They've always been there… on the walls of office trailers, lunchrooms, and other jobsite facilities across the construction industry. They offer sage advice and stern warnings. Some are quite engaging, whereas others are somewhat obvious. They might bear the logo of some governmental agency or that of the project’s owners, or sometimes the construction contractor.
PCL’s Industrial Safety program uses
eye-catching graphics to communicate
important safety information in a new
Intervening is a step in creating a safety
culture where it is the norm to look out
for one another.
They are, of course, safety posters. But their widespread use shouldn’t distract from their importance in promoting safe behavior.
“Posters have existed in some form or another and for a multitude of purposes for centuries,” said Jamie Feuffel, operations manager for PCL Industrial. “The medium evolved from broadsides (single sheets of paper generally produced about news, events, decrees, public meetings, causes, or to sell products) to lithographs (a multicolored mix of text and imagery similar to modern-day posters) according to the aim of the poster. Safety didn't become a common theme until the early twentieth century.”
Recently, PCL put together a campaign of posters and on-site signage that draw the eye and impart information in a new way. Learning from the lessons of history, PCL’s focus is on creating art and information that could have a real effect on what employees see.
Winter is Coming
The first poster of the campaign—Winter is Coming—is inspired by the very popular Game of Thrones series on HBO and brings attention to the risks associated with prolonged exposure to the cold, as well as the steps that can be taken to minimize the dangers of cold temperatures.
“We’re trying to revolutionize how we approach safety posters for construction sites,” said Feuffel. “Safety is the first concern on any PCL jobsite, so we do what we can to support the promotion of safety. Our first effort features a nod to popular culture, which struck a chord with the men and women on our jobsites.”
The second poster of the series—Intervene—takes its cue from the history of poster art. While obviously an eye-catching piece, the poster is meant to promote PCL’s aim of creating a safety culture focused on behaviors, personal accountability, and visible leadership.
“Improving safety culture involves everyone aligning their commitment to improving safety, but the improvements are made one intervention at a time,” said Chris McCullough, health, safety, and environment program development supervisor. “A great intervention motivates the individual who receives the intervention in such a way that they choose to change their future behavior on their own, even when nobody else is watching.”
Safety is a mindset that doesn’t just happen; it is a cultural attribute that is developed over time. PCL’s poster campaign is just a part of a larger effort to develop a culture aimed at ensuring that each employee returns home safe at the end of the day.