What’s in Your Safety Gangbox?
As a motivational speaker for safety and construction, I often start my safety keynote talks with the simple but important question of “What’s in Your Safety Gangbox?” It catches a lot of people off-guard, but it may be the most important question of all.
From 2017 to 2018, OSHA reported that one out of every five workplace fatalities were in construction. In that period, almost 1,000 construction workers lost their lives to what the industry calls “The Big Four,” namely falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and “caught-in-between” accidents. Virtually every one of the accidents could have been avoided. When I deliver keynotes on safety and construction, I stress that it is never about just one worker. The unseen victims are families, friends and co-workers. And while every lost life is irreplaceable, industry statistics show that each fatality amounts to about $1 million per worker in hospital costs.
Motivating Construction Workers to Safety
Anyone who works at a job site knows what a gangbox is; it is the locked metal toolbox or workbox that is opened at the start of the shift by the workers at the site. At the end of the shift, the tools are returned and the box is locked.
The safety gangbox is not only physical but also mental. In speaking to groups on safety and construction, I explain that the safety gangbox is more than just one thing; it’s a combination of many factors. The safety gangbox includes the right training – and reinforced training – the right safety tools, complete PPE (personal protective equipment) including helmets or hard-hats, safety goggles, harnesses, ventilators, hearing protection, steel-toe shoes and any items specific to the particular job such as an acid resistant aprons and gloves, reflective vests and trousers.
However, showing up with those items alone still isn’t enough. In motivating construction workers to have more of a safety mindset, we must also encourage other attitudes on the jobsite. These attitudes include teamwork, always looking out for the other guy, being alert to everything around you (especially hazards), and an awareness that jobsite safety goes beyond the task at hand. It also includes the actual travel to the site and being safe on the way home.
The safety gangbox isn’t just for the workers on the jobsite but reaches up to the corporate executives, suppliers, truckers and anyone involved in safety training.
The More in the Safety Gangbox, the Safer the Job
As a safety speaker on construction, the most tragic things to me are shortcuts. Safety shortcuts have no place on the job and never in the safety gangbox. A shortcut may be as “simple” as a worker lifting too much to a worker “forgetting” to wear a hard hat because he or she was in a rush and then being hit by a falling object.
No matter the lapse in judgment, there were more than 4.6 million workplace injuries last year. Worst of all, it has been estimated that about half of all jobsite injuries go unreported!
The tools we need in the safety gangbox are all around us, but unless we are all inspired to put them in the safety gangbox, they will do us no good.
Hire Mike Hourigan, Safety and Construction Motivational Speaker, for your next industry meeting or convention. For more information call today at: (704) 875-3030 or by fill out the form below.