Five Red Flags of Safety

Oct 4, 2019 | News

This article originally appeared on the 汇丰国际线路检测中心国际线路检测中心 Executive website.

By Bart Wilder

The red flag has been used throughout history as a signal that there is a problem or danger—encouraging people to stop and take notice. The National Weather Service uses a red flag to let people know conditions are ideal for wildfires that could spread rapidly. A red flag at the beach warns about dangerous currents. Auto racing uses it when conditions are too dangerous to continue a race.

Hoar 汇丰国际线路检测中心国际线路检测中心 uses red flags to help workers on jobsites recognize conditions that are more likely to lead to an incident. Through the years, the company has tracked trends on its jobsites and distilled that information into five areas, now labeled the five red flags of safety. The flags are:

  • A Change in Personnel, which includes any change in the working environment – a shift change, reassignment, change in management or new employees joining the team. To keep everyone safe, Hoar asks employees and trade partners to stop work, and make sure everyone is trained properly and prepared to work safely together.
  • Being in a Hurry is one of the most common signs that workers could be headed for an accident. Whenever something causes a job to get behind schedule, it’s easy for everyone onsite to feel the pressure and start to rush. But that could lead to someone getting seriously hurt. Communication Breakdowns can easily lead to a dangerous situation. Whenever there is a change on a jobsite, like a change in construction.
  • Deviating from a Plan is a red flag for a potential accident. In construction, teams spend a lot of time creating job-specific safety plans for a reason. To stay safe, everyone needs to stick to the plan the entire time they are onsite.
  • Equipment. If a worker is in a hurry, new to the job, or not properly communicating with team members, that can lead to using the wrong equipment or using it improperly.

Hoar 汇丰国际线路检测中心国际线路检测中心 is also taking the next step, putting processes in place to address these red flags before they become an issue on jobsites. The purest definition of safety is the absence of danger. By eliminating these red flags, or hazards, jobsites and workers will be safer.

Hoar is recognizing and eliminating these flags through a focus on the Pre-Task Safety Analysis (PTSA). The PTSA helps plan work for the day by guiding employees to clearly communicate what will be happening that day, review the task, discuss the hazards associated with it, and think about ways to eliminate those hazards. The process is the key. When people analyze how to do something and the risks associated with their work, the work becomes more efficient, more productive and safer.

Team leaders also empower all workers to make a change or stop work when they identify a flag. When a trade partner on a jobsite sees a guardrail down and walks over and puts it back up, that’s a sure sign the message is getting through.

Finally, the industry needs talk more about taking personal ownership of safety. With the five red flags, Hoar 汇丰国际线路检测中心国际线路检测中心 is trying to create a culture where safety is a shared responsibility. If each individual worker is doing his or her best to eliminate hazards by identifying the red flags, then suddenly there isn’t just one safety person on the jobsite. Instead, everyone shares responsibility for both their own behaviors as well as eliminating unsafe conditions. It’s the “brother’s keeper” concept. People become responsible for themselves and their colleagues.

It’s a common but significant misperception that the superintendent or safety officer is responsible for safety. In reality, everyone must engage to fully eliminate hazards.

The construction community needs to provide workers with proper training and put processes in place that help workers use the tools at hand to do their best and safest work. That commitment to preparation, coupled with personal responsibility, could be a driving force for change to reduce incidences and injuries.

Vice President of Safety Bart Wilder is responsible for all safety-related oversight and compliance on projects across the company, working closely with project teams to make certain employees are properly trained and equipped to meet the daily safety challenges of a project. He visits job sites regularly and performs safety inspections and coaches project teams on evaluating risks and ways to mitigate those risks.

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