The innateness of safety
A culture of safety should be as innate as breathing
By Jeff Hooper
It was not long ago that I attended a safety forum at a military base. Several presenters discussed their safety programs, including successes and areas in need of improvement. One presentation really stood out in my mind when the presenter stated: “My goal is that safety on the jobsite becomes as innate as breathing. It becomes so ingrained in our DNA that we don’t have to think about it, we just do it.” Wow! I had never heard jobsite safety discussed like that before, “as innate as breathing.”
The discussion at the forum prompted me to ask myself how contractors can develop a culture of safety that is as innate as breathing. To make this happen, I believe the following five steps must take place:
- Company safety culture must start at the top.
- Safety culture must be reinforced through safety officers and demanded by foremen and superintendents.
- Safety policies and procedures must be updated and shared with all employees.
- Each morning, the jobsite must start with a safety moment.
- All jobsite workers must complete following safety training: OSHA 10/30, Competent Person Level Fall Protection, Confined Space and OSHA Focus Four.
This year our chapter will continue to focus on safety. We are blessed to have a vice president of safety and member services on staff. He provides most of the safety training, walks jobsites with members and helps our members create policy and procedure. Additionally, members of our safety committee are encouraged to bring a new employee who has no safety experience to each meeting. This provides them with the opportunity to learn directly from the best in the industry.
Zero fatalities should not just be a goal, but a passion of each employee. A culture of safety should be as innate as breathing.
About the Author
Jeff Hooper is the vice president of workforce development for the Inland Pacific Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in Spokane, Washington.
This article was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of NCCER’s The Cornerstone magazine (http://www.nccercornerstone.org/publications/publications-archive). This content has been republished with the permission of NCCER and the publisher.