BUILDING A CULTURE OF SAFETY
By Greg Sparks, PE, Project Development Manager for the Port of Portland
Safety in an organization must become part of an organization's foundation, supported from the top, and owned by all staff members. An intentional culture of safety is embedded in the day to day operations and thinking of an organization. Clear focus is required from the executive level that holds is held up among the highest values of an organization. It must be clear that safety will not be compromised.
There are far too many examples in industry where serious accidents occurred because somebody opted to take a shortcut in their work or neglected to pause, step back or stop what they were doing when their inner voice, their gut, told them to do so. Safety in the daily conversation and "messaging" raises awareness of potential risks so people are empowered and motivated to act.
An atmosphere of empowerment and ownership is critical to an intentional culture of safety. It requires an environment where people are trained so they are equipped to identify safety risks and are knowledgeable in responding to a given situation. In such an environment people are able to recognize a safety risk and are empowered to take action
We are very good at constructing buildings and systems. We should also be attentive to building a culture of safety that allows our industries to remain viable and protects workers in delivering those systems and services.
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