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4 Barriers to Safety

When accidents occur on construction sites, the company faces significant losses, as do the employees involved and the worksite communities.

While every company should have a solid safety plan, there are barriers to making it work. Among those barriers are management barriers, cultural barriers, behavioral barriers and awareness barriers.

Management Barriers

Safety management identifies health and safety risks and implements procedures to reduce related incidents. This requires sound management for individuals, equipment and the environment.

Health and Safety management can sometimes be a neglected area. Contractors will limit their investment in safety due to time and monetary constraints. This can increase the frequency and intensity of construction site accidents.

Incorporate safety communications between managers and workers. Consider that there may be language, religion, and culture issues that prevent safety at the worksite. Lack of communication can lead to poor work quality, accidents and delays.

Offer training through management to prevent human errors and ensure workers can perform repetitive tasks safely. Display

a poster or issue a safety booklet. Make safety training mandatory.

Cultural Barriers

Culture represents how people live their lives and can determine how people appear at work. Culture includes creating work procedures, routines, and processes that should become the norm.

A set of criteria, beliefs, expectations and attitudes to the organization’s health and safety plan must be shared by all employees.

Create a culture of safety. Make this a priority among management. The project manager should set the example. Staff, too, is responsible for following procedures so that others will follow suit.

Share the perception of safety culture and stay on top of any shifts in that culture.

Whether you have foreign workers or under-served workers who may be afraid to point out a lack of safety, embrace those employees and let them know you expect them to step forward if there is a safety or health issue.

Behavioral Barriers

Construction is a dangerous industry, with regular accidents, worker injuries and death, work-related diseases and other serious losses.

Every individual must perform safety behaviors. Unsafe procedures and behaviors result in 80-90% of construction mishaps.

Safety knowledge can play a critical role in reducing unsafe conditions and accidents and improving employee behavior and safety. If a worker does not understand safety knowledge and basic construction specifications or does not want to understand, there is a greater chance they will act in an unsafe manner.

Awareness Barriers

Most construction workers have low safety awareness, which can negatively influence their coworkers and the organization as a whole.

Safety toolbox meetings, organized weekly or monthly, are one way to educate workers when they are all gathered. These meetings work to increase awareness and put safety first.

Consider incentives to get workers to comply with your company’s health and safety plan for a stronger, safer work environment.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.