You may have noticed that we recently launched a completely new website. Building it was quite a project, and T-2 days to launch, our designer/web guru got a phone call from the developer. His instructions--in order to fix a bug, he would be deleting all of the products. Two days to launch, and he wanted to delete every single product on the website! To make matters worse, he had to leave halfway through the process. Just the thought of this made me panicky! But...the developer is a professional. He knows what he’s doing. He has the know-how and tools to fix the problem. As nervous as we were, we only had one choice--to TRUST him!
Trust plays an important role in relationships throughout our lives. You may have learned about Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development in school. The first stage is trust vs. mistrust. Babies who trust their caregivers are more secure and confident. Babies who mistrust their caregivers live in fear and anxiety. As a parent of tweens, I can definitely breathe easier knowing that I can trust my kids to do the right thing (for the most part). Expert couples researcher, John Gottman, has studied what makes relationships successful for over 40 years. What makes or breaks a marriage? Trust and betrayal. Anyone who has had any relationship with another person knows that trust is good and mistrust (or betrayal) can ruin a relationship and lead to a world of hurt!
Let’s take this trust to work. Tower climbers, linemen, constructions workers, arborists can be in dangerous situations at any time on the job. As Mike pointed out in a previous blog post, tower climbing is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. According to OSHA, 1 in 5 work-related deaths was in construction, the main cause being falls. The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) also lists falls as the leading source of death and injury on the job. In fact, the main cause of any work-related death in the industries mentioned is falls. So who or what are you going to trust when working at heights?
First of all, don’t confuse trust with overconfidence! Wishful thinking does not prevent accidents. What was the most frequently cited violation of OSHA standards in 2016? Fall protection. Wearing fall protection is one of the different areas of trust needed on the job site:
- Employers need to trust their employees will adhere to safe practices and wear the proper safety equipment.
- Employees need to trust their employers’ for a safe workplace, proper equipment, and training.
- Co-workers need to trust each other to work safely.
- Workers need to be able to trust their safety equipment, their skills, and their intuition.
Just like with any relationship, any breach of trust along the way could do a lot of damage!
Here are some ways to build trust in the workplace when it comes to safety based off of OSHA’s Plan, Provide, Train steps.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s annoying when people quote this, but it does have some truth to it. It is especially important when you could be risking life or limb! Planning should start long before that day’s work. Each industry has its own unique challenges and hazards to plan for. OSHA has a sample fall protection plan for residential construction. NATE offers a few options for tower climbers. Since each job is unique, plans should be reviewed and communicated with everyone involved before work starts. Equipment should be inspected. Proper signage should be posted. First aid kits should be stocked and emergency plans should be in place just in case something would happen! You need to trust that you have the right people, proper equipment, and that everyone is on the same page to work effectively and safely.
Get the right gear. Why don’t workers wear fall protection or other safety gear? Ask around, and you’ll hear the same answer over and over. It’s uncomfortable, and it gets in the way. Luckily, manufacturers are continually making improvements. Take the new Exofit Strata from DBI/Sala. It is designed to be lightweight, cool, unobtrusive, and easy to use.
Another option is a kit. Kits contain everything a climber, lineman, arborist, or construction worker needs on the job whether they are just starting out or looking to upgrade. We can put together a custom kit specifically for your organization. Contact our sales team for more information.
All the safety equipment in the world isn’t going to help if it’s not used properly. Employees need to know how to put on harnesses, what to look for when inspecting them, how to properly tie off, etc. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) created the “Safety Pays. Falls Cost” campaign with resources and tools for employers and employees to create a safer workplace. Midwest Unlimited is partnering with different organizations to provide training courses. Keep an eye on our blog for more information!
Taking the time to make plans, train workers, and purchase and use the proper equipment is not only going to make the job site safer, but also build trust among employers and employees.
Does your company or crew have any additional steps or programs that are proven to reduce worksite accidents that would be good to share? Please let us know in the comments or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like them featured in an upcoming article.
Finally, trusting a website developer is a different scenario than the trust levels needed for anyone working at heights. You should be able to trust where you are getting any of your safety gear, tools, or training from, though. You can trust that when you work with Midwest Unlimited, you can place an order easily, get the best pricing, and on-time delivery - our new website has made sure of that! Contact our product experts with specific questions, they’ll be happy to help you!
Midwest Unlimited: Unlimited Solutions. Immeasurable Safety.