I was conduction a site orientation today and was talking about the concept of teamwork and support. I usually mention the value in everyone on site looking out for one another to help ensure the safest working environment. People make mistakes all the time. In construction people are asked to work in freezing cold temperatures one month (at least here in Toronto) and scorching heat temperatures another month. There is always a push to get the job done quicker. People even have lives outside of their jobs (despite what some employers may think). These variables, along with many others, can lead to workers being distracted. Distraction leads to mistakes. Mistakes can lead to injury.
There is working unsafe as a choice and then there is working unsafe by accident. Unsafe is unsafe. There are no levels to it. If someone is distracted and forgets to install a brace on a scaffold and then the scaffold collapses because of it, does it matter if the worker didn’t intentionally skip putting the bracket on?
This is why teamwork on construction sites is so important. New people to the trades will always be told the same thing by construction veterans.
“It will be scary at first. People will look and talk to you differently, but once you get to know everyone and how to talk to them, you’ll see its actually pretty fun”
Construction workers on any site are a family. Everyone looks out for everyone. I have been on sites during incidents where complete strangers work together to help someone. As much as the aspect of working safely varies from person to person and site to site, there is an abundant sense of comradery that remains consistent.
I always mention that if you see something unsafe happening, even if it is not related to the work you’re doing or your job, try and talk to the person it is affecting. You never know if the missing scaffold bracket is a choice or if someone just missed it.