As members of the utility construction industry, we must spend ample time and effort working to prevent incidents and injuries from occurring through the use of proactive techniques and leading indicators. The goals for everyone are simple: zero injuries, zero accidents, zero claims.
These goals are absolutely achievable, but they may be construed as unrealistic to the common craftsman. We have heard from this demographic that accidents are not always avoidable due to any number of factors, including scheduling pressures, financing, transient workforces, vendors and deliveries. In part, this frame of mind stems from the fact that some contractors’ safety and health programs are not ready to set these types of goals. Not only that, but the construction industry has a major handicap: people. We have humans performing hazardous and often strenuous work, and the reality is that humans make mistakes.
While managers and executives strive for zero injuries, zero accidents and zero claims, they also may be doing their company a disservice. Rather than specifically pushing for zero accidents, they should be pushing for greater transparency and a culture of reporting. After all, a reporting culture typically is a safe culture. Employees should get a vibe from management that says to them, “We’re not perfect and we need to report everything in order to identify trends, learn from our shortcomings and implement new programs and procedures.”