Developing a Culture of Safety in Construction Reduces Costs and Increases Profit

Develop Your Culture of Safety

Every manager is responsible for setting and enforcing business culture expectations. At the top of every successful company’s priority list is safety. Setting a company culture starts at the top and starts with clear policies and procedures that are supported and enforced all the way down the line. Having the right tools to keep clear communications between the office and field are a fundamental requirement for promoting safety. Even with State and OSHA safety requirements, it seems inevitable that accidents happen that could have been avoided. Construction deaths from injury are up from 937 in 2015 to 991 in 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The slight uptick in deaths resulting from injury in construction, it’s fairly normalized with the increased number of total hours worked multiplied by average hours (more hours were worked by more people in construction in 2016). That said, it’s comparable to the 951 people who died from “Contact with powered lawnmower” in 2016.

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Safety is Required!

OSHA and State(s) require safety plans and regular safety meetings, generally 1 meeting every 10 working days or once a month depending on industry. These are great opportunities to help set your company’s culture with an emphasis on safety. One way to support your focus on safety is to create a simple reward plan for following safety policies that result in zero injuries. Part of promoting safety is to keep everything together and organized.

The Reward Program

A safety incentive program should include everybody, from the back office to the field. The program reward can be something everyone gets, such as a lottery scratcher ticket. Every month, when there are no injuries, everyone on the team gets the reward. It may seem like a simple reward, but companies that have implemented a program like this have seen solid results. Some employees actually get upset when they don’t get their incentive reward—they are vocal with others to ensure the safe record. Obtaining this buy-in from your people will help automate accountability and profitability. Teams that have a vested interest toward a common goal will often self-police to ensure everyone is on the same page.

If you want to keep your team more engaged with safety, consider a slightly more elaborate and fun way to keep people involved. A friend of mine uses Safety Bingo to promote safety. Every month, each crew member is given a safety bingo card (you can get a free bingo card template here) At the end of each work week all crew members are given the bingo number or word. At the end of the month, the person that gets safety bingo gets a $100 tool. You would be surprised at how proud of a new quality tool some people can be. It’s a small price to pay to promote a safe work environment. The alternative of increased insurance rates and potential business loss is likely more expensive in more ways than one. One safety issue can send a project into a dizzying financial tailspin and damage your company reputation.

Be Creative

There are plenty of ways to be creative and effective with your safety incentive program.  Create a program with rewards that suite your company culture. Rewards don’t always have to be monetary, they could include special recognition for safety contributions.

The bottom line is that when everyone in the company in mindful of safety, everyone benefits. Safety mindfulness as part of a healthy business culture influences all aspects of operations, including the bottom line.