Some Observations of the current construction industry safety environment
- Lack of awareness and internalization of the safety risk – workers believe they are immune to accidents
- Hierarchical management – workers do what they’re told and only what they are told
- Lack of engagement of workers and site leaders in defining the risks and safety protocols
- Lack of meaningful communications of safety in day-to-day interaction (safety briefings are one-way and ineffective)
- Lack of an urgency to change or transform unless a major incident has happened
- Business as usual thinking
- Team not believing that safety is number 1 priority!
- Safety Officer is perceived as being responsible for safety
- Management and communication of safety is primarily focused on compliance; transactional safety processes and procedures e.g., poster campaigns, PPE compliance, method statements, safety walks, reports, one-way briefings
- Excessive focus on punishment and blaming the organization when an accident occurs
- Safety is considered a standalone piece and not fully integrated into the business strategies or any ESG frameworks.
- The priority of safety gets shifted when it competes with production, construction or cost.
- Safety is not shared as a value i.e., how things get done here; it is considered as one of the programs they implement
- In the comfort zone of living in a compliance culture and not a commitment culture
Co-creation of Safety Culture Program
We will work with a small team of key people to establish the current situation, by discussions and diagnostic questionnaires. Then we will design a strategic workshop to set the objective and strategic direction of the initiative. The program will be defined iteratively by learning the needs as the journey progresses top down.
Some principles in designing and implementing the Program:
- Top-down engagement
- Establish a small Sponsor Team (e.g., senior director, safety manager, frontline leader and identify change agents)
- Carry out a diagnostic baseline and understand themes from near misses or causes of incidents that have occurred
- Adopt a holistic, not piecemeal approach to design the Culture intervention. It will likely cover strategy, structure, processes, people and rewards
- Engage the site / frontline leaders, safety officers, frontline workers and RSS
- Observe how safety briefings, safety walks and audits are conducted for the hands-on data
- Show respect to the site leaders, ask and listen to their experience
- Discuss the priorities in safety, program, budget, resources, etc. with senior management
- Co-creation of the draft program, which will be iterated after the senior workshop
- Conduct focus groups to articulate GOOD and POOR safety behaviours relevant to the organization and culture
- Set the objectives, strategy, responsibilities, leadership involvement, ongoing monitoring, budget etc. at a Strategic Workshop
- Workshops will be interactive, with exercises and case studies in place of ppt presentations
- Help organization develop psychological safety to ensure everyone speak up on safety issues
- Review and discuss human factors in accident causation