This week marks the return of Safe and Sound Week, a nationwide event held each August by OSHA (Occupational Safety Hazard Association) to encourage businesses across the country to pay special attention to health and safety issues in the workplace, and take steps towards promoting greater awareness. Over 2,000 companies have already registered for the event, which runs until Friday.
Safe and Sound Week is particularly important to the construction industry, which is among the most prone to workplace accidents. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that construction industry fatalities made up 20% of all private industry workplace fatalities in 2017, the most recent year with published data. Falls, being struck by an object, electrocution and crushing/pinning comprised nearly 60% of construction industry deaths in particular, making the ability to understand, identify, and solve potential hazards promptly an essential skill for any construction manager. If you’re not already on board, read more about the initiative and jump in today, or start getting ideas for next year!
Throughout the week, OSHA is hosting online info sessions and webinars to help spread important information on workplace safety. Programs include: free access to Worker Protection Standard Programs (“required for all establishments involved in growing; producing; or maintaining for sale agricultural plants”), classes on how to effectively implement a Mask Fit Testing Program, and webinars on working safely in the heat. These sessions are accessible nationwide.
OSHA emphasizes how education and training are crucial to progress in the realm of workplace safety. If you’re skeptical, check the numbers. Adherence to OSHA guidelines has proven to be successful, with American workplace deaths on average down from 38 to 14 a day since 1970, and workplace injuries down from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers to 2.8 per 100 since 1972. Become a part of the Safe and Sound Week movement and help get these numbers down to zero.
A Challenge to Managers
In addition to creating teachable moments, OSHA is asking managers to take real-world actions to improve workplace safety. The challenge is simple: pick any three of the following safety-conscious actions and follow through with them this week.
1. Make safety part of your daily conversation.
2. Walk the floor to identify hazards.
3. Host a short safety meeting.
4. Request a no-cost and confidential OSHA consultation.
5. Write a company newsletter/article about your commitment to safety.
6. Make a video on safety.
7. Set safety and health program goals.
8. Spot workers who meet or exceed safety and health goals.
9. Allocate additional resources towards safety and health programs.
10. Find or become a safety mentor.
11. Post a flyer or poster about safety in the workplace.
12. Establish or update a written safety or health policy.
13. Review and modify your business procedures to ensure they consider safety and health.
14. Tell businesses you work with about your commitment to safety and health.
15. Send an email blast with a key message about your commitment to safety and health.
Alternatively, supervisors with the creative spark should feel free to come up with and implement any actions of their own choosing!
For those inspired by the sentiment of Safe and Sound Week, OSHA has an easily accessible publication page where you can download insightful resources on workplace safety, many of which are specifically tailored to construction industry work. These documents are an excellent place to start if you are new to OSHA compliance or want dive deeper on specific elements of workplace safety.
If you know your way around a computer, OSHA has even created a videogame that can instruct managers to identify and correct safety hazards in the workplace. This interactive tool is a great way to both develop and practice your hazard-identifying skills while learning how preemptive safety measure can save your business in the long run. Accidents can be costly; you’ll be surprised by how much a small investment in workplace safety can affect your bottom line.
Want to learn more about workplace safety? Check out our blog on the AIHA’s Top Four Construction Health Hazards, or head over to IronPlanet.com where you can find heating and cooling equipment, tents, and medical supplies for sale.