The psychology of safety: why it is important to understand

Every construction environment can be seen as a hazardous environment by nature. Debris and materials can cause a lot of harm, not only to the project itself but the workers involved in the construction. This is why taking active steps towards creating a safer work environment is something that needs to be at the top of your priority list.

There are many ways to create a safer work environment. Setting up safety rules and placing safety signs and reminders in different areas are among the things you can do to get started. The most effective way of creating a safe construction environment, however, is by having a culture of safety, to begin with. To develop a strong culture of safety, you must first understand the psychology of safety.

Understanding the Challenges
Safety codes and regulations are put in place for a reason. They are there to prevent safety-related accidents from happening. More importantly, safety regulations are helping construction companies protect their workers throughout a construction project.

The same regulations, however, are often seen as barriers. Setting up safety measures, training employees, and getting them to comply with the safety rules and procedures are tedious steps to take; understandably so, because there is no understanding of just how important those safety measures are.

Many employees aren’t willing to change the way they work for safety reasons, adding more challenges to the mix. Something that has been done for years isn’t easy to change, especially when there haven’t been any accidents involving that particular procedure.

Nevertheless, you should not take habits or routines as excuses. Safety changes still need to happen. Sure, there have been no accidents to-date, but that doesn’t mean accidents will not happen in the future. It is also important to note that the regulations forcing workers to change their habits may arise from accidents that happened elsewhere.

An Objective Approach
The challenges we discussed previously are not easy to overcome, but they can be mitigated with a better understanding and an improved corporate culture that focuses on safety. You can start by promoting the understanding that safety measures and regulations are designed to be objective.

Safety risks and concerns are very subjective. They depend on individual workers and attending to each risk individually isn’t possible. Safety measures, on the other hand, are designed to be objective. They take into account different types of workers and work environments.

The more workers understand this, the easier it will be to develop a corporate culture with safety at its core. Growing this level of understanding requires training sessions, on-site consistency, and more.

Taking the First Steps
With a better understanding of why safety measures are important, it is now time to take further steps towards establishing a strong culture of safety. By definition, shared beliefs that safety is important must be established, and there are steps to take in order to achieve this particular objective.

You can start by showing more empathy on-site. This is something that managers and supervisors must do as well. Empathy allows you to connect on a more personal level with workers and other stakeholders. As you get closer to them, you can also ignite interest and enthusiasm for new and improved safety procedures.

You also need to make yourself accessible at all times, especially when it comes to safety-related issues. Let workers ask questions so they can understand the new regulations better. Do thorough assessments with the entire team and make time to do evaluations too. The more stakeholders are involved, the more you will see a culture of safety shaping up.

Last but not least, use education and training to your advantage. Never take training lightly. It is an effective instrument for introducing new procedures and reshaping the work habits of your employees. It is also a great way to incite better understanding and interest.

Safety Training for Stakeholders
You will notice that the word stakeholders is used instead of workers. This is because everyone needs to be involved in the process of creating a culture of safety. It is also necessary to tailor training and onboarding programs to each stakeholder.

Workers who spend a lot of time on the site need to take health and safety courses designed to protect them as workers. Supervisors, on the other hand, must receive more in-depth training on how to maintain a safe work environment on the site.

Other stakeholders need to get involved too. Business owners and managers must know the challenges faced by workers and supervisors in the field, along with the best ways to mitigate safety risks and challenges. There are many different health and safety training courses available in the UK, and you can look at more information on courses here.

You’ll be surprised by how tackling safety issues from a psychological point of view is very effective. With the involvement of everyone, a strong safety culture can be established in no time.