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Date PostedDecember 26, 2013

Heading for a safety incident? Look out for the Warning Signs

There are a number of hazards associated with construction work and those responsible for a site’s safety need to ensure none of these hazards slip through the cracks. It is easy to become overwhelmed with safety when you consider the sheer quantity of hazards presented by work on a construction site but a systematic and consistent approach to safety issues can mean the difference between a safe site and an unsafe one.

Site safety is everyone’s responsibility, not only employers. By looking out for certain warning signs, employers and employees can avoid an incident before it occurs.

The first thing that usually signals a decline in safety standards is a drop in productivity. Unfortunately many employers incorrectly assume that safety comes at the cost of productivity but this could not be further from the truth. Safety in actual fact enhances productivity, when productivity drops – it may indicate a need for a review of safety standards as well as attention to productivity. This is usually because whenworkers begin to get injured, ill and stressed they will spend more time off work, it will become harder to meet deadlines and eventually productivity will be negatively affected on the site. Ultimately a drop in productivity on a site will result in a financial loss.So it is in everyone’s best interest to address this issue.

Another indication that you need to review your safety is when workers start showing or talking about dissatisfaction with their job. This is often due to them having to risk their health and safety for an employer who clearly does not care about their wellbeing as much as they should. Workers in this situation will most likely become unproductive or less productive and the entire site will suffer and the construction project will suffer.

Also workers will probably seek work elsewhere and the company will suffer from a high attrition rate. High attrition rates are costly because it means replacing, training and supervising new workers.

You start receiving fines and notices. If your business is constantly being issued fines because of safety breaches there is definitely something wrong, even one fine is too many. You need to review your safety procedures and perhaps retrain employees on site specific safety. Also be proactive, do not wait for an incident to occur before correcting work processes.

In my opinion the best way to look out for safety issues is not difficult and doesn’t take reading between the lines, the best and most straight forward way is… to listen to workers.

Employers must communicate effectively about safety to their workers as this will foster a culture of safety on site. Whenever these requirements are neglected or ignored, you will notice safety standards begin to drop and incidents begin to occur, usually starting small and culminating in an incident either resulting in serious injury or a fatality.

Employers need to develop a 2 way communication system, that means not only instructing workers on safety matters but listening to their opinions as well and taking what they say into consideration.

 

Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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