Often, we overlook the obvious and operate on autopilot. We know the steps we have to take and see them as common sense. Think about the things we do or don’t do every day that seem like a no-brainer. We look both ways before crossing the street. We use potholders when taking something out of the oven. We put a seatbelt on when getting into a car. When we see something risky, we try to do something about it – either remove it or repair it. We move obstacles from stairwells and hallways, so people don’t trip. We wipe up spills so, no one slips. All seems like common sense. But we have all heard thousands of times that common sense isn’t so common.
These steps, these actions share something beyond common sense. They indicate ownership, responsibility, even leadership – truly leading by example and doing what is best for others. People see our actions, the things we do to protect others and ourselves. Nowhere is this truer than in the construction industry and on the jobsite. A lot can go wrong at a construction site, which is why construction companies put significant emphasis on safety – often hiring a Safety Leader to oversee all things safety. Meet Brian Dooley, LandSouth Construction’s new Safety Manager.
Brian brings a lifetime of appreciation for safety. Brian is a Certified Safety Professional, with a focus on mitigating risk and improving workplace productivity, all through continual training and adherence to the highest standard to prevent workplace hazards. Brian’s commitment to safety began with his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. According to Brian, it all starts with open communication and leadership engagement.
With great power, comes great responsibility. It’s more than a quote from Spiderman, it’s the true example and testament of leadership. Creating rules and regulations from the safety of an office is easy. Demonstrating a commitment to safety in person, while understanding what really happens at the jobsite is what separates the leaders from the bosses. Leaders earn the respect of their teams and lead by example, walking the walk. In return, their teams follow the safety rules and guidelines because they inherently know that the guidelines exist to protect them and others. They see their leaders in person, putting an emphasis on safety firsthand.
It seems like everyone in the construction field “knows” that safety is essential. The crew, project managers, superintendents – they all know what could potentially happen on the jobsite. They know the risks at hand and the necessary precautions to take to keep everyone safe. So why do accidents happen? It’s true that you can’t avoid all accidents, but many are preventable.
A lot of safety procedures and actions are seen as common sense. These are things that seem obvious. For construction it could include several of the following:
• Not leaving boards with nails lying around
• Installing guard rails to prevent falls
• Wearing bright, reflective clothing to be easily seen at low light times (dusk or dawn)
• Wearing a hard hat or steel-toed shoes to prevent injury
• Picking up trash and keeping the site clean
All of these seem sensible, almost no-brainers. People almost shouldn’t have to think about these. Honestly, it should come naturally as a form of self-preservation. Why is safety sometimes not taken more seriously by more people in the industry and on the jobsite? Unfortunately, complacency often sets in. And complacency is the single greatest threat to safety almost anywhere, and especially on a construction site. So, what can be done to battle complacency?
It all starts with expectations. And who sets those expectations? Leadership sets those expectations. It’s been said time and time again, the best way to lead is through example. Leaders must be seen practicing the safety rules they preach. When they walk past debris or fail to wear a hard hat, it sends an immediate message that rules don’t have to be followed. Even worse, and often more common, is when the leaders are never seen at the jobsite in the first place.
Presence, visibility, engagement, and attention all play a huge role in safety. When leaders demonstrate that they care enough to take the time to visit jobsites, check progress, and interact with the crews, it delivers volumes – for morale, efficiency, and especially safety. The rules to promote safety are put in place for a reason. They protect the people who matter most – those doing the work. When leaders are present and communicate with the people on the ground (or up on the scaffolding) it shows their commitment to protecting the people who make it all happen.
ABOUT LANDSOUTH CONSTRUCTION…BUILDING IDEAS
LandSouth Construction, the Southeast’s premier general contractor, specializing in multifamily, senior living, and mixed-use development, was named one of Engineering News Record’s Top 400. Since 1998, LandSouth has transformed ideas into best–in–class communities. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. LandSouth has completed more than 25,000 multifamily units. For more information, call LandSouth’s Marketing Coordinator, Kaley Robinson, (904) 760-3188, or visit www.landsouth.com