In this four-part article, St. Petersburg construction lawyers are discussing some of the primary reasons why accidents transpire on jobsites. Aside from performing risk assessments, training workers, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE), contractors need to understand other elements that lead to accidents. In parts one and two, we discussed the psychosocial approach to group dynamics and a few ways that the wrong mindset can impact the safety of a workplace. In this part and part four, we will continue to discuss a few destructive philosophies that can create serious safety problems at your jobsite.
3) Workers Aren’t Accountable
Many jobsites have a reactive approach to safety. In other words, unless an incident occurs, safety and risk assessment remains an afterthought. When it comes to assessing safety on a jobsite, the group will naturally “diffuse responsibility” when there is no proactive direction from management. This social behavior, referred to as the “Bystander Effect,” is when individuals assess risk much differently in a large group of people compared to when they are on their own. The concept is that people within a group are less apt to get involved with a situation if they perceive that other bystanders are also not getting involved. This can occur even if the situation is dire.
In construction, this psychosocial phenomenon can happen if those in leadership positions are not proactive. As a result, a large group of workers don’t feel as if they are part of the system and thus, won’t feel accountable to change the system. In order to avoid this, contractors need to take on a collaborative and solution-oriented approach to identify risks and unsafe behaviors. They can then systematically develop a pro-safety atmosphere that encourages everyone to get involved and be a proactive part of the overall system.
4) You Don’t Know How to Lead
Many workplaces have an authoritative figure that instills fear in their workforce. If workers are performing tasks in an unsafe manner, they will face strict discipline and punishment. In other words, the “strength” of the leadership mentality will force the “weak” worker to adopt safer practices and fall in line. This leadership mentality often results in an adverse effect on the workforce. Workers will not report accidents or potential hazards out of fear of punishment. Another issue is administering punishments consistently. Contractors must always be mindful of whether or not they are providing effective coaching and counseling to their workforce in regard to safety.
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.