20 SEPTEMBER 2018
The days are getting cooler, the leaves are changing colour, and every morning, the sidewalks are packed with backpack-clad children. That can mean only one thing: it’s back-to-school season.
Fall isn’t just a good time for kids to hit the books. With many companies midway through their main work season, it’s the perfect time for safety managers to do a little teaching with their team. If you’ve been using Field Relay or a similar safety system, you’ve spent the first half of the season collecting data in a number of different ways. Now is a good time to review that data and use it as a teaching tool to push your team to the top of the class.
Making the grade: incidents and near misses
Take a look at the incidents that have taken place – and the ones that almost took place – over the season so far. Take note of patterns, and identify good interventions that stopped a near-miss from becoming an incident. Ask your team where they are compared to the beginning of the season – have they curbed bad habits or are the same problems happening over and over? Are they getting sloppy now that mid-season fatigue has set in? The expectation should always be to learn from mistakes, and this is a great opportunity for them to evaluate whether their safety grade has gone up or down.
Reviewing lecture notes: previous toolbox meetings
When a strong team puts their heads together, incredible insights and ideas are bound to come out. But having an inspired discussion at a toolbox meeting is always easier than making real change on site, especially when things get busy. Take a look back at your toolbox meeting notes from the season so far and address ideas that never went anywhere, resolutions that have fizzled out, and action items that have been left undone. Re-evaluate which of those items are still worth pursuing, and create an action plan.
Identifying teachable moments: hazard assessments and site inspections
Hazard assessments and site inspections are often treated as merely procedural or compliance aspects of the job, rather than the learning opportunities they truly are. Now is a good time to pull out this season’s reports and see what can be learned from them. Ask your team how they would handle the various documented scenarios, if the noted hazards turned out to be clues to larger issues, and if anything could have been improved upon.
Bonus marks: looking at the other guy’s paper
In highschool, nothing travels faster than word of an embarrassing incident. It’s kind of the same in construction and trade industries – when a serious safety violation or incident takes place at one company, it isn’t long before every employee at every competing company has heard some version of it.
But instead of using another company’s missteps as fodder for gossip, use it as a teaching tool for you team. Avoid whispers, shaming and hot takes, and instead talk about what led to the incident, how it could have been avoided, and how buying in to a culture of safety helps prevent these kinds of situations. Not only will your team learn to think critically about safety incidents, you’ll also be reminding them that building a safety culture means striving to improve practices across the industry – not just within your own company?
Ready to hit the books? Take a look at your Field Relay mid-season reports and see what learning opportunities are waiting for you.
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