Construction Safety Week 2021
May 3-7 officially marks Construction Safety Week, and you may notice a few changes around town reflecting that. For example, while you’re driving down any Texas highways, you’ll see the LED-lit signs reminding you to watch out for construction crews while driving. The reminder shouldn’t stick with you for just this week only, though. While you’re zipping through traffic, you’re actually going through someone’s work area, so avoid the temptation to get to your destination a few minutes early. If you drive like a crazy person, you are risking not only your safety, but the safety of the construction crews working diligently to improve the very roadway you’re driving on.
Construction Safety Week was officially created in 2014 for workers in this specific industry to take a solid week to focus on curriculum teaching the most important aspect of a construction job. Historically, in the last 20 or so years, safety has been more of a priority than it was, say, even 100 years ago; however, the latest numbers recorded are higher than ever on construction-related deaths across the United States. The 2019 count was over 1,000 deaths, which is up over 5% than it was in 2018, which can be relayed to an increase in more dangerous tools and projects in the workforce.
Architecture can be a fascinating thing. Buildings and high rises have jagged edges and interesting changes in structure that draw the eye to be aesthetically pleased. This also means that there are more construction hoists, crane operators, taller levels, more steelwork, and generally more dangerous structures all around. In order to make these more interesting features, even in the interiors of a building, special equipment and tools are used, such as large-format marble pieces, special stains, and lumber saws. Equipment operation can lead to workplace injuries and even deaths, so another reinforcement of workplace safety can help deter those.
Dangerous tools and more dangerous projects are definitely worth mentioning during Construction Safety Week, but one uncommon aspect that the industry would like to focus on this year is mental clarity. Outside distractions and personal dilemmas can distract workers from paying attention during a dangerous task. Imagine making a peanut butter jelly sandwich while there is a tiger in the kitchen with you. What seems like a simple task can be daunting when outside reasons are making your adrenaline kick in.
Now, more than ever, Project Managers, Construction Superintendents, and C-level leadership are being encouraged to reach out to their employees and do mental health check-ins along with performance reviews. Divorce among parents, problems with children in school, aging grandparents, mortgages, groceries, and bills are common issues that creep into the brain during sometimes-monotonous work, and the best way to keep this from happening is to check in with mental health professionals or counselors. Some construction companies have a designated HR employee to review these situations and find help where they can to keep the employee distraction.
In case you missed it: Check out “April Showers Bring May Floods” and make sure the incoming storms won’t ruin more than your weekend winery plans.