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Health and safety: How to ensure excellence and not just compliance



Health and safety: How to ensure excellence and not just compliance

When it comes to health and safety on construction sites, there’s a huge difference between compliance and excellence. But the differences aren’t always immediately obvious.

It’s a legal requirement for construction sites to comply with HSE standards. However, if you’re committed to achieving excellence, you need to bring every worker on your site onboard. Only by changing the way everybody thinks about health and safety – so that all workers take responsibility for their own and each other’s welfare – can you create and maintain an injury-free environment.

Read on for our tips to ensure that everyone on your site is committed to working together to achieve zero accidents.

Commit time and resources to educating and empowering your workforce to care

All construction companies have robust sets of safety procedures. However, recent HSE statistics demonstrate that having procedures in place doesn’t prevent accidents from happening. In fact, 3% of construction workers sustain a work-related injury each year. That translates to 65,000 workplace injuries and 35 fatalities in 2014/15.

The only way to make your procedures really effective is to change the culture around health and safety on your site. But where do you start?

Research shows that it’s the way that you deliver your safety message that counts, when it comes to making a difference to onsite safety.

For example, small changes to safety briefings can make them more accessible to every member of the team onsite. And speaking to each individual, one on one, is an incredibly effective way of making sure that they understand why safety is important. It’s about changing attitudes to ensure that everyone is committed to looking after not just themselves but each other.

This can be time intensive, as it involves really understanding who your workers are. However, it’s an incredibly effective way of ensuring that everyone on your site respects each other and has a safe working mentality.

Our Thumbs up on-site plant safety training sessions are designed to help you minimise risk on your site, preventing loss of life or serious injury as the result of accidents involving vehicles or mobile plant.

Don’t rely too heavily on documentation

When you’re preparing for an audit, there’s a natural tendency to think first about documentation. In other words, you want to demonstrate – on paper – that your site’s health and safety procedures are fully compliant.

However, an overreliance on documentation doesn’t necessarily support safe working. After all, if your team don’t respect each other, communicate effectively and take responsibility for onsite safety – it’s likely that your excellent principles aren’t being put into practice.

Ensure site presentations and inductions are interactive and engaging

If you’re investing time and effort in your site presentations, it’s clear that you’re committed to enforcing exceptional standards. However, if you merely present to your audience – and don’t spend time answering their questions and getting their feedback – there’s a danger that their safety commitment and knowledge won’t mirror yours.

Instead, you need to engage with your audience, whether they’re inductees or experienced operators. Take the time to ensure that your presentation and procedures are fully understood. That way, your team will be willing and – crucially – able to look out for themselves and each other, ensuring that everyone onsite gets home safely at the end of every day to the people they love.

Start talking and listening to make safety personal

It’s crucial that all workers onsite – from operatives to senior management – start recognising each other as individuals with a life outside of their job, and people who depend on them.

That way, taking responsibility becomes more than just complying with health and safety regulations; it becomes a way of life, where everyone is committed to getting each other safely back to that life outside work.

How do you start really seeing your co-workers like this? Simple! By talking and listening.

With everyone working towards the common goal of an injury-free environment, you’ll soon start seeing changing attitudes, and positive effects, across your site.

Empower every member of your team to work towards zero harm

Over the last 5 years, the construction industry has begun to realise that zero accidents – the ultimate goal – can’t be achieved purely by focusing on compliance. Momentum is building, attitudes are changing, and enthusiasm for achieving an injury-free construction environment is gaining ground. But really, we’re just at the start of a long journey.

The key to excellence is ensuring that everyone on your site respects each other and takes responsibility for their own actions. Ultimately, all workers need to care and look out for each other.

Our Thumbs up on-site plant safety training sessions are designed to help you minimise risk on your site, preventing loss of life or serious injury as the result of accidents involving vehicles or mobile plant.


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