PCL Construction starts every New Year with a “Welcome Back” campaign during the first few days of the year to refocus employees’ attention on preventing injuries and illnesses. It’s an effective method of bringing worker protection back to the front of everyone’s thought processes after a sometimes prolonged vacation from work.
For the campaign, construction project workers gather together in an auditorium or conference room and senior managers deliver a presentation on topics aimed at increasing the safety awareness of everyone on a project. Key components addressed are the need for teamwork, pre-task safety planning, taking a “time out” to reassess critical tasks regarding safety, and doing what’s right.
Another key area covered is overcoming the high degree of risk tolerance that can persist after the holidays. In the campaign, we define “risk tolerance” as taking a risk even though we know there is a safer way. Risk tolerance is sometimes a product of insufficient experience that leads a construction worker to believe that “nothing can happen to me.”
The final component of the campaign is a review of our “Construction Smarts” and “Safety Absolutes.” “Construction Smarts” is a personal directive for employees to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others. The most important aspect of “Construction Smarts” training is the idea that safety is a PCL value in how we work. Because when we all value safety, it transcends other priorities that may surface. Managers cover other features of “Construction Smarts,” including being accountable for yourself, identifying and mitigating hazards, and verifying and understanding compliance requirements. PCL “Safety Absolutes” cover fall protection, safe rigging and lifting, the isolation of potential energy, safe driving, safety near heavy operating equipment, and excavation safety.
Our goal is clear as we start the New Year: construction workers need to get their head in the game for a safe 2015.