Real talk. It’s something our company is currently working on as we build on our company culture. And I find it particularly fitting for construction in relation to safety. Now more than ever.
Real talk: if we want to achieve higher standards for our safety culture in the U.S, we need to make it an operational priority. If there is anything to learn from the current pandemic it’s that our safety practices require more than siloed checklists, incidents and injury tracking, or reactive analysis of lagging indicators.
More than talks and taglines, safety is operational. It needs to be embedded in all processes, led from the top down, empowering teams to do what’s right and supporting proper habits on the ground.
Currently our construction industry is responding to the measures required to operate a site safely during the outbreak of COVID-19. Management of personnel, safety processes, and access to information in real-time is now a requirement and no longer a “nice to have”.
Those who have not put stringent and comprehensive safety processes in place - those who haven’t woven safety into their field operations at every step- are scrambling to come up with solutions to keep their sites open and to keep their workers safe.
In contrast, those that have evolved their processes are the ones providing safer job-sites for workers in this pandemic. They are merely adjusting and implementing minor changes to keep up with best practices and mandatory guidelines. They are the companies that will continue to lead after our country recovers from this pandemic.
With the times requiring fast and furious evolution of practices to keep teams healthy and safe, we could learn from this pandemic and in turn, create a safer tomorrow. This moment should be a catalyst for our industry.
By improving standards to protect our most important assets, our people, we can ‘grab the bull by the horn’ and revolutionize ourselves, coming out the other end more efficient, with safer, healthier job sites.
More than ever, let’s focus on prevention. Let’s use leading indicators to focus on what we’re doing right. Let’s give our field teams, or an anonymous worker, the ability to record near misses, and report on unsafe practices without fear of repercussions. Let’s utilize the wealth of data that if captured electronically, could spark a conversation or determine an informed decision that leads to improvements. Let’s provide our teams with proper facilities to support better hygiene and reduce the possibility of future virus transmissions, or sickness resulting from inadequate facilities.
It all starts with one. Whether it is a global pandemic, or catalyzing positive change, it begins with one.
So, what can we all do moving forward?
Start with the end in mind. What do you want to stand for? What do you want your workers and trade partners to think of you? What data do you need access to, to truly make a difference and lift your company to the next level?
Embrace change, analyze your processes, find areas for improvement and then search for the best possible solution. There is something for everyone out there, the speed in which technology solutions are being applied to construction over the past decade is breathtaking.
Data… data… data. Get SME’s from across all functions of your company, collate what everyone believes to be the critical information (information that if they had access to, they could make true data-backed decisions), tie it to processes ensuring the data can be captured, then prioritize and start your journey.
Come together and share our best thoughts, ideas, practices. Mind sharing and creating industry-wide, data-driven safety baselines for measuring our true safety numbers is paramount. At HammerTech, we are creating a Global Construction Safety Coalition, bringing together the best minds in construction design, safety, operations and change management from around the world to develop a wealth of education and research to improve our industry’s safety processes, and give organizations global resources to advance their safety operations.
When we all do our part to advance this industry, when we all have real talk with ourselves and others in the industry, we will come out the other side better for having done so. Safety is not something to be negotiated, or siloed, or ignored. Moving forward, safety should be the foundation of our practices.