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Be safe, accountable, and present. Construction Safety Week 2022

Kirk Baisch

05 May 2022

We are stronger and safer together. Safety is not just an individual focus or on one single jobsite. Yes, we keep ourselves and the conditions immediately around us as safe as possible, but we must also ensure we are working safely to keep everyone else on the job safe. We rely on our coworkers and other contractors to work safely to help keep us safe so we can all go home to our families in the same condition we left in that day. And this week, we proudly stand alongside contractors across the country and celebrate Construction Safety Week. Now more than ever, we must create jobsites that inspire both a physically and mentally safe environment, equally.

Safety extends far beyond the hi-vis personal protective equipment (PPE), harnessing, and proven ergonomic tactics. At UMC, we are prioritizing our employees’ psychological safety in the workplace right alongside their physical safety. It’s crucial that people are not only physically safe in their work environment, but psychologically safe—safe to speak up, safe to act, safe by knowing that everybody is working towards the same goal and the team constantly has their backs. Even in a chaotic situation and in the absence of direction, one of the best definitions of a great safety culture is that everybody knows exactly what to do in each situation.

I compare this to a sniper team in adverse conditions. They go forward with confidence knowing that they have a mission to complete and that everyone on the team is pulling for the success of the mission. Under no circumstance will anyone be left behind. This mindset is key to having the safest and most effective workforce possible. Each day our workers are sent out on micro-missions. It’s important to keep every member driving towards common goals with unlimited support. All decisions and all resources are utilized with the mission’s success in mind with 100% involvement.

Construction Safety Week is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come and to focus on the work still needed to improve both physical and psychological safety for the people we depend on to get the job done safely. How do we stay focused on the safety of ourselves and those around us? What is impacting our environment and causing distractions? How do we create an environment where people trust both their coworkers and their leaders? How can we protect both the body and the mind?

Finding the answers to these questions and providing space to talk about issues that might not feel directly job related allows us to cultivate a culture of not only physical safety but one that also benefits workers’ mental wellbeing. Safety, both physically and psychologically, isn’t a concern for only one week a year; it’s an everyday focus in every aspect of our lives and our business.

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