Thanks to you and your staff for putting safety at the forefront. Many builders and trade contractors don't even think about safety until they are issued a citation or an accident or fatality occurs. Builders should place the same emphasis on safety as they do budget, schedule, and quality. If they can't do it safe in the field, then it shouldn't be budgeted, scheduled, or checked to see if it is done right.
Your article brought out many good points, but probably left many workers, foremen, and builders with the same response I hear as a safety trainer and consultant during almost every site visit: “There is just so much to remember. We don't want to know the regulations. Can't you just give us some kind of checklist to follow?”
As you are aware, safety must be part of the company culture and the pre-planning process. Too often, safety is considered only after the project or work in the field has started. Few workers, foremen, or managers are proactive in regard to safety because they don't know what to ask or check for in the field. They will review building plans, specifications, and material lists before starting a job, but few review or check the safety requirements.
Lack of training is part of the issue, but many companies do train. The problem is, it is frequently only every so often and, when done, is crammed into a short period of time. The requirements and standards are covered, but not how to implement them into daily activities. For safety to stick, it must be applicable to the work performed and at a level the workers understand. It must be part of daily, weekly, and monthly activities.
Another issue is pre-planning. OSHA guidelines and effective safety principles are based on pre-planning, or hazard analysis, prior to the work's being started and fully understanding the requirements. One way of accomplishing this is through the development and use of safety checklists. Field employees, foremen, and managers can be trained to use safety checklists as long as they are short and task-specific. Such lists also help others to review and ensure that safe work practices are being followed.
I thank you for your continuing efforts to make safety an everyday priority.
Keep building it safe.
SENIOR CONSULTANT PETE FOWLER CONSTRUCTION SERVICES SAN CLEMENTE, CALIF. VIA E-MAIL