Safety in Construction, Does it really come first?

Where should I start? Writing about Job Safety in Latin America is very easy because there is NONE !!!, I’m sure in other parts of the world is the same or similar, even in the US.

Unfortunately I have had a rough run when it comes to Safety, I have witnessed the death of 2 workers and others injured during my first 15 years of professional work in Construction. I was not in charge of Safety Directly but I take responsibility for it, I take it very personal because I’m a believer that we are all liable for unsafe conditions at the job site.

I sit here contemplating and trying to answer why Safety is many times our last priority when it comes to construction work? I don’t think we do this on purpose, I believe its simply in our culture, I believe we do not have this education embedded in our core, but why?

Well for instance, I don’t remember in my college years ever having a course on Safety, also, I’ve been to numerous conferences and symposiums but I still can’t remember a single conference solely about safety. When I go to meetings, the last notes, if any, have to do with Safety. I’m sure you have heard about the 3 pillars of Cost, Time and Quality, but what about Safety? Very few RFP’s take into consideration a Safety Plan, also if there are any Safety SOP’s, these are 1000 pages long, nobody actually reads them and to be honest most of them do not apply. I believe all of the above have contributed to our lack of culture and thus to unsafe conditions.

So lets analyze, does Safety really come first? Ill let you answer this question.

For those of us that Safety has not been a priority I make an invitation to follow me on a journey to change our culture and start saving lives from here on out. Lets enforce but most of all educate / train ourselves and our colleagues so that all of us can return to home in one piece.

This Blog was written in January of 2013, i have obtained my OSHA +30 accreditation credential and since I’ve been actively supported training of Safety standards. ;

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Master in Construction Administration, LEED AP, OSHA +30. Director of PIZA Consulting.


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