. However, as you educate your workforce, it is necessary to break the myth that correcting a safety-related problem is an expense. You must educate your workforce so they understand that hazard identification and correction offers significant savings and adds value to the project and the organization’s bottom line. Most importantly though, it’s the right thing to do for the safety of each and every individual on site. Most safety-hazard corrections take almost no time at all to correct, while a hazard or practice left unchanged can have a horribly negative life-altering effect.
Another initiative that Miron has put in place to increase site safety is requiring a project-wide weekly stand-down meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to keep every project team member informed about site-specific issues related to safety. These meetings offer a great opportunity to communicate concerns related to quality and production as well. Furthermore, the ten minute meetings serve as forum for all individuals on site to express safety concerns. The discussion, and subsequent actions, ultimately have a positive impact on site for everyone.
Miron is committed to an injury-free worksite, and to increasing safety throughout the construction industry. If each construction organization continues to put forth a little extra effort into employee education and raising expectations for all involved in the construction industry, we as an industry will continue to reduce construction-related injuries and deaths.