Mike Hourigan, Virtual Construction Safety Speaker
No One Builds from a Locked-Down Place
I am a Virtual Construction Safety Speaker and in my virtual speaking on construction safety, I emphasize that no one builds from a locked down place. As the world still struggles in lockdown or semi-lockdown, construction has not stopped, but it is changing.
Is your company ready?
Cleaner & Safer
Construction industry writer Jenn Goodman, in an article for Construction Dive (April 30, 2020) entitled “The new normal: 8 ways the coronavirus crisis is changing construction,” pointed out that jobsites will have no choice but to be cleaner and safer. Among the changes are “staggered shifts, employee temperature checks and top-to-bottom disinfections of jobsites, tools and machinery.”
While the article was written at the beginning of “stay in place” policies it pointed out the “new normal will be reinforced by state, local and federal regulations…in the near future, OSHA could require employers to develop written infectious disease preparedness and response plans.”
The construction industry in general will become more remote in terms of virtual oversite. Social distancing will affect how project teams interact and even how “public meetings” on projects may take on more of a virtual, interactive quality.
Naturally, construction industry experts expect that telework platforms will expand. Goodman commented on a recent industry study that found “74% of American companies will move at least 5% of their office workforce to permanently remote and nearly a quarter of respondents said they will move at least 20% to permanently remote positions.”
Also, the article tells us to assume there will be strategies to expand construction worker safety, by increasing prefabrication or offsite building.
While that is an interesting development, it will still require, obviously, offsite workers in offsite factories, trucking to the job site, and assembly of the modular units.
People Still Build
Having started my Keynote Speaker career in construction and production, as a virtual construction safety speaker, I know that despite the lofty dreams and the plans to move teams to remote offices, someone still has to build, someone has to drive a rig to the job site and someone has to lift, carry and move materials.
Notwithstanding the pandemic and the virtual conference calls and technologies the pandemic has produced, job site injuries and fatalities continue.
The latest data from OSHA on workplace fatalities during the pandemic is not only tragic for the workers and their families, but virtually all were avoidable. Accidents included falls, being hit by debris, forklift incidents, vehicular wrecks and electrocutions.
Workplace injuries included ladder mishaps, lifting injuries, falls, slips on slick surfaces, burns and numerous broken bones.
As a virtual construction safety speaker, I emphasize that workplace safety is an ongoing negotiation between management and those who do the work at the site.
While the workplace may change, unless this negotiation process is on-going and meaningful, no amount of clever technology, disinfection or modular construction will change the fact that anyone working at a construction site needs to understand the importance of being safe.
Every worker owes a safety mindset to their families as well as to themselves, and every manager, all the way up to the CEO must understand that they are equal partners in this negotiation. Construction safety is a team effort and everyone must be on that team.
Mike Hourigan, Virtual Construction Safety Speaker, offers virtual podcasts, live video conferencing and in-person events on workplace safety. For more information, call Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or by filling out the form below.