While there can be various factors that contribute to the inefficiency of safety programs for contractors, I have come up with these five for consideration.
1. Lack of Management Commitment
If the management of a contracting company does not prioritize safety and fail to demonstrate their commitment, it sets a negative tone for the entire organization. Managers must include every level from ownership to middle managers, and especially superintendents and foremen. Frankly, if the owner and managers don’t display a passion for the company program, the risks will increase over time and you end up with safety being like an unpleasant chore for workers.
2. Inadequate Training and Communication
Insufficient training and poor communication can undermine safety efforts. Contractors may not be adequately trained on safety procedures, hazard recognition, or the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some areas where many of us struggle is in new hire training, Spanish instruction, and constant ongoing safety certificate tracking. One of the biggest advantages Padgett Risk provides to our clients is in this area. Not one employee goes without updated training, documents, or forms. Using a software tool like our PRC PLUS system can be very beneficial.
3. Ineffective Safety Policies and Procedures
If safety policies and procedures are poorly developed, outdated, or not tailored to the specific needs of contractors, they may fail to address the unique risks associated with their work. Safety programs should be comprehensive, easy to understand, and regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in work practices and regulations. Be careful not to use to many acronyms. Often, we see safety professionals using language and techniques that only they understand. When it comes to studying matrix and trends, most workers zone out and do not fully understand what is being relayed.
4. Insufficient Resources and Support
Contractors may struggle with limited resources allocated for safety initiatives. It is in this area that we have been able to thrive for our clients. Some companies cannot afford a safety professional full time or may not have a company large enough to bring on someone for this duty. A third-party safety company that has many years’ experience with OSHA, Insurance, licensing board requirements, etc., can be beneficial too small to medium size companies. Inadequate funding for safety equipment, tools, training, and personnel can hamper the effectiveness of safety programs. Additionally, if supervisors and managers do not provide sufficient support and resources to prioritize safety, it becomes difficult for contractors to maintain a safe work environment. “There should be no separate budget for safety”.
5. Lack of Employee Engagement and Accountability
Safety programs require active involvement and commitment from all levels of the organization, including contractors and their employees. If workers are not engaged in safety initiatives, lack awareness of safety requirements, or feel disconnected from the safety program, it can result in non-compliance, resistance to change, and ultimately, program failure. Similarly, if there is a lack of accountability for unsafe behavior or incidents, it can undermine the effectiveness of the safety program. One of the best things we have found to enforce a program is through retraining or reeducation. Our PLUS system provides an easy and non-confrontational way to properly enforce your program. OSHA, Insurance, and Legal teams will testify that this is the best most efficient way to enforce your program.
It’s important to note that these reasons are not exhaustive, and other factors may also contribute to the inefficiency of safety programs for contractors. Addressing these challenges requires a proactive approach from management, effective communication, ongoing training, adequate resources, and fostering a culture of safety throughout the organization.