Construction Safety Needs Two to Tango
Posted: 04/23/2012 12:00:00 AM EDT | 0
A representative at Lend Lease, a global property and infrastructure group, believes the Australian construction industry needs to lift its game in terms of safety performance.
Elizabeth Tosti, Head of Health, Safety and Environment for Lend Lease’s Australian business said the construction industry is still injuring too many workers.
“Compared to mining or manufacturing sites, construction has unique challenges including changing workforces and environments. However, these issues should not be used as an excuse for poor safety performance,” said Ms Tosti.
Ms Tosti believes asset owners and contractors need to share responsibility for on-site safety. She said asset owners can contribute to positive safety outcomes for contractors by working together to establish clear expectations about safety.
“It is a mistake for asset owners to include generic clauses in contracts that say ‘we want all work to be carried out safely’ but then turn a blind eye to how work is done in practice,” said Ms Tosti.
However, contractors also need to take initiative since they have the duty to inform clients of best practice in safety.
“The really good contractors are the ones that recognise that good safety makes good business sense and will save them money down the track. Contractors who engineer out or eliminate risk at a design phase [of a project] will have less time lost through injuries and can reduce the time it takes to deliver on a project. Contractors who rely on managing safety through the lowest level of controls such as procedures and personal protective equipment rather than preplanning, will spend more time and money managing their injured workers,” said Ms Tosti.
Lend Lease has received industry recognition for business systems and processes to drive best practice in safety including the implementation of a set of standards for safety compliance.
“Lend Lease has always had a strong commitment towards safety going right back to the early days under our founder Dick Dusseldorp. In 2002 we significantly increased the level of our commitment with the development of our vision and plan to operate Incident & Injury Free.
“As part of this vision, we introduced Global Minimum Requirements for construction activity. These requirements act as a set of globally consistent minimum standards to ensure all high risk activities are being appropriately managed across our projects.
“Many of these best practices are evident on our sites today and have resulted in less people being injured at work and a consequent decrease in Lost Time and Injury Frequency Rate,” said Ms Tosti.
How are other organisations doing their bit to improve safety practices?
Elizabeth will be joining other leading contractors and asset owners on 30-31 May 2012 to present on and discuss Safety Leadership and Behavioural Based Safety.
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