By Matt Firestone

We hear time and time again about companies who are given awards for their safety performance. The awards come from various sources, associations, insurance companies, owners and so on.  These awards should be shared with employees and celebrated.

With higher demands on contractors and sub-contractors to not only perform and deliver on time, they must also be safe when doing their jobs. There are customers that require and demand zero tolerance and zero accidents on their projects.

These are good benchmarks that can be achieved. But what really is necessary to make this happen? How do we go about having an injury free work site and win safety awards?  There are many ideas on how to make this happen. At the end of the day, a safe work site can be pinpointed to a few things:

We all need to have good communication skills to get the safety message out. This includes managers communicating effectively what the job requires. Crew leaders need to communicate specific tasks to workers, and everyone needs to communicate with each other to ensure safety. The current phase is, “If you see something, say something.” This is important for all of us. Just because a person is not part of your crew, if you see someone doing something unsafe, say something. You may prevent an injury or something worse.

Safety has no competition. Pain and suffering are the same regardless of the craft. Employees and employers need to share experiences that may have caused someone to be injured, hospitalized or worse. People learn from past experiences. Sharing is a good way to remind workers of small things that lead to big things. Sharing builds trust and confidence among workers.

When someone brings up a safety concern, listen carefully. Maybe its just a complaint, or maybe it’s something that needs immediate attention. When we listen, we learn. There are many new tools and safer ways of getting the job done because someone listened.

Awards are nice, recognition is always appreciated, but we must all remember the first step. “If you see something, say something.” If we all watch out for one another, we will all go home the same way we came to the job site or school today and every day.