Once a company has established a total commitment to a zero-incident jobsite, where both leadership and craft employees believe that every incident is preventable, the next step toward achieving world-class safety lies in the systems and processes that a company employs to identify and prevent hazards from becoming incidents. This is where the rubber meets the road—the processes you put in place are what puts the core value of safety into action.
For a safety program to be world class, it must include systems and processes that all employees embrace that keep not only that company’s personnel safe, but those of other contractors as well.
Some example of these processes include:
Using data effectively
- Holding regular safety briefings, such as toolbox talks, stretch-and-flex time, etc.;
- Holding regular meetings between onsite representatives from the general contractor, subcontractors and vendors to discuss coordination of tasks and potential hazards during the week;
- Using leading indicators (e.g., near-miss reporting, site safety orientation and supplemental training) to track overall safety performance;
- Changing management processes to identify safer ways to complete each task by using the data gathered in Jobsite Hazard Analyses (JHAs), pre-task plans, near-miss reports, etc. ;
- Creating site-specific safety plans that encompass the safety of all employees—not just those employed by a single contractor; and
- Sequencing tasks to avoid potential hazards.
Jobsite Safety Analyses (JSAs), JHAs, Safety Task Analyses (STAs) and Pre-Task Plans—these data-collection tools come in a variety of forms, from checklists to reports, and most companies have at least one in place. But they are four different names for what is essentially the same process—identifying potential and existing hazards on a jobsite and eliminating/abating them either before the workday begins or before a particular task is executed.
The difference between a world-class system and one that’s average is not in how the data is collected, but how it is used. Average—even good—safety programs collect the data and sign off that the form’s been completed and the hazard abated.
A world-class program digs deeper, identifying not only the hazards, but trends from one jobsite to another. Then that company develops a comprehensive plan to address these trends, not just on a specific jobsite but everywhere the company operates.
But building a plan isn’t enough. It must be communicated through daily or weekly conference calls or meetings with senior leadership and supervisory personnel in the field who share that with employees on the jobsite as well as the principals for the other contractors onsite. The plan isn’t just filed away as another requirement checked off the list of things to do—it becomes a living document that educates and facilitates incident prevention throughout the company.
Where to find examples
Examples of effective safety systems and processes can be found and downloaded for free
from a variety of different websites. Companies that employ world-class safety programs want to help other contractors implement the same systems and processes that have been successful in their own companies. That is to everyone’s benefit because it not only eliminates incidents but also makes it safer to work with other companies on the jobsite. Knowledge-sharing between companies is key—Even the systems and processes on OSHA’s website are pulled from both OSHA’s own knowledge base in addition to the companies involved in their Voluntary Protection Program
There are also resources, such as those found on CNA’s website
, that are developed by the insurance industry to help reduce the cost of workers’ compensation claims.
Effective systems and processes have always been viewed as the most difficult part of the world-class safety equation. In reality, they’ve become the easiest—once you have the commitment of leadership
and the total safety culture
to implement them.
This article is the third of a four-part series on achieving world-class safety written by ABC’s Director of Safety Chris Williams. To learn more about ABC’s safety efforts, visit www.abc.org.