Contractors, project managers, and construction companies alike must always be mindful of safety procedures and training processes. They must also provide workers with the appropriate education and resources to ensure safety and compliance at the jobsite. With that being said, practicing the most effective safety procedures goes beyond training seminars, identifying hazards, and ensuring your workforce is wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE).
Although these are all important areas of safety, contractors should never overlook the significant impact that social psychology has on safety practices and their workforce’s performance. In fact, while it may seem like workplace injuries are the result of an unsafe working environment, the vast majority of accidents are actually triggered by unsafe behavior.
In this four-part series, a Tampa construction lawyer will delve into seven destructive ways that a jobsite’s safety can be at risk because the leadership and workforce had the wrong mental or philosophical approach towards facing safety risks. Remember, for assistance with a safety audit or to challenge an infraction received by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Tampa construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law are standing by.
The Father of Social Psychology
In the 1940’s, German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin developed the theory of “group dynamics.” The concept is that when a group of individuals is assembled, each member of the group presents a distinct role and behavior within this group. The individual’s role can positively or negatively impact the group as a whole. For example, a positive group dynamic has trust, collaboration, communication, and accountability. A negative group dynamic has poor leadership, disruptive behavior, indecision, and misjudgment. Naturally, these groups are generally ineffective.
Just like a “chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” under Lewin’s theory, the true goal of a successful group dynamic is to develop a unified system where individuals are working together to create a stronger unit. This philosophy can easily be adopted by the construction industry as trust, collaboration, and communication are vital components to successfully completing projects.
How Group Dynamics Impact Jobsite Safety
A construction project features a group of workers that are impacted by a changing set of circumstances and are presented with a consistent flow of new challenges and risks. Social philosophies and approaches to projects can either mitigate or increase safety risks.
In the following sections, Tampa construction attorneys will discuss how the following philosophies can compromise the safety of a jobsite including:
- In Part Two, we will discuss when crews either become complacent or workers refuse to be part of the collective team.
- In Part Three, we will explain how overly authoritative leaders can create a negative safety culture. We will also discuss the problems with a reactive approach towards safety objectives.
- In Part Four, we will discuss three practical reasons why accidents occur on the jobsite: when workers compromise safety and rush to meet a deadline, breakdown because they are exhausted or overworked, or lack training and don’t have the right resources to succeed.
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.