Safety is arguably the most important factor on any jobsite or within any construction-related business. It’s so important, in fact, that the industry observes several safety-related events throughout the year, including Construction Safety Week and OSHA’s National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction every May. This year’s theme for Construction Safety Week was “Be Present. Be Focused. Be Safe.” The daily lessons provided by the team behind Construction Safety Week addressed this theme by pointing out just how preventable construction-related fatalities are and encouraging construction women and men across the industry to continue having safety discussions throughout the year, even on basic safety topics.
Here are a few key messages from 2021’s Construction Safety Week that construction women can use to improve jobsite safety.
The key to safety is a focus on total wellbeing – at work and at home
To have a clear focus on the construction site, the body and the mind must be taken care of at all times. This means eating a healthy and balanced diet in addition to getting proper rest. Fatigue from lack of sleep or overworking can cause anyone to lose focus and could lead to fatal, preventable mistakes in the workplace. Mental health is also just as crucial for mental clarity and physical wellness. It’s important that construction women and men know that there are resources within the industry to help with depression, drug abuse and addiction, or other serious mental illnesses.
Safety is a team effort
Looking out for your own safety on a construction site is not enough to keep the workplace safe. Construction women and men must understand all safety precautions so thoroughly that they can aid others on the jobsite as well. Being focused at all times will also help workers see the signs of someone who may be struggling with their own focus. When construction women and men are looking out for each other, everyone wins.
Make your concerns heard and be relentless
No one can truly be safe on a jobsite if there are mistakes being made and going unreported. And outside of small mistakes such as noticing a co-worker that isn’t wearing every piece of PPE required, intimidation or verbal abuse should also never be ignored. Construction women should always feel like they have a voice in the industry and can speak up if they are feeling singled out among their male counterparts on the jobsite whether the issue is directly related to poor safety regulations or if they otherwise feel unsafe within their work environment.
In addition to voicing concerns within the workplace, all construction women and men should encourage their teams and managers to participate in events like Construction Safety Week and hold safety stand-downs regularly. A relentless commitment to revisiting the basics of safety can help to ensure everyone takes training and precautions seriously.
How NAWIC is working to keep construction women safe on the job
In the past, the construction industry hasn’t always been able to provide equal opportunities for a safe work environment. Many construction women have had difficulties in acquiring safety gear that fits properly, including basic equipment such as hard hats, harnesses, and vests. As more construction women rise to prominent roles within the industry, it’s becoming increasingly crucial that construction women’s safety needs are addressed during these annual events. In addition to acting as a resource for construction women on general safety procedures across the industry, NAWIC has made safety a core part of their outreach mission. In 2013, NAWIC and OSHA partnered under OSHA’s Alliance program to give even more training opportunities and educational content to members to protect them at work. This has included access to webinars, updates on COVID-19 procedures during the height of the pandemic, safety gear checklists, and more. The partnership was renewed again in 2017 for a five-year alliance with a focus on hazards in the industry particular to construction women, including properly-fitting PPE selections, workplace intimidation and violence, and sanitation.
The National Association of Women in Construction has over 115 chapters across the United States. With membership open to all construction women, NAWIC is able to connect members with amazing resources to help them gain confidence in their abilities and develop more leadership skills. Any construction women interested in joining NAWIC can apply for membership by using either the online form or downloadable application to fill out and mail in - both of which are available on the NAWIC website. There are also several membership options available for flexible pricing and membership terms. To learn more about the unity of construction women through membership in NAWIC, contact us on our social media pages, our website, or use our “find a NAWIC chapter near you” tool.
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