Hewitt RobertsAudit software, Behavior based safety, Certainty software, Construction safety, EHS Software, Enterprise software, Inspection management, Safety audits, Safety data, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


In this blog – our 7th in this series – we’ll be looking at safety in the construction industry. Construction is one of the most danger-prone industries there is – responsible for approximately 1 in 5 workplace fatalities. How can construction companies successfully create a safety program and achieve buy in? We’ve spoken with industry professionals Steve Mellard, National Safety Director at Anning Johnson and Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson to get an insider look into how to manage safety in the construction industry.

Construction Safety & Technology

Technology has had a huge impact on the construction industry. From design to scheduling and everything in between, technology has truly revolutionized construction as we know it. One area that has also undergone a huge technological upgrade is safety in construction. The construction industry remains the most dangerous industry in the world. Each day, on average, two construction workers die of work-related injuries in the United States. A total of one in five workplace fatalities are construction-related. Technology has enabled more efficient safety training, audits, incident reporting, personal safety equipment, and more, to make the job site safer for everyone. But having technology available is only one part of the equation.

Today we’ll look at how technology has changed construction safety and how you can leverage technology to create a safer work environment. As always, we’ll hear from safety experts and get their top tips.

 Use Technology To Collect and Report Safety Information

Steve Mellard, National Safety Director at Anning Johnson, says that a big part of a successful construction safety program is collecting the information and sharing it with all stakeholders. Technology has made this much easier.

The ability to look at overall trends and create custom reports for all districts, divisions and trades is a huge advantage. Sharing these numbers and facts with management, on-site supervision, and field personnel can have a very positive effect on the overall success of the safety program. [You can learn about how Certainty Software helps organizations collect and share data here!]

Certainty Job Site Safety Metrics Dashboard

Use Technology To Work in Real Time

Traditional reporting methods involve paper trails and long delays. Technology has enabled real-time reporting and safety stats to be accessible at the touch of a button. This helps to address compliance and training issues much faster – leading to a safer work environment.

Use Technology To Gather Offline Data As Well

Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson, points out that while technology is extremely beneficial for streamlining processes and procedures, not everyone on the job site will have access to it. Some workers will still rely on paper, analogue devices, or older systems that aren’t integrated. Furthermore, some remote work environments won’t have an internet or cellular signal. This mix of paper and electronics needs to be accounted for when you’re considering how to use technology to boost safety on the jobsite.

When you’re considering implementing technology in your safety management program, be sure to find a solution that is designed to work with the unique demands of the construction industry.

Safety Technology Advancements of the Future

While the construction industry has come quite far, there are a lot of advancements that we can look forward to as an industry. Here is what we can expect:

  • Wider use of drones for site surveying, inspection, and worker monitoring
  • Virtual reality will expose workers to more realistic safety training simulations
  • Wearable technology and smart clothing that can monitor vital signs, encourage better posture and detect potential intoxication
  • Autonomous or remotely controlled heavy equipment that allows separation of the operator
  • Sensors that can monitor things like temperature, noise, dust and chemicals to limit harmful exposure for workers

In this series we’ve looked at how you can improve worker safety on your construction site. We’ve seen that when planning a construction safety management program, there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind – including leadership, employee buy-in, and technology. Safety in the workplace is truly in the best interests of employees and employers alike. Do you have questions about how to create an effective safety management program? We can help with Certainty Software.

Used by more than 100,000 professionals to complete over 2,000,000 audits and inspections annually, Certainty Software by Certainty Software, Inc. is a flexible, powerful and trusted enterprise-level audit and inspection management solution. We’re trusted by some of the world’s biggest construction companies to help manage workplace safety. Find out more and start a free trial today!

In the next blog in our series on construction safety, we’ll discuss the most significant construction safety issues in the next 5 years.

Stay tuned!

Other blogs in this series you may be interested in:

4 Considerations When Improving Safety In The Construction Industry

What Must A Construction Safety Program Include To Be Effective?

How Leadership Style Affects Safety Performance in Construction

Boosting Employee Buy-In To Your Safety Culture and Construction Safety Program

7 Significant Safety Issues Facing The Construction Industry

#1 Safety Issue In Construction As Told By Top Safety Management Industry Leaders

Alex EckartBehavior based safety, Certainty software, Construction safety, EHS Software, Enterprise software, Inspection management, Safety data, Safety inspection, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


In this blog series we are exploring some of the questions, benefits, misconceptions, and methods of Behavioral Based Safety Programs (BBS). We have spoken with industry professionals Joseph Braun, EHS Manager at Ferrara Candy Company; John Peoples, Global EHS Manager at Huntsman Corporation; and Chad Rasmussen, EHS Manager at Cardinal Health to get an insider look on how to manage an effective Behavior Based Safety management program.

BBS Business Intelligence Dashboard

BBS Business Intelligence Dashboard

The most rigid and comprehensive safety inspection is useless if you do not have the data to show it is being followed 100% and that it is yielding positive results. It can be easy to get caught up in going through the motions of any safety program, routinely following the guidelines without being able to see the big picture – the reason why any of this routine is important. Safety metrics with key leading indicators can support your front line defense against workplace dangers. This kind of data can not only be used for analytical or insurance purposes, but can contribute to the overall safety of a workplace by providing peace of mind in displaying that everyone is dedicated to their personal safety and the safety of their coworkers.

Behavior Based Safety Is only as Effective if you have Participation

The benefits of a BBS program are self-perpetuating – as more people participate in the program, more people become confident in the decisions they themselves and their peers are making to ensure everyone’s safety. As decisions about safety move into the forefront of employee’s mind during daily routines, and more people are becoming aware – and demonstrating – positive actions and attitudes towards safety, the safety culture of your establishment will grow. As Joseph Braun, EHS Manager at Ferrara Candy Company says “The best measure of the performance is the participation by the hourly employees, if they are completing the observations it shows that the culture has truly evolved into a safety-first culture.”

Behavior Based Safety Looks at the Leading Indicators

Safety is about preventing accidents and injuries in the workplace – if you are only implementing protective measures after an incident has occurred, you have already lost the safety game. Solely relying on data from accidents, injuries, deaths – preventable incidents – defeats the purpose of a safety program altogether. Chad Rasmussen, EHS Manager at Cardinal Health puts it “Injury numbers are lagging indicators, so I try to avoid using them wherever possible. Even if people are going through the motions of a behavior based observation, it still has the positive effect of getting people to think about safety and knowing that people are watching them. There are few secrets on a production floor.” A well-designed BBS program aims to recognize trends before they result in an injury or incident.

Data is all About Utilization

Once your program has been in practice for long enough, you will start to accumulate enough data to make some meaningful decisions and evaluations about the safety of your workplace. You can look at several key metrics to determine how well your program is protecting the safety of your employees, but the most important metric might be participation. John Peoples, Global EHS Manager at Huntsman Corporation says about safety metrics “We use the information collected to communicate how engaged managers and supervisors are in the safety program. The metrics are the number of observations per person as per the agreed program.” If your data shows a lack of participation and buy-in from your employees, you will need to figure out how to address that. Participation is the first factor you have to address before you can address any other factors – without a wide enough scope and large enough data set, it can be hard to address the root safety concerns withing your company that lead to incidents.

An effective BBS safety program effectively utilizes the tools available to them. Efficiently generating reports off the most relevant data is critical to improving the safety of an organization through Behavior Based Observation.

Check out previous blogs in this series and stay tuned for more!

Why You Should Include Behavior Based Safety in your Safety Management Program

Hewitt RobertsBehavior based safety, Certainty software, Construction safety, EHS Software, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


In this blog series we’ll be looking at safety in the construction industry. Construction is one of the most danger-prone industries there is – responsible for approximately 1 in 5 workplace fatalities. How can construction companies successfully create a safety program and achieve buy in? We’ve spoken with industry professionals Steve Mellard, National Safety Director at Anning Johnson and Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson to get an insider look into how to manage safety in the construction industry.

According to OSHA nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the United States alone on any given day. With the many hazards present on a typical construction site, it’s no wonder the industry has a higher than average workplace fatality rate.

We’ve asked top safety management industry leaders how they manage safety and compliance on their worksites, and also posed the question: what do you think is the #1 safety issue in construction today?

Distracted Employees

Steve Mellard, National Safety Director at Anning Johnson, mentions distracted employees as being a key issue. Even employees who are well trained and qualified can contribute to incidents and injuries that are totally avoidable if they are focusing on issues other than the immediate task at hand. Due to the fast pace of life in general these days, the issue of a distracted workforce is certainly not limited to construction safety, but certainly has the potential to cause grave consequences given the many hazards of the work involved.

Trade Stacking 

Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson, points to trade stacking as an important safety issue. Trade stacking happens when multiple trades are scheduled to work in a single area or portion of the job site -and it usually happens when crews are rushing to get ahead.  The idea is, the more people, the more work can be done.

The problem is that trade stacking (and having a high concentration of workers in one area in general) can cause stress and distractions, which can lead workers to skip over safety aspects of their work – along with reducing the overall quality of work as well. This is all not conducive to a safety-first work environment but can happen all too often.

Personnel That Are Unqualified To Perform Their Tasks

Both Desire’e Ropel and Steve Mellard pointed to unqualified personnel as a top safety issue. It is always the employer’s obligation to educate and ensure that a safe work environment is created. Employers have more control over this when all workers on a job site are working for their company. However, in construction, other trades and contractors can also be on the job site. Employers should of course do their due diligence in making sure contractors are reputable and qualified, but with a lack of control over hiring and education, this can make achieving a safe work environment much more difficult.

Some of these contractors can just be plain dangerous to be around. Practices that are unsafe and not permitted in your work environment (for example leaving behind tools from a finished job) might just be how another company regularly conducts business. Their poor safety habits are now putting your workforce at risk. The hazards that come from unqualified staff can be difficult to manage when education and training is out of your organization’s hands.

In the next blog in our series on construction safety, we’ll discuss how technology has changed construction safety.

Stay tuned!

Other blogs in this series you may be interested in:

4 Considerations When Improving Safety In The Construction Industry

What Must A Construction Safety Program Include To Be Effective?

How Leadership Style Affects Safety Performance in Construction

Boosting Employee Buy-In To Your Safety Culture and Construction Safety Program

7 Significant Safety Issues Facing The Construction Industry

Alex EckartBehavior based safety, Certainty software, EHS Software, Enterprise software, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


In this blog series we will explore some of the questions, benefits, misconceptions, and methods of Behavioral Based Safety Programs (BBS). We have spoken with industry professionals Joseph Braun, EHS Manager at Ferrara Candy Company; John Peoples, Global EHS Manager at Huntsman Corporation; and Chad Rasmussen, EHS Manager at Cardinal Health to get an insider look on how to manage an effective Behavior Based Safety management program.

Including BBS in your safety management program

To some people the benefits of a Behavior Based Safety programs may seem elusive – how could you get concrete data from the common-place everyday actions and decisions of your employees? Should it just be assumed that resources be put towards preventative measures and protective equipment, tangible assets, where the value they bring to safety is more apparent? This kind of thinking overlooks the common factor that is universal to all workplace injuries – people.

A safety program that does not take special consideration of human attitudes, beliefs, ideas, and feelings towards safety is missing a huge piece of the safety pie. Behavioral Based Safety takes a holistic approach to safety – it looks at the big picture, the safety environment of a workplace, and unearths the root causes of potential hazards and unsafe behaviors. As Joseph Braun, EHS Manager at Ferrara Candy CO. puts it, “BBS helps to get a feel for what is really going on at the floor level. It provides data to make decisions on where to focus your safety programs and what areas are lacking”. A BBS program helps you identify exactly where those resources and tangible safety assets are most required.

A safety program that focuses only on unsafe behaviors and hazards associated with a job can undergo the unfortunate result of becoming reactionary, addressing dangers after they have already had a negative impact on your business and employees. This defeats the purpose of a safety program altogether. To truly increase the positive outlook on the safety environment of your business you will also need to focus on what works. What are the every-day actions of my employees that are guaranteeing their safety and the safety of their peers? As Chad Rasmussen, EHS Manager at Cardinal Health puts it “Not all hazards can be controlled by elimination or engineering. When employees need to be trusted to make decisions regarding their safety, the right choices need to be reinforced. People get complacent and don’t always notice positive outcomes when they become routine. At that point people start to knowingly or unknowingly start making riskier choices”. Identifying and positively reinforcing these actions is what an effective BBS program aims to do.

It may take time, but if planned extensively, followed rigidly, and executed efficiently, a BBS program can have a very positive impact on the environment of a workplace and the well-being of the employees. It empowers workers, as John Peoples, Global EHS Manager at Huntsman Corporation puts it, “it provides an opportunity to recognize and reinforce high standards and good practices displayed by our teams”. This high standard is the best possible outcome you can achieve from and effective BBS program. This high standard of safety will directly prevent workplace accidents and injuries before they can happen. It is not a reactionary approach, it is a proactive one that could even save lives.

Take some time to consider the benefits of a BBS program. As we have explored here, it can be effective in addressing some key areas that could be lacking from your safety program. Do you have trouble bringing your employees into the safety conversation? Do you want the confidence to trust your employees to make the right decisions? Do you want your employees to become Safety Leaders and take proactive steps towards a safer work environment? If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it is time to give Behavior Based Safety a second look.

Stay tuned for more blogs in this series!

Hewitt RobertsCertainty software, Construction safety, EHS Software, Inspection management, Safety audits, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


In this blog series we’ll be looking at safety in the construction industry. Construction is one of the most danger-prone industries there is – responsible for approximately 1 in 5 workplace fatalities. How can construction companies successfully create a safety program and achieve buy in? We’ve spoken with industry professionals Steve Mellard, National Safety Director at Anning Johnson and Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson to get an insider look into how to manage safety in the construction industry.Top 7 Construction Safety Issues

Previously in our construction safety series, we discussed ways to increase employee buy-in to your organization’s safety culture. In this post we’ll take a look at the top 7 safety issues currently facing the construction industry – and how you can overcome them.

1. Workers Need Proper Tools & Equipment

It can be surprisingly common for workers to start a job without proper tools and equipment, particularly if they are quickly switching between tasks. Your organization’s safety program should emphasize that workers should never start any job (no matter how small) without all of the required tools and safety equipment – accidents only take seconds to happen.

2. Continuous Safety Training is Necessary

Laws and policies surrounding safety in the workplace are constantly changing, and a number of factors can change safety policies – including new laws and standards, incidents, new equipment and new projects. This means that safety training is not a one time thing! Conducting regular safety training to teach new safety practices, as well as to reinforce old ones, is crucial to a successful safety management program.

3. Tracking For Compliance

While your organization may have a robust safety program in place, it won’t be fully effective if proper tracking for compliance is not implemented. Your organization needs a centralized system to ensure procedures are being followed. (If you’re looking for a solution to manage and report business risk, compliance, and performance metrics easily, Certainty Software is here to help!)

4. The Safety Practices of Contracted Organizations

Working on a large construction project can often mean that general contractors and sub-contractors are also sharing the job site. Safety issues can arise if those companies have less than desirable safety cultures. Management should ensure that any contractors present on the job site are abiding by the organizations safety rules and procedures, as well as following company policy on tracking for compliance (see #3 above).

5. Prioritizing Safety, Along with Schedule and Budget

Being on-schedule and on-budget are the bottom line of any construction business. Before standardized safety regulations, many workers were constantly put at risk due to an emphasis on speed and budget. However, these days it’s known that a healthy workforce is also a cost-effective workforce. The total cost of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the construction industry is estimated at nearly $13 billion annually. Safety needs to be considered as an equal to schedule and budget.

6. Having an Aging Workforce

Most studies suggest that injuries are less frequent but more severe among older construction workers. Data shows that worker compensation costs increase with the age of workers, in part due to greater lost work time per incident. Organizations can mitigate this risk by adapting the workplace to fit the needs of older workers. This can be done by using lighter tools and materials as well as emphasizing ergonomic working practices.

7. Poor Habits and Resistance to Change

Poor habits from previous work places can be difficult to shake. This may be especially present in new employees who haven’t yet adjusted to your safety culture. Very experienced workers can also be resistant to change and may think “we’ve done it this way for 20 years, why does it need to change now?” Continuously reinforcing the safety program, and offering rewards for change will help make sure all workers are on the same page when it comes to safety.

In the next blog in our series on construction safety, we’ll discuss the #1 safety issue in construction as told by top safety management leaders.

Stay tuned!

Other blogs in this series you may be interested in:

4 Considerations When Improving Safety In The Construction Industry

What Must A Construction Safety Program Include To Be Effective?

How Leadership Style Affects Safety Performance in Construction

Boosting Employee Buy-In To Your Safety Culture and Construction Safety Program

Maya NikolovskiBehavior based safety, Certainty software, Construction safety, EHS Software, Enterprise software, Safety audits, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


In this blog series we’ll be looking at safety in the construction industry. Construction is one of the most danger-prone industries there is – responsible for approximately 1 in 5 workplace fatalities. How can construction companies successfully create a safety program and achieve buy in? We’ve spoken with industry professionals Steve Mellard, National Safety Director at Anning Johnson and Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson to get an insider look into how to manage safety in the construction industry.

Construction safety leadership

Previously, we discussed the elements that a construction safety program needs to be effective, and safety leadership came out as one of the top factors that will determine the effectiveness of a safety effort.

Ensuring safety in the construction industry is vital for both employees and the public. But implementing a successful safety performance program involves many moving parts, and a constant commitment from the entire company. This is why one of the most important components of a construction safety management program is arguably leadership.

The Importance of Fostering a Safety Climate

Safety on the job site is not just the responsibility of the safety manager. One of the most important things that leadership can bring about is widespread cultural change around the topic of safety. Steve Mellard, the National Safety Director at Anning Johnson, points to the importance of discouraging a “safety cop”. Viewing a safety manager as the only person in charge of safety makes it almost impossible to get employees to buy in. Mellard recommends avoiding authoritarian-style safety leadership, and instead promoting a leadership style that values speaking to employees using their own terminology and referencing past experiences in the field.

This has implications for hiring in leadership positions. Mellar recommends hiring safety managers based not only on their degrees, but also on their experience in construction and their ability to relate to employees and the demands of the job.

Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson also points to the importance of leadership being seen as a safety resource. Leadership needs to be level-headed, keep their composure and be approachable in order for them to be truly successful at their jobs.

Foundations for Safety Leadership

What are the actual characteristics of successful safety leadership? The CPWR – Center for Construction Research & Training has advised that there are 5 Skills and Actions for an Effective Safety Leader:

  1. Leads by Example: A good safety leader will “walk the talk”, demonstrate a positive attitude about safety and establish safety expectations as a core value.
  2. Engages and Empowers Team Members: Team members should be encouraged and empowered to report hazards and safety concerns, and good leaders should be proactive with providing solutions, reporting near misses and stopping work if necessary to maintain safety standards.
  3. Actively Listens and Practices 3-way Communication: A good leader will be an active listener and truly seek to hear what team members are saying. They will practice 3-way communication by having the person repeat back the message they heard.
  4. Develops Team Members Through Teaching, Coaching and Feedback: Leaders should respectfully teach and coach workers, making sure to watch workers perform the proper safe behavior. Leaders should also focus on potential consequences rather than on the individual team member themselves.
  5. Recognizes Team Members For A Job Well Done: Whether publicly or privately, team members should be given recognition when it comes to safety.

Looking to boost your team’s safety leadership? The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) offers free materials to help train better safety management leaders.

In the next blog in our series on construction safety, we’ll cover how to improve employee buy-in & participation in your safety management program

Stay tuned!

Other blogs in this series:

4 Considerations When Improving Safety In The Construction Industry

What Must A Construction Safety Program Include To Be Effective?

Alex EckartCOVID-19 Checklist, Safety audits, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observationLeave a Comment


A Job Hazard Analysis, or JHA, is the analysis of a job and its component tasks, the hazards associated with those tasks, and the preventative measures required to minimize those hazards. Typically, a JHA will also include a Risk Assessment, a professional assessment to determine the severity and likelihood of any risks associated with the job/component tasks. These Risk Assessments rely on a combination of the experience of the safety official, as well as any internal or legally governing guidelines to assess – often by law – the overall seriousness, severity, and probably of a risk. Given the risks associated with COVID-19 in the workplace, this global pandemic has, of course, impacted how we conduct JHA’s and assess risk. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Assess the physical aspects of the job – this is where exposure to COVID-19 occurs. Are all physical aspects completely necessary for the job? Is there a task, or tasks, that can be done remotely? Removing the physical presence of your employees may be all you need to eliminate the risk of infection.
  • It’s easy to narrow your focus on figuring out how to minimize the risks of the most frequently completed tasks, but the exposure to COVID-19 can happen in a single occurrence, and come from somewhere you may not expect. Make sure you address those non-routine jobs within your organization (and the outside people you bring in to do them such as maintenance, repairs, cleaning, auditing, etc.). You must minimize outside exposure to reduce the risk of infection.
  • A Risk Assessment may include a component where historical records are reviewed and analyzed to determine the best procedures to reduce or prevent risk. The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it hard to know what data is even relevant to the current situation. Re-evaluate your assessment processes and re-imagine your approach to safety – now is the time to innovate your approach to safety, because now we must.
  • Consider who within your organization is most at risk. Health authorities are telling us that elderly people are most at risk of experiencing harsher symptoms from COVID-19. Find a way to protect the workers who need protection.
  • Talk to workers – know their fears. The psychological effects of a global pandemic can induce stress, fear, uncertainty – all of which affect your employees’ mental health and their ability to make safe decisions and focus on the hazards at hand. Influencing the safety environment of your organization has an impact on the behaviors of your employees.

 

For more on how to assess your preparedness for COVID-19 and future pandemics, check out our COVID-19 Crisis/Pandemic Preparedness Checklist for Business here.

For more on how to manage your business during the COVID-19 (and other) pandemic(s), check out our COVID-19 Crisis/Pandemic Outbreak Management and Response Checklist here.

Hewitt RobertsCertainty software, COVID-19 Checklist, Featured, Inspection management, Safety inspection, Safety observationLeave a Comment


Let us help you re-open with this COVID-19 Re-opening Checklist for Businesses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought much of our world to a standstill. Offices, schools, businesses and borders have been closed and our economy has contracted to unprecedented levels.

We have all been affected and we are all desperate to re-open our businesses and re-start the economy. But to do that, each and every business will all need a plan and these plans will need to be flexible, regularly evaluated and changed where needed as we learn, as we adapt and as things slowly go back to a ‘new normal’.

Using a carefully considered procedure (checklist) and regularly assessing (and responding to) your plan will help make sure you have systematically addressed all aspects of re-opening (people, places, process, precautions, etc.) to ensure you:

  • Provide a safe work environment for your employees, customers, suppliers and all stakeholders;
  • Quickly identify and respond to issues identified during your initial and ongoing checks/assessments;
  • Get your business up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible; and,
  • Put in place the procedures and practices (checks/inspections) to keep your business open moving forward.

To help in this process, we have developed a checklist that we hope will help our clients, colleagues and anyone who needs it during this time.

The COVID-19 Re-opening Checklist for Businesses is a 65-question checklist to help a business prepare for and assess readiness to re-opening after the COVID-19 shut down. This checklist covers Pre-opening Planning; Infection Control Policies & Procedures; General Infection Control Measures; and Infection Control Measures for the Workplace and for Premises Open to the General Public.

Please feel free to download and use, amend or share this checklist if you wish and we of course welcome any feedback or suggestions to help improve this checklist overtime!

Stay safe!

Readers may also be interested in:

COVID-19 Crisis / Pandemic Preparedness Checklist for Business

COVID-19 Crisis / Pandemic Outbreak Management and Response Checklist

Alex EckartAudit software, Certainty software, COVID-19 Checklist, Inspection management, Safety audits, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observationLeave a Comment


Under OSHA and most other governing Health & Safety standards employers are responsible for providing a workplace free of recognizable hazards that may cause injury or death. The onset of the COVID-19 outbreak has the potential to expose people to new hazards and risks that haven’t since been recognized. It is important to adapt our typical approach to Job Safety Analysis to address this new invisible threat to our health and safety.

1. The first step of a JSA involves selecting the jobs to be analyzed. This might mean omitting less dangerous jobs from a complete analysis dude to practical constraints while prioritizing others. Are there jobs that now don’t need to be analyzed, because they can no longer be done? With the new threats caused by COVID-19, it’s important to reassess which jobs now have an increased severity and potential of exposure to hazards and allocating resources to address and prevent those hazards.

2. The next step you’d take in a typical JSA would be to break down the job into its component tasks so they can be analyzed. You should ask yourself, in this current environment are there tasks within that job that have a new potential for risk? Once the job has been broken down, look at rearranging those tasks to expose as few people as possible to those risks. You should look at reducing tasks that normally require many people, into tasks that only require one.

3. We then need to identify potential hazards. This step will vary depending on the job even though the risks associated with COVID-19 are universal. We not only need to recognize the severity of these new risks but also shine a light on every corner of the workplace to identify exactly where these new risks are present and where they are most dangerous – and who they are most dangerous to. Doing this will help you know exactly what plans to take and what equipment to secure in the next step.

4. For the last step of determining preventive measures, we can look to our government institutions and medical experts as they have laid out a series of guidelines on the practical measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The general practices that apply to all workplace environments include: Pre-screening and then regularly monitoring employees for symptoms, wearing a mask, social distancing, disinfecting and cleaning works spaces, and sending sick people home immediately. After ensuring these practices are followed closely, you should assess if there are any other preventative measures specific to the job and component tasks that can be applied to assure the safety of your employees.

For more on how to assess your preparedness for COVID-19 and future pandemics, check out our COVID-19 Crisis/Pandemic Preparedness Checklist for Business here.

For more on how to manage your business during the COVID-19 (and other) pandemic(s), check out our COVID-19 Crisis/Pandemic Outbreak Management and Response Checklist here.

Maya NikolovskiBehavior based safety, Construction safety, Inspection management, Safety audits, Safety data, Safety inspection, Safety management, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


In this blog series we’ll be looking at safety in the construction industry. Construction is one of the most danger-prone industries there is – responsible for approximately 1 in 5 workplace fatalities. How can construction companies successfully create a safety program and achieve buy in? We’ve spoken with industry professionals Steve Mellard, National Safety Director at Anning Johnson and Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson to get an insider look into how to manage safety in the construction industry.

Construction Safety

The construction industry is responsible for more workplace deaths than any other industry. This makes implementing a robust health and safety program extremely important. Not only is there a concern for the well being of employees – losing money is also a risk for companies who do not take their health and safety seriously. There is a large financial burden that is also at play: in the United States it has been estimated that employers pay nearly $1 billion per week for direct worker’s compensation costs alone, including workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses, and costs for legal services.

Successfully adopting a health and safety program can significantly ease these costs. For example, a study conducted in Ohio of small and medium enterprises showed that after a health and safety program was implemented to fit with OSHA standards the following benefits were accrued:

  • Claims decreased by 52%
  • Cost per claim decreased by 80%
  • Average time lost per claim decreased by 87%
  • Claims (per millions of dollar of payroll) decreased by 88%

But having a safety program in place isn’t enough. What must a construction safety program actually include to be truly effective?

A Safety Program Needs To Be Tailored to Your Company

A safety program that simply covers the basic OSHA standards and requirements will not be enough to be truly effective. The construction industry spans such a large number of activities that one type of policy cannot cover all of the needs of every organization. National Safety Director at Anning Johnson, Steve Mellard, encourages construction companies to create safety programs that are specifically tailored to the type of work they do. Only then can the program be truly effective.

A Safety Program Needs Employee Buy-In

Having an all-encompassing safety program is certainly important, but if this program isn’t followed or enforced, it has little meaning. Desire’e Ropel, Safety Manager at Hermanson points to the importance of buy-in from all employees. From the highest level of management to front-line employees, a safety program must have buy-in for it to be successful. Getting employees excited about change is not necessarily an easy task (and we will cover employee buy-in in an entire article as part of this series). Laying out the vision, managing resistance early, and offering rewards and incentives are important first steps to achieving company-wide buy-in of your company’s safety program.

A Safety Program Needs Strong Leadership

Going hand-in-hand with employee buy-in is having a strong leadership team to enforce the safety program. For the program to be successful, leadership must be fully committed to the safety program and lead by example. Leadership must also be prepared to enforce the safety program and nip any employee resistance in the bud.  This is a crucial ingredient in creating a safety-oriented work culture.

While implementing a successful safety program involves more than an employee handbook, it is the responsibility, and to the benefit, of every construction company to take these steps. And be sure to remember that aside from saving your company money, a safety program also comes with other benefits, including:

  • Improvements in quality and production
  • Increased employee morale
  • Gains in employee recruiting and retention
  • A more favorable image and reputation among customers, suppliers, and the community

In the next blog in our series on construction safety, we’ll cover how leadership style affects safety performance in construction. Stay tuned!