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Safety, People and Choices

With Construction Safety Week, an industry-wide education and awareness event, upon us, it’s a good time to take a look at how we view safety. Here at NCCER, safety is at the core of what we do and is deeply embedded throughout all of NCCER Curricula, regardless of the craft.

Although I’m sure it’s always been there, a trend I’ve recently noticed is safety being about people — not about numbers — and keeping them safe. In a world where it’s easy to get caught up in the bottom line or insurance premiums, it’s heartening to see the human element at the focal point of safety measures. This focus makes safety part of our culture and mission statement, just like integrity, quality, credibility and other ingrained principles are included in our core values. It also provides an expectation that every employee conducts themselves safely because their lives are valuable to themselves, their families, coworkers and employer.

In the article, “The Innateness of Safety,” Jeff Hooper discusses the importance of making “safety on the jobsite become as innate as breathing.” Hooper was challenged to discover how to make safety a part of their culture and number one on his list of how to do so was safety had to start at the top. Without safety being inherent in the values of the company and leadership, it would be more challenging to have it become innate within the culture. In a recent webinar hosted by Procore, The Power of Safe Choices: Building a Safety Culture, it was mentioned that “building a safety culture means you need to engage the heart and the mind.” A connection between safety and culture means it’s not just about a checkmark on a list of processes but understanding the importance of keeping each other safe.

Safety is the empowerment found in making the right choice, for the right reason. The Construction Safety Week focus this year is on choices. From Construction Safety Week:

Every day, we are faced with choices: decisions, from the mundane to the major, that set the stage for safety. While some of those choices may be second nature, like buckling seat belts, double-checking harnesses or wearing the right gloves on the job, others require practice before becoming habit. We must empower ourselves and each other to choose safety, time and time again — when we head to work at the beginning of the day, while we’re on-site and until we arrive back home. Our choices have the power to ripple across the communities, cities and countries in which we live, work and play. Together, we can and we will create a safer, stronger industry for ourselves, our colleagues, our families and our friends.

For safety tips from industry experts, Toolbox Talks, events or to join the movement, visit constructionsafetyweek.com.

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