One of the main concerns in the construction world that remains rather consistent over time is SAFETY. As it should be, this is a very high priority for leaders in the construction industry. The daily implementation of a safety program is a great first step but the big picture goal really should be a whole CULTURE of safety.
This means that all employees are in agreement and held responsible for their own safety and health, as well as the safety and health of every other worker in the organization. This is a prime example of the “we are only as strong as our weakest link” mentality.
Every organization needs some sort of a program in place to prevent injuries and illnesses in the office and on job sites. Even complete compliance with OSHA’s guidelines will not eliminate all injuries and illnesses from the workplace because the workplace is filled with humans and humans make mistakes.
However, enforcing things such as physical safeguards, training, and proper maintenance followed up on by effective management will help ensure the safety and health of the team.
The following are also a result of a good safety and health program:
- Workers’ compensation costs may be lowered
- Employee morale and work efficiency may be improved
- Operating costs will be lowered
- Profit margins will be higher
Accidents are expensive. They add to workers’ compensation and medical costs, they make the organization have to repair or replace equipment, they slow production, and they may require the organization to hire and train new workers. These are just the material costs and inefficiencies. The pain and suffering that accidents cause employees and their families can be even more damaging and last much longer.
Interested in some tips on what leadership can do vs what employees can do to get ahead of and maintain this culture of safety? Reach out to us here for some safety program checklists, sample policy statements outlining the program in place, etc.
Regular review of the safety and health program is essential to achieving a safe and healthful workplace. As we’ve learned over the past year’s pandemic, things can change rather quickly. Therefore, effective and successful programs must continuously improve to keep up with the changing nature of the organization and industry. This also ensures that there’s a real commitment to the safety and health of the entire team – working beyond just a temporary program but towards that overall, long-term culture.
What comes to mind when you think of the biggest threats to your company? Fire, theft, workers comp claims, auto accidents? You may feel pretty secure in your protection against those types of insurance claims and that’s a step in the right direction.
But what you might find interesting is that only 58% of natural disaster expenses were actually insured in 2021… That’s about $85 billion of the $145 billion in damages. In fact, overall natural disaster losses in last year alone were the fourth costliest ever recorded. There were hurricanes, earthquakes, freezes, floods and storms.
And even with $145 billion (yes, billion with a B) of damages in the U.S., a Beazley report found that only 12% of business owners ranked environmental risks as their most pressing concern. That report also found that only 38% of executives feel prepared to respond to environmental catastrophes.
So how can you reprioritize and feel confident in the event of damage that is beyond your control?
1. Create an Emergency Operations Plan
- What happens if something happens? Who is in charge? How will the effects on your business be communicated to staff and clients? Who will delegate on and off-site responsibilities? What if your physical work space is compromised? How will your team be contacted and kept informed if email isn’t an option? If something takes place during business hours, does everyone know how to evacuate and where to go? Or where to locate emergency kits?
2. Back up important data
- Hard copies of important data should be stored off-site and copies made as needed. Keep things like insurance, payroll and tax information stored somewhere that someone else knows how to access it if needed. Utilize the cloud for electronic storage as well.
3. Review and understand your existing insurance coverage
- Be sure you’re confident in the amount of coverage you have and that your Insurance Advisor has reviewed endorsements and any applicable additional coverages you may need.
4. Maintain good, open communication
- For your customers, use email and social media for updates if possible. Be sure they have contact information or know your protocol if your team is unreachable. And for your staff, stay in touch with them to ensure they are safe and healthy. It is also recommended to establish a disaster fund in case your company is unable to generate revenue, you can keep your team on payroll.
5. Regroup with your community
- It is likely that when you’re able to (literally) weather the storm, it’s hugely due to help from others… whether that be financial, cleanup efforts, rebuilding, emotional support, etc. Lend a helping hand to others in need after experiencing a natural disaster and your community will be stronger together.
There are some things we humans just can’t control and we have to relinquish that power to Mother Nature. For the most part, she treats us very well but for those catastrophic times that are thankfully few and far between, the best you can do as a business owner is BE PREPARED.