Worksite Safety Is a Top-Down Process

Most safety programs found on construction sites focus on worker buy-in to accomplish safety objectives and create a safer work environment. The typical methods employed have been to train and re-train workers, provide incentives for achieving safety goals, develop disciplinary consequences for failure to comply and monitor the success or failure of the safety program by auditing worker performance. While this methodology provides some measure of success, ultimately, it will reach a point of diminishing returns.

This type of approach is “bottom-up.” In other words those with the least ability to make decisions that can affect outcomes are given the responsibility for the overall success of the system. For a safety program to function as planned, it must be managed properly. Managing requires the ability to plan and control the effective use of resources, assess risk and make decisions to eliminate or at least minimize that risk. These are “top-down” responsibilities, meaning they fall under the responsibility of those in management. Therefore, the success of any construction site safety program has to start with management buy-in and follow through to the workers.

Management buy-in has to be more than just lip service. Workers follow by example, not words. If management fails to carry out safety program requirements by allowing workers to take shortcuts to meet productivity quotas, they undermine the program at its very core. To create a safe work environment, safety procedures must become an inherent part of operations and workers must be required to follow them at all times, even if they might slow productivity.

The most important management figures in this scenario are foremen because they have direct oversight of work crews. The foreman has the authority to direct how work is performed and make necessary decisions to accommodate changes. They should be held responsible for ensuring that the work has been properly planned, a risk assessment has been conducted, and that only safe work practices are followed on the worksite.

There is often a breakdown in the adherence to safety on this level because newly promoted supervisors are not provided management training in directing work flow or managing change. They must be trained to meet the organization’s goals and objectives by managing performance. To manage performance, foremen need to learn how to establish objectives and create standards that will accomplish productivity goals without sacrificing safety. They also need to be trained in how to communicate these objectives to employees and provide motivation to comply. In this way, both management and workers will have clearly established expectations for which they can be held accountable.

The final component in the success of any safety program is the organization itself. It must provide the resources, knowledge, and tools to enable management and employees to be successful. It is this support that keeps the safety program from becoming a stand-alone incentive and rather integrates it into the overall operation, which is the best way to ensure its success.

Dog Bite Prevention

If you own a dog, you should be aware that it is not completely unlikely that your dog may bite. According to 2009 figures from the CDC, approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Of these bites, about one in five result in wounds that require medical attention. Furthermore, the property/casualty industry pays out hundreds of millions of dollars to satisfy dog bite claims each year. But you can take steps to make it less likely that your dog will bite.

Prior to bringing a dog into your household:

* Speak with a professional such as a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or a responsible breeder to find out which breeds of dogs are the best fit for your household.

* Dogs with aggressive natures are not appropriate for households with children.

* Pay attention to cues that a child is apprehensive about a dog. If a child seems fearful of dogs, wait before bringing a dog into your household.

* Before buying or adopting a dog, spend time with it. Exercise caution when bringing a dog into a household with an infant or toddler.

If you decide to adopt or purchase a dog:

* Spay or neuter your pet since this action reduces aggressive tendencies.

* Don’t ever leave young children or babies alone with a dog.

* Don’t play aggressively with your dog. Avoid wrestling or tug-of-war games.

* Teach your dog submissive behaviors such as rolling over to expose the abdomen, and giving up food without growling.

* Seek professional advice from a veterinarian or responsible breeder if the dog develops aggressive or other unwanted behaviors.

 Teach children special safety precautions to take around dogs:

* Children should not approach an unfamiliar dog

* Don’t run from a dog or scream

* If an unfamiliar dog approaches, remain motionless

* If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still

* Report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.

* Avoid making eye contact with a dog.

* Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

* If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

Be a responsible pet owner and protect yourself and others from dog bites, pain and suffering, as well as insurance claims!