Unfortunately, a number of erroneous beliefs about worksite safety are widespread in the construction industry.
Here are seven common safety myths – and why they don’t pass the reality check:
- Safety programs ensure worker safety. In practice, this means that binders on a variety of topics (usually regurgitated OSHA standards) end up gathering dust on a back shelf.
- Safety is common sense. Taking risk is a very personal matter. Some people skydive, others bungee jump; some race automobiles, others rock climb.
- Incentive programs improve safety. Because these programs usually reward not having a recordable incident, they benefit workers been lucky enough to avoid accidents – not to mention a natural tendency not to report injuries.
- Progressive punishment ensures safety compliance. The best punishment can do is achieve temporary compliance. Effective policing must be continuous and consistent, with clear consequences.
- Firing noncomplying workers solves safety problems. This is like trying to cure a disease by treating its symptom. Instead, find the error that led to unacceptable behavior and change it.
- Safety training is a leading safety indicator. The sign-in sheet shows only who attended the meeting. For training to work, managers need to test what individual workers learned – or didn’t learn.
- Inspections and audits will uncover most workplace hazards. Inspections provide snapshots of workplace conditions at a given time, rather than an accurate picture of ongoing operations or activities.
Every construction firm needs to evaluate its safety systems, practices, and procedures critically, challenge the status quo where needed – and take decisive action.
Our agency’s professionals would be happy to offer their advice at any time, free of charge.