According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction is one of the most hazardous industries. But what many people don’t consider is that accidents don’t just affect the people who are directly hurt. Indirectly, accidents hurt everyone involved, in one way or another.
If you don’t believe that, imagine this scenario, which is based on a true story:
An injury occurs on a work site.
It seems worse than it is, and immediately work on the site stops, so that everyone can attend to the injured party. He may not be seriously injured, but his work has been delayed, his ability to satisfactorily perform his work has been placed in doubt, he may be somewhat impaired as a result, and he has suffered somewhat from having this unexpected, undesirable event happen.
Meanwhile, first reports of the accident reach the public, and the company’s office is immediately deluged with calls from news media and others requesting information about the accident. Those calls tie up company phones, interrupting everyone’s work, delaying progress, and delaying that company’s ability to correct the problem that caused the accident in the first place.
Following the incident, some or all of the following things will occur for the injured party: pain, discomfort, disability, loss of earnings, loss of physical ability to continue in his craft, total disability, or even loss of his life.
Now, let’s consider the foreman.
He is responsible for making sure a certain amount of work is completed by his crew. Anything that injures or delays one of his men, damages the material or equipment involved, or interrupts the orderly accomplishment of the job, reflects unfavorably on his ability to control and direct the work for which he is responsible. The accident has certainly hurt him.
Suppose we consider the superintendent next.
He is charged with completing a specific assignment by a designated date at an established cost. Each incident that delays the construction, damages the material or equipment, injures a workman, or prevents the efficient supervision of the work being performed, also damages his reputation as a manager. He, too, was hurt by this situation.
What about the loss suffered by the company?
Every accident that occurs on a job reflects on their ability to engineer and construct a facility, to provide capable supervision, to attract a skilled work force, and to fulfill a contract. The reputation of the company is hurt by its failure to prevent accidents.
Don’t forget the loss suffered by the customer, in the form of a delayed contract, the additional insurance cost that must be paid by the construction industry, and even the welfare loss imposed on the public.
Everyone gets hurt in workplace accidents, which is why our industry takes safety programs very seriously, and why you should, too.