Accountability is essential for safety part 1

Accountability is essential for safety part 1

A while back, I conducted a class and discussed the importance of accountability in safety. I talked about the great examples of some local companies that set high expectations and hold people accountable. The example was that if you break a rule, like not wearing a piece of PPE, you go home that day. If you do it again, you go home permanently.

I quickly got push back. I was told by one company owner that for large corporations and organizations with ample resources, it can be done. This isn’t so easy for smaller companies. He pointed out to me that in this economy where there is ample work and a great shortage of skilled labor you can’t annoy your subs! He said that if you start making too many requirements, they will just move to another contractor for work and now he will be even more shorthanded than before.

This is a common argument. Many contractors feel stuck. They want higher standards and lower workers’ compensation premiums. However, they are afraid that they will lose highly valuable and needed skill labor if they enforce the rules.

My argument has always been, that you can’t afford to keep a crew that doesn’t work safely. Recently this came true when one crew had a series of unfortunate events resulting in equipment damage and hefty OSHA fines. When all the dust cleared, they were finally let go, but only after great expense.

Everyone involved in a project or jobsite should be held accountable for safety including:

  • Contractors
  • Safety personnel
  • Supervisors
  • Subcontractors
  • Workers

All persons should know their responsibilities when it comes to safety. Everyone is responsible for safety and must be held accountable.  Part 2 will consider how to maintain accountability.

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