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News Jan. 31, 2023

What are the keys to creating an effective safety program?

The Associated General Contractors of America’s recent health and safety conference offered information about how to create an effective safety program. lists the following key takeaways.

  • Empower workers to speak up. In 2022, workplace injuries cost construction $13 billion. It is important you ensure all workers’ voices are heard and empower all members of the construction workforce to speak up. Speaker Shelley Scalzo Brown, corporate safety director for Bergelectric, Carlsbad, Calif., pointed to stop-work orders, which allow any worker to call for a pause on job-site progress for a safety issue. She also stressed the need to better understand where workers are and help them become secure with taking ownership of job-site safety.
  • Note the precursors for serious injuries and fatalities. When someone is hurt or killed on a job site, the next steps involve investigating what went wrong and making changes to prevent it from happening again. However, speaker Mike Dickerson, Dallas-based safety consultant for American Contractors Insurance Group, said it is important to identify potential dangers—such as worker fatigue, stress, lack of equipment or falling behind schedule—to determine when an accident could occur, and try to change your job-site culture to prevent those accidents.
  • Invest in diversity initiatives. In 2022, the share of women in construction grew to a record 14%, and there is a need to foster a better workforce for women. Less than three out of 100 craftworkers are women, which can make them feel they need to constantly battle to prove they belong. Tricia Kagerer, executive vice president for Jordan Foster Construction, Dallas, said diversity initiatives need to move beyond “a book on the shelf” and encouraged builders to create an environment where all workers believe they can speak up. When workers come forward, offer positive reassurance so they feel comfortable communicating with mentors or employers.


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