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Is safety management today more cult than culture?

Over the last three decades, the safety of the construction environment has improved dramatically. Yet, construction sites are still one of the most dangerous workplaces the world over. As a result, today’s safety management efforts are focused on ensuring that no amount of harm is considered acceptable on a construction site. This commitment to the “zero harm” standard is now regularly included on company logos, plastered across work site and is a mantra that has become a part of standard industry speak.

However, all of this focus on zero harm, and the approach that it entails, begs a few questions that very few people are asking:

  • Are we actually making construction a safer place to work?
  • Are safety statistics and field reporting becoming a more or less reliable source of information to improve the wellbeing of our people?
  • Does it drive the behaviours and actions from our people that we intended?
  • Are we bringing safety and our work methods closer together or are we driving them further apart?
  • Are we making conversations about safer ways of doing work easier and more open, or are we creating a language of political correctness?

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