Every day when we walk onto a job site, we all have to know what’s on the line. The work. Our reputations. A paycheck.
But most importantly, what’s really on the line are the lives and livelihood of every person on the job site. Out here, the risks are real. Our work, our focus and the choices we make have real consequences for everyone around us. These are the people who stand beside us. People we consider our friends, our second family.
That’s why we will do everything in our power to ensure that every one of us is safe. When we enter this industry, we join a unique community, a family of sorts, where everyone knows – no questions asked – that we always have each other’s back. This is the commitment we make, based on the respect we have for each other and the risks associated with the work we do. Safety is the foundation that holds us together. It’s not something we can opt in or out of. It is a promise, to ourselves, our co-workers and the families who rely and count on us.
Safety Week is our opportunity to recognize the promise we made when we accepted this job, and the immense responsibility that comes with it. To make absolutely certain we do whatever it takes to send everyone home safely every day.
When we think about safety in the construction industry, we first think about things like PPE, equipment inspections and the important policies and protocols we have in place to protect our workers from any dangers or on-site injuries.
But what about the things we can’t see? The outside stresses and distractions that can take us out of our element, interferewith our focus and awareness and impact everything from our decision-making abilities to our reaction times.
Our jobs are both physically and mentally demanding—safety extends beyond gloves, glasses and harnesses, beyond just an item on a checklist. We know that the risks are real across our industry, and in every aspect of our work. Our focus and the choices we make every day have real consequences for everyone around us. So when it comes to creating a safe and productive work environment, it’s critically important that we are both physically and mentally present as individuals and as an entire team. Struggles with anxiety, depression or stress, family tension, financial concerns, unresolved arguments or frustrations, can all lead to distraction, miscommunication and unpreparedness, all primary causes of workplace incidents.
Our commitment to staying safe and focused on the job is a point of pride and strength that runs across our entire industry. In order to ensure holistic safety, we must strive to create both a physically and mentally safe environment, and make every aspect of our wellbeing part of our safety culture and programs. It’s important that we are alert, observant and always have each other’s backs, regularly asking, how focused are we? How effectively are we communicating? Do we notice a team member struggling? How can we help?
We must prioritize both physical and psychological safety in the workplace, and how together, they play an important role in our relationships with our team members and with our ability to bring our safest, most productive, best selves to work every day.
See below for resources related to each Safety Week Daily Topic.
Monday, May 3rd – Be Present, Be Focused
Mental awareness is critically important for workers to stay safe. It is important that workers know there are resources available to help them be present and focused.
Mental Health Resources:
• National Alliance on Mental Illness
• Mental Health America
• Mental Health America Tools 2 Thrive Toolkit
Tuesday, May 4th – Healthy Mind Healthy Body
Being safe means paying attention to both mind and body. It extends beyond wearing hardhats and safety glasses. It means recognizing how important mental health really is to everyone’s overall safety.
Stress Relief & Stress Management Resources:
• Addressing the Root of the Stress Problem in Construction
• How to Help Your Employees Cope with the Stress of Covid
• Building Resilience: Helping Workers Handle Stress for the Long Haul
• CDC: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the Covid-19 Pandemic
• Five Ways Construction Workers Can Deal with Stress and Anxiety
Suicide Prevention Resources:
• Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention
• National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
• Construction Industry specific info for industry leaders can be found here
• Construction Industry specific info can be found here
Wednesday, May 5th – Be Relentless
Preventing injuries means relentlessly paying attention to risk. Using mind and body to always make safety number one. Executing the fundamentals is critically important. Mental discipline is a critical element of total wellbeing.
• A wide variety of Toolbox Talks on safety fundamentals can be found here
Thursday, May 6th – Be Safe
Safety is a value that we all need to practice not just in the workplace, but at home too. The team around you is there to assist and there are resources available that can help if you step forward and commit to holistic safety.
Substance abuse resources can be found here.
Friday, May 7th – Thank You
Our industry is embracing safety more than ever, most especially with the outbreak of COVID, and every worker in our industry deserves a big thank you.
• Resourcing on returning to “normal” after Covid can be found here.
You Are Not Alone : Where to Go For Help
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Service Canada: 1-833-456-4566
Optum public toll-free help line: 866-342-6892
NAMI Help Line
NAMI Online Discussion Groups
NAMI Support Groups (for individuals or family members)
National Safety Council
Request a Free Opioids at Work Employer Kit