Holland Construction Services recently celebrated One million consecutive hours without a lost time accident. The streak, which spans six years and work across dozens of sites throughout the St. Louis and Metro East regions, has been managed under the watchful eye of Holland’s Safety Director, Doug Devlin. Doug recently shared some of the keys to Holland's stellar safety record and at the center of his philosophy is creating a culture of safety and communication that is embodied by all Holland Team Members and subcontractors.
Open Communication with Employees
One of the most important parts of creating a culture of safety is having open and active communication between everyone on the job site. This means supervisors providing regular feedback to all team members and encouraging everyone to speak up if they see something that may be unsafe or could lead to an accident or injury. “The first thing we do is empower the boots on the ground and let everyone know that they have just as much right to run a safe job site as the Safety Director, Project Executive, Project Manager, or anyone else,” Devlin said. “Anyone who steps foot on our job site, primarily laborers and carpenters, knows that they have the authority to immediately stop work if a safety issue needs to be enforced.”
Open communication also involves providing clear instructions about specific job duties and expectations so that everyone understands how their roles and responsibilities coincide and complement safety standards.
Promote Safety Education
Another way to create a culture of safety is by promoting safety education among team members. This includes providing training on topics such as proper lifting techniques, working safely at heights, using power tools, operating heavy machinery, and understanding potential hazards around the construction site. It is also important for employers to set up regular inspections of the site to ensure that any hazardous conditions are identified quickly and addressed promptly. “We work with some of the heaviest machinery of any occupation, there are a million things to trip on and several tasks happening simultaneously, so we need to constantly be notifying our team what’s happening around them and providing training on how to steer clear of hazards,” said Devlin.
Get Buy-in From Everyone
Finally, getting buy-in from all stakeholders is essential for creating a culture of safety on construction sites. "I build relationships with everyone from the Laborers on the job site, to the Foreman, to the President of the subcontractors we work with. When everyone has a 'safety-first' mindset, we will reduce the potential for accidents and the near misses will be immediately addressed." said Devlin.
Having a culture of safety on construction sites is essential for keeping employees safe and ensuring projects stay within budget and timeline expectations. Construction Management firms have several tools at their disposal when it comes to developing a culture of Safety, but the most valuable tool we have at our disposal is our ability to proactively communicate with everyone on our team and on the job site.