“They were killed because a wealthy man was concerned about the bottom line and nothing else.” This is direct quote by the Assistant District Attorney, Eli Cherkasky relating to the May, 2008 crane collapse in NYC that killed 2 construction workers. In a February 22nd WSJ article titled “Crane Owner Is Tried After 2008 Collapse” the articles author, Tamer El Ghobashy, paints a very grim picture of the owners of a construction firm allegedly responsible for the high profile Crane collapse.
The point is not the news however. Every day when you go to work the possibility exists, especially on a construction site, that one or several careless moves could have devastating consequences to your business. Like many facets of our life, we take fundamental safety for granted.
We know you are aware of this already, however in the spirit of practicing solid fundamentals may we suggest the following so you don’t end up spending a small fortune on Construction Liability Insurance or worse, end up in the WSJ & NY Daily News like Mr. James Lomma of NY Crane & Equipment Corp.
5 Safety Tips That Pay Dividends On Your Construction Liability Insurance
1) Just because you hired a Site Safety Coordinator your job isn’t done. Safety is a culture that flows from the top down. Senior management can’t delegate it simply with the intent of legal compliance. Legal compliance is secondary and should be a minimum baseline for deploying resources.
2) Every new project, every new budget year should have a line item of committed resources towards safety as well as a ROI number attached to those resources. Safety does pay a dividend although too few bother to understand and calculate it.
3) Ownership and accountability is incumbent upon everyone at your job site starting with the owners. You win as a team, you lose as a team. Offer up a team bonus if they achieve certain safety goals and enforce penalties for violations.
4) Set safety goals up front before the project starts or at the beginning of each trade year. Review the numbers, set goals and benchmarks. Don’t know how to do that? We can help if you fill out a 4 question FORM so we may send you our spreadsheet template. Share it and communicate it often with the team. Send out weekly reminders on where the team is in achieving those goals; keep it in the fore front.
5) If you don’t know where to start in terms of building and coordinating a safety plan call in a professional who can help get you started. It costs money yes, but ask Mr. Lomma how much it costs when you don’t, or get it wrong.
If you understand the true cost of a loss, insurance claim, or injury to your profit margin then it will be much easier to commit a fraction of those management resources to safety. It’s not just good business; it’s the right thing to do for your people and your community.