This Safety Week, make safety part of your entire life

Last year, in the first industry-wide Safety Week, the construction community made it clear that jobsite safety must be everyone’s priority. It’s not about a top-down declaration that “safety matters.” It’s about every individual taking the responsibility for themselves and their teams, understanding that everyone can – and must – be a leader in safety. That theme of “Many Roles, One Goal – Building Safety Together” continues again for this year’s industry Safety Week.

At Skanska, we’re committed to achieving zero accidents in an Injury-Free Environment®. The reality of jobsites – and our lives – is that no day or task is ever 100 percent the same. Variables change: conditions, tools, mechanics, people … even you. Some days you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle any task. Other days, you’re tired, you’re distracted by something at home… you’re human. Every day, each of us must be aware of our environment, adapting and thinking ahead for the tasks, activities and danger zones that lie ahead.

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On jobsites and in our offices, through our Stretch and Flex physical activities and morning meetings, we begin the process of planning for each day. Pre-task planning helps us prepare for and analyze the job at hand and its inherent risks. But properly planning for each day requires thinking beyond each task: you must also recognize the external forces that make every day, every task and every job a little bit different than the last time you may have done it.

The reality is that safety starts the minute you get out of bed. Maybe you check the weather and realize it’s going to be a really hot day on the jobsite, so you grab your sun screen and make plans to hydrate. Or maybe it’s raining, so you leave a little early to avoid rushing on wet roads. You know your team has a complex concrete pour to tackle that day, so you eat a good, healthy breakfast to make sure you’re alert, energized and focused throughout the morning. All these things may seem small, but ingraining this forward-thinking mentality into your thoughts and actions can have a huge impact on the job.

None of us can afford to make assumptions, to go on auto-pilot, to say “this is the way this is always done.” That’s how near-misses — those close calls in which no damages or injuries occur, but very easily could have – happen. Skanska takes near-misses seriously because the behaviors and actions that cause a near-miss can very easily result in an accident.

During Safety Week, we take extra time to reflect on our safety priorities. This isn’t just about being vigilant from May 3 to May 9 – it’s about an always-on commitment to an Injury-Free Environment. Plan for today, 365 days a year.

Join the conversation:

–          Join the Safety Week discussion on Safety Week’s LinkedIn forum

–          Follow @SkanskaUSA, @SafetyWeek_2015, #SafetyWeek

 

Hendrik van Brenk

Hendrik van Brenk

Skanska USA chief environment, health and safety officer

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