Making Safety Personal
November 3, 2015
By Troy Ogden
Safety at Brasfield & Gorrie isn’t a self-serving bureaucracy in search of more rules for everyone to follow. Safety matters because our people matter, so we believe that safety should happen with rather than at our team members.
In order to create this type of environment, we must make safety personal. When safety becomes personal and employees take ownership of the process, they more proactively look out for themselves and their coworkers.
With this in mind, we strive to foster employee engagement and ownership in numerous ways, including our new crew work plan. A comprehensive safety and production tool that incorporates human performance principles and builds in learning from the previous day, our crew work plan focuses on increasing employee engagement by asking a set of questions that are not specifically hazard related. Our teams start the day by asking:
- What has changed that will impact our work today?
- What did we learn during our last shift that can help us be more productive and safe today?
These questions help employees take ownership of the process and actively participate in creating safety plans.
In addition, we have also implemented a program to engage new hires, who are typically less likely to speak up than more seasoned employees. For the first 90 days of employment, all new hires are identified with a high-visibility hard hat decal and assigned a coach. A seasoned employee, the coach is responsible for making sure the new employee is asking questions and fully understands the work.
We’ve seen promising results from these programs, underscoring our belief in the importance of making safety personal.
We also emphasized the importance of making safety personal through our Safety Week 2015 initiatives, which were focused around the theme, “You See It, You Own It, You Share It.” As part of our observation of Safety Week, employees participated in a variety of activities that fostered a sense of personal connection to safety.
For instance, many jobsites encouraged employees to post pictures to a display board demonstrating why they work safely. Many shared photos of family members, pets, and friends, driving home the personal impact safety has on each individual—the personal connections that would be impacted if a worker were injured.
On other construction sites, mirrors were placed at jobsite trailers with the message, “Meet the Person Most Responsible for Your Safety,” reminding employees of their ownership of safety efforts.
In addition, all Brasfield & Gorrie employees received construction activity books to share with children, relatives, or friends. The books featured activities to help introduce safety to children and foster safety conversations, reinforcing the personal connection.
In the end, safety is always personal. When an employee is impacted by an accident or injury, the effects can’t be left at work. Our goal is to ensure that employees embrace the personal nature of safety before accidents and injuries occur, joining with us to create an effective and lasting culture of safety.