May 3-9 marked the second annual U.S. Safety Week, an event spearheaded by more than 40 U.S. and global construction firms comprising the Construction Industry Safety Initiative and the Incident and Injury-Free Forum to inspire everyone to be safety leaders. Their mission is to increase awareness of the importance of being committed to safety every day, inspire industry members to share best practices, conduct onsite safety awareness activities and recognize workers’ efforts to be injury-free.

Following are strategies for conducting a safety week any time of year.

Commitment Pledges
Company leaders should start by asking these basic questions:
  • How engaged am I currently in company safety programs and with each project team?
  • Can I make a difference to our workers’ safety by engaging more?
  • Does our company empower me to make a difference in workplace safety?
Then, they should make a pledge to commit to something in 2015 that will make a difference to their own personal safety performance, something that will improve their project’s safety performance and something that will help provide an injury-free workplace. Create action plans to follow through on the commitments and communicate these pledges and action plans to jobsite employees.

Site Visits
In an effort to show top-down safety commitment, visit each jobsite throughout the week. Attend safety meetings, complete a jobsite safety audit/inspection, and engage in safety discussions with foremen and other crew members. Solicit feedback from them by asking questions such as:
  • What are we doing well? 
  • What can we do better? 
  • Do you feel safe on the jobsite?
Jobsite Safety Reviews
Review corporate policies, safety documents, emergency action plans and training requirements. In addition:
  • hold emergency response drills;
  • invite the fire department, police department or EMTs to come onsite to assess emergency response protocols; and
  • inspect site housekeeping, cords/tools, rigging, assured grounding and PPE.
Performance Evaluations
Have the project team assess where they feel the project is in terms of safety performance (non-compliant, compliant, good practice or best in class). Focus on items such as:
  • safety culture;
  • employee competency/training;
  • communications; 
  • regulatory controls; and
  • subcontractor performance/evaluation.
Come up with actions plans to reach best-in-class status and engage craft personnel to join in this effort.

Events and Activities
Visit safetyweek2015.com/img/ideabook/pdf for suggestions on events and activities to hold throughout the week. For example:
  • invite OSHA onsite to discuss injury statistics and other industry items;
  • host a Safety Roadshow and invite vendors to showcase new tools and safety equipment; or
  • hold safety training sessions (fall protection, ladder safety, etc.) 

Joanna Masterson, senior editor of Construction Executive, compiled this information from SafetyWeek2015.com.


ABC Resources
In honor of Safety Week, Associated Builders and Contractors disseminated resources and guidance highlighting five topics: falls, health and wellness, ergonomics, hand protection, and worker appreciation/safety at home. For full details and a list of best practices, visit www.abc.org/safetybestpractices.