by Penny Olmos
Construction site accidents are common enough; in spite of all the regulations and the new age safety features that modern machinery is equipped with, accidents keep happening. A big reason for such accidents is the flouting of many safety regulations. There are plenty of construction sites that strictly adhere to construction job site safety standards as laid down by federal agencies like OSHA, but there are many who choose to ignore many of these safety regulations; which results in some catastrophic accidents.
One of the ways of improving safety standards at construction sites is working on tougher laws, fines, and legal penalties for violating safety regulations at construction sites, and ensuring that workers on these sites are exposed to frequent safety training. But, that takes care of just one part of the problem. The second part is identifying if a safety violation is taking place at a construction site. At times, workers are too busy to realize that something is amiss; and at other times they are simply circumspect about voicing a complaint to the management; or the people in charge of maintaining the safety of construction sites are just not doing their job properly.
In such cases, it’s important to give construction workers a medium of communication that allows them to share pictures of what they find wrong with their work environments from the safety perspective; the kind of medium that allows these pictures to reach experts who can offer solutions to help address these safety hazards.
Enter “Spot the Hazard” Campaign
This campaign encourages construction workers to share photos of a possible safety violation at their workplace by using the hashtag #HazardSpotting across social media platforms. Even individuals, who have nothing to do with such sites but have come across a site that is violating certain safety norms, can share photos of what they believe to be an unsafe construction site. MySafetySign , the company behind this campaign posts these pictures to its blog and makes sure that these photos are seen by safety experts who offer solutions as to how these safety hazards can be tackled. One of the biggest advantages of this campaign is that it offers “whistleblowers” anonymity, so they aren’t really worried about somebody coming down hard on them because they shared photos of a possibly dangerous work environment.
This campaign has caught on with the construction site workers as it’s given them another avenue to improve the safety of their workplace. After all, workers have a huge stake in making their work environment as safe as possible, and this campaign aims to do just that.
Construction Site Hazards
Collapsing scaffolds or trenches, falling from heights, electric shocks and repetitive motion injuries are just some of the many hazards faced by construction site workers, day in and day out.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the safety hazards that accounts for the most number of fatalities in the construction industry – Fall; one of the common reasons for people falling from a height on construction sites is the failure to use fall protection equipment, as well as, human error.
Now let’s see how the ‘Spot the Hazard’ campaign, can do its bit to prevent falls. Say you are a construction worker who believes your site lacks fall arrest systems, or safety nets that can prevent a fall or save a worker if and when he falls. All you need to do is take a picture, share it and get a solution for this problem.
Of course, you should also discuss this problem with your superiors or the management. But in this case, there is always the chance of your employer not taking cognizance of your report and if you do report it to federal agencies like OSHA, the employer could retaliate against you. This is a problem that federal agencies are trying to nip in the bud, and have come up with laws that protect whistleblowers.
Construction site workers face a very real danger of suffering from serious injuries at their workplace, every time they step through the gates of the site. But campaigns like ‘Spot the Hazard’ are trying to make construction sites a safer place and it’s in the workers’ interests to support such campaigns. Improving safety of construction sites is an ongoing process and it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to play a role in this process. Whether it’s sharing photos through such campaigns or directly reporting a violation to the management, it’s important to keep making an effort to improve the safety standards of construction sites.
There is no way round it.
Penny Olmos is associated with Holloway Houston, Inc. a leading industrial lifting equipment manufacturing company. She is a writer for Holloway Houston, Inc. and loves to write on rigging hardware. Her writing is backed by knowledge gained by her many years of experience partnering with clients to build their business through development and implementation of track-proven Internet marketing strategies.