Raising the Bar in Safety Communication

Indy Chamber News Archives

Improving safety results through better engagement at the top
By: Pepper Construction

The construction industry remains one of the most dangerous occupations, with the number of severe incidents continuing to rise. It’s a problem that should demand everyone’s attention, including owners.

This year, we implemented a new idea on one of our projects that is taking safety to the next level within our own organization. While successful safety programs are built around a sense of ownership by those doing the work, we found that better engagement in the field also means better engagement at the highest level. 

Studies support our belief that a high level of engagement by senior management can have a positive effect on safety performance. But with all the concerns demanding the attention of our leaders, how is it even possible for them to be engaged at such a finite level? It’s one of the allusive challenges we face. Often, leadership is never even aware of the day-to-day activities until there is a crisis. How do you foster a culture deeply rooted in prevention when this gap exists?

Rolls Royce’s one million-square-foot renovation project currently under construction spans two separate buildings that are divided by a highway. The project’s stakeholders are located across campus, offsite and overseas – creating the perfect conditions for disconnected communication.

A project of this magnitude exposes the limitations of traditional methods for critical group and broadcast communications like safety alerts. Emails are easily ignored. Texting is limited to the contact numbers that are known. Phone calls lead to a prolonged chain of communication, and jobsite meetings are untimely. A centralized and streamlined process was needed, and the team turned to technology for the answer.

Together with Trinity Safety Group, Pepper Construction researched and recommended Zinc, a mobile messaging app, to bridge communication gaps on the project. The platform broadcasts specific messages to targeted audiences instantly, within a secure environment. It helps with safety planning, reporting and recognition.

Rolls Royce is part of the distribution and provides information and approvals for a more rapid response because they are contributing to the same conversation simultaneously. Rolls Royce’s Health, Safety and Environment Executive represents the 4th largest user of the system, behind Trinity Safety Group, Pepper Construction and the combined safety team. He regularly tracks activities and follows up on specific information with a personal message. So far the job is 98 percent safe, and the owner’s role is a big part of that success.

We believe the frequency and timeliness of the communication makes a difference so we’re testing the platform on three other projects atPepper to create a closer connection between our safety performance and our organizational leadership.

When all of us work together and embrace the same goals, we can learn from each other, expand our influence – and save lives. It’s time to reverse the trend.

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