‘No accident is acceptable’: How to foster an effective construction site safety culture

By Kim Slowey

This week marks the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s annual National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction as well as Safety Week 2016. Companies, associations, and other industry groups will hold safety awareness events nationwide as part of the initiatives.

It’s an unfortunate fact that many construction companies disregard or marginalize the safety component of their operations. According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of construction deaths every year, and, as the agency emphasizes, all are preventable. However, there are also contractors who prioritize worker wellbeing and go to extraordinary lengths to promote a true culture of safety.

How to promote safety on constructions sites

Bob Overhoff, director of corporate safety at Buffalo, NY,-based general contractor LPCiminelli, said that unlike some company mottos, his isn’t “safety first,” but “safety always.” Overhoff said that he and his safety staff of eight want their employees to be safety conscious “whether it’s home, work or leisure. We want to get that into people’s heads.”

Dan Della-Giustina, corporate safety director at Consigli Construction in Milford, MA, said SAFE — Staying Accident Free Every Day — defines the company’s safety mission and guides him and his staff of 12 in maintaining their safety and health initiatives. “All accidents are preventable,” he said. “No accident or incident is acceptable.”

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