Although providing the right safety equipment, training, and mentorship is a great way to mitigate safety concerns, contractors should also consider the impact that their workforce’s philosophy towards safety can have on their surrounding environment. The irony is that many of the most common workplace injuries happen during minor tasks when workers overlook the risks associated with what they are doing as opposed to arguably more dangerous tasks that require the utmost attention to detail.
In the first part of this article, a Tampa construction lawyer discussed the importance of “group dynamics” at the jobsite and how developing a unified system that exhibits trust, collaboration, communication, and accountability ensures safety in your workplace. In this part, we will discuss how complacency and workers that are “not buying in” create accidents at the jobsite.
1) You Have Complacent Workers
In all facets of life, individuals behave irresponsibly because they have never experienced negative repercussions of that unsafe practice. Whether it’s as simple as not wearing a seatbelt or as complex as a highly dangerous construction task, the concept is that the individual is overlooking potential risks because they are used to performing this task a certain way without a negative outcome.
Herbert William Heinrichs’ safety theory details that for every 330 unsafe actions, only 29 result in minor injuries with one major injury. Workers performing unsafe actions will subconsciously reinforce unsafe behavior because they did not experience a negative outcome. However, in reality, if they continue to repeat this behavior over a longer period of time, their repeated unsafe behavior will eventually result in an accident.
In construction, many workers will observe other workers performing tasks in a certain way and follow suit. If the jobsite has not established a safety culture, the workers will perform tasks in an unsafe manner because they feel this is acceptable behavior. If a contractor is committed to safety and they approach their leadership role with the right tone, this philosophy will trickle down to every member of the crew and you can combat complacency.
2) Some Workers Don’t Buy In
With subcontractors, independent contractors, and other vendors coming and going, there can be challenges with everyone accepting and conforming to certain procedures at your workplace. This can make integrating the most effective safety practices even more challenging. When a worker deviates from the group’s philosophy towards safety (as they have their own way of doing things), this puts everyone else at the jobsite at risk.
With positive reinforcement in your work environment, workers can take a collective approach towards the most effective safety practices. This can help eliminate the “lone wolf” as this individual will be more apt to conform to the group’s behavior if everyone else is on board with the safety measures. Of course, without the right safety culture instilled in the group, more workers can become complacent towards safety practices once they observe others violating these policies.
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.