How To Have Conversations About Safety With Your Team

How To Have Conversations About Safety With Your Team

It is common for contractors to be faced with managing larger, more complex projects these days. They have to keep on top of budgets, deadlines, collaborators, changing of orders, progress reports, payroll, safety, compliance requirements and much more.

Managing construction projects comes with a swathe of regulations that present their own challenges. Noncompliance issues can lead to delays or stoppages, and so contractors should do everything they can to have good, effective safety conversations.

Safety is not the most engaging topic of conversation, especially for a busy employee. So the way that workers will deal with safety conversations hinges less on the actual message, but more on the method by which it is delivered. With this in mind, it makes sense for supervisors to invest in learning how best to have compliance conversations.

Learn the compliance regulations

There are some common compliance regulations that should be relevant in any compliance conversation:

        Contractual agreements between owners, contractors and subcontractors.

        Building codes.

        Insurance and bonding requirements.

        Credit and background checks.

        Wage and union payroll agreements.

        Lien requirements.

        Safety regulations.

Starting a conversation armed with up-to-date information will make the entire process smoother and more comfortable for both sides. A lot of compliance regulations are easy to learn, since the OSHA standards for the construction industry apply throughout.

Other areas such as building codes and insurance requirements will change by location which is why you should be thorough in checking the relevant authorities in your city and state.

Reduce The Manual Compliance Processes

After having checked the requirements, it is pertinent to share the knowledge across all relevant parties. Having a reliable system for this is also essential for keeping track of compliance data. 

Paper copies of compliance data are often lost or misplaced and collecting them can lead to delays. Compliance is also an ever-changing beast and digital copies can be updated much easier than physical sheets. Having easy access to information throughout the organisation helps you stay ahead of possible compliance document expirations.

With all the relevant information and a system to help share it, all that remains are the actual conversations. It can be a sensitive subject and there are some helpful tips to handling compliance conversations well.

Top Tips On Having Safety Conversations At Work

  • Approach With Humility

It is recommended for any safety leader or supervisor heading into safety conversations to avoid a know-it-all dynamic. Even if you’ve researched the issue correctly, it always helps to enter conversations with humility and an assumption that learning is a two way process.  

That means don’t give lectures and avoid repetition. Neither party is having a safety conversation to show off; it should be an exchange with the goal of making everyone safer.

  • Find Out More About What They Already Know

If you’re working with a contractor or employee who has interviewed well and shown that they understand health and safety regulations, then asking them about how they work is always a good place to start.

You’ll likely be surprised at how much they know, and this is the beauty of having these knowledge-sharing conversations.

  • Always Seek Confirmation

Before finishing any compliance interaction, make sure to seek confirmation. Perhaps ask the contractor or employee to summarize the conversation in a non-demanding manner. Ask people what they took from the conversation and also what they understood to be priority points. This can be a chance to straighten out any misunderstandings or inconsistencies in the compliance regulations.

At the end of the day, open and honest communication between teams is the key to keeping the workplace safe for everyone. Regular checking between parties that share their knowledge and experience will lead to the right results.