Before we get started, it is critical to understand that the only way your Construction Safety Management System (CSMS) will succeed is to make sure the underlying safety culture includes a real long-term serious commitment and tough-caring leadership by management.
This first module will briefly explore some of the important components necessary in an effective safety culture. By the way, if you are interested in developing your CSMS, be sure to take course 833 Developing a Construction Safety Management System.
Believe it or not, OSHA actually has a pretty good definition for a safety culture. OSHA defines culture as:
It's important to understand, from the employer's point of view, the company's corporate culture is something to be managed. However, ask an employee what culture means to them and they will likely tell you it's just the way things are around here.
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The success of your company's CSMS depends on the willingness of top management to demonstrate a long term serious commitment to protect every employee from injury and illness on the job.
But how do you get it top management commitment if you don't already have it? Real commitment doesn't just appear out of thin air.
Management commitment to safety will most likely occur to the extent each manager clearly understands the positive benefits derived from their effort. Understanding the benefits will create a strong desire to do what it takes to improve the company's safety culture.
Managers will invest serious time and money into effective safety management by developing safety policies, programs, plans and procedures. They will also display leadership through effective accountability and recognition of behaviors and results.
Bottom line: Serious commitment requires serious time and money.
Every day, construction workers, supervisors and managers have many opportunities to communicate and act in ways that demonstrate safety leadership. Unfortunately, these opportunities go unanswered because they are just not seen as real leadership opportunities.
Employers and managers do not understand that the simple expression of tough-caring safety leadership – being tough about safety standards because you care about the employee - can result in enormous benefits. The ability to perceive leadership opportunities improves the company's potential to succeed.
Tough-caring leaders also assume their workers, at all levels of the organization, are good people trying to do the best they can with the skills they have.
Employees, on the other hand, do not always have the physical resources and psychosocial support needed to achieve the kind of results expected of them. Why is that? Because they are not being provided with adequate physical resources (tools, equipment, machinery, materials, etc.) or the education, training, time, and consequences.
Effective leadership can overcome these challenges by providing the resources and training needed for their workers to excel.
A "system" may be thought of as an orderly arrangement of interdependent activities and related procedures which implement and facilitate the performance of a major activity within an organization. (American Society of Safety Engineers, Dictionary of Terms)
Take a look at Syssie, the cow. Syssie is a system, right? You can tell she's a cow because she looks like one: she has "structure." She needs food, air, water, a suitable environment, tender loving care, and other "inputs" to function properly. We know she has respiratory, digestion, circulation, and many other "processes" inside. Finally, she produces outputs like milk, waste products, and behavior.
Just like Syssie, the Construction Safety Management Systems are composed of the same four basic components:
Bottom line: A construction safety management system will always produce what it is designed to produce.
On most construction worksites, more than one employer or contractor will be managing some aspect of safety as a result of the responsibilities they have been assigned. It's important to know on multi-employer worksites more than one employer may be citable for a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard. According to OSHA, there are four employer categories on a multi-employer worksite:
It's also important to remember any one employer on a construction site may actually meet the criteria in more than one of the above categories.
The controlling employer/contractor assumes all obligations under the standards, whether or not he subcontracts any of the work.
To the extent that a subcontractor agrees to perform any part of the contract, he assumes responsibility for complying with the standards with respect to that part.
With respect to subcontracted work, the controlling contractor and any subcontractors are deemed to have joint responsibility.
Construction companies should designate a person to coordinate, implement, and administer the construction safety management system (CSMS).
Employer responsibilities include the following:
The supervisor's attitude plays an important part in obtaining or preventing the acceptance of safe and healthful work practices, policies, and procedures. As an agent of the employer, it is the supervisor's responsibility to identify potential hazards, identify methods to control or eliminate worksite hazards, ensure workers use safe and healthful work practices, and make sure everyone receives safety and health training to do their work.
Immediate supervisors should review, investigate, and take any necessary and appropriate action on all employee reports of hazards or potential hazards. The OSHA test for "adequate" proactive supervision requires supervisors to detect and correct hazards before their employee are injured.
OSHA Requirements for supervisors include:
A safety program is composed of plans, policies, processes, procedures, and practices forming a plan of action to accomplish a safety objective. An effective safety program integrates safety-related decisions and precautions into them. Construction contractors should design, develop, deploy, and duplicate CSMS programs throughout all worksites, not just to comply with OSHA, but to keep their employees and worksites safe, and to make the company or organization more successful.
Accountability may be thought of as establishing the "obligation to fulfill a task to standard or else." When you are held accountable, your performance is measured against specific criteria and consequences are applied appropriate to the quality of performance. Here are some examples illustrating accountability:
Management may impose safety policies, programs, written plans, directives, rules, training, etc., yet if the appropriate application of effective consequences occur, desired behaviors will not be sustained.
If employees do not believe they are going to be held accountable for the decisions they make and the actions they take, you can be sure that any safety effort is ultimately doomed to failure.
Six important elements should be present in an employer safety accountability program:
You can learn more about accountability systems in course 712 Safety Supervision and Leadership.
Hazard prevention and control processes are conducted after hazards are identified and assessed. They help employers prevent existing and potential hazards and eliminate or otherwise control hazards in the workplace.
Effective hazard prevention and control methods protect workers and have the following benefits:
Safety and health education, through general instruction and technical training, is important for informing workers and managers about workplace hazards and controls so they can work more safely and be more productive.
It is important to make sure both instruction and technical training are emphasized. If employees do not know why safety is important, they are less likely to care about how to work safely.
Safety and health education also provides workers and managers with a greater understanding of the safety and health program itself, so they can contribute to its development and implementation.
Effective safety and health education programs have the following characteristics:
Employers should analyze and evaluate each of the programs within the CSMS at least annually to assess what is and is not working, and whether the programs are on track to achieve their objectives. These analysis and evaluation activities are "proactive" because they ultimately help to prevent accidents on the worksite.
Whenever these assessments identify opportunities to improve the CSMS, management should adjust and monitor how well the various programs within the CSMS perform.
Sharing the results of monitoring and evaluation within the workplace, and celebrating successes, will help drive further improvement.
Effective program evaluation and improvement include the following characteristics:
After a CSMS program has been designed and developed, it should be deployed initially at one worksite to verify it is resulting in the intended improvements. If programs being evaluated are deemed effective, they should be duplicated at all worksites. We'll discuss analyzing, evaluating, and improving hazards on the worksite in Module 3.
Take a look and download OSHA's Safety Pays software program that can be helpful in determining direct and indirect cost.
(COST ÷ INVESTMENT) X 100
Management may ask you what the Return on Investment (ROI) will be for an investment in safety. Let's say you recommend a $1,000 investment in taking corrective action to eliminate a hazard that could cause an injury resulting in accident costs of $28,000. To determine the ROI, divide $28,000 by $1,000 which gives you 28. To express it as a percentage, multiply 28 by 100 and you discover that the ROI is 2800 percent.
COST ÷ (INVESTMENT ÷ MONTHS)
Management may also want to know how quickly the $1,000 investment will be paid back: what the Payback Period is. To determine the payback period, divide the accident cost of $28,000 by 12 months (1 year) and you arrive at $2,333 per month in potential accident costs. Divide the investment of $1,000 by monthly accident cost of $2,333 and you'll see that the $1,000 investment will be paid back in only .43 months. After that, the investment is actually saving the company money.
If you want, take a closer look at some key elements of an effective recommendation.
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