OSHA’s Outreach Training Program and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) have developed a new OSHA 30-Hour construction training elective module: Foundations for Safety Leadership (FSL) to respond to a “training gap identified by contractors, unions and other industry stakeholders” when it comes to practicing safety leadership to improve workers' health and safety and jobsite safety climate and reduce incidents. The key purpose of safety leadership is to improve safety climate and overall safety culture in an organization. Workers involved on a jobsite can implement company’s safety policies, procedures and practices more effectively once they understand and practice the five (5) critical leadership skills.
The FSL module was developed collaboratively by a 17-member Curriculum Development Team (CDT), including construction industry experts, OSHA 10-hour and OSHA 30-hour outreach trainers, health and safety professionals, and instructional design specialists. They defined safety leader as those who have the “courage to demonstrate that s/he values safety by working and communicating with team members to identify and limit hazardous situations even in the presence of other job pressures such as scheduling and costs.” Note the word “courage” as it takes courage for a safety leader to not only speak up, but also to continuously seek innovative solutions improve safety and reduce workplace incidents, despite being under pressure from project timelines and deadlines. Everyone on a jobsite, regardless of their title or role, should be trained and understand the critical importance of being an effective safety leader.
The cost of poor safety leadership is tremendous. It can result in injuries and illnesses or even fatalities, decrease productivity and efficiency, as well as induce direct and indirect costs. This new 2.5-hour FSL module educates construction workers of their safety responsibilities, why safety leadership is important, explains five critical leadership skills and provides specific actions they can take to be an effective safety leader:
- Leads by example by establishing safety expectations as a core value, sharing safety vision with others, and “walking the talk”
- Engages and empowers team members to report hazard, safety concerns and near-misses, provide solutions and stop work if necessary
- Actively listens and practices 3-way communication by hearing what team members are saying and having the person repeat the message they heard to make sure it’s correctly, thoroughly understood and remembered
- DEvelops team members through teaching, coaching and feedback to make sure it’s done in accordance with FIST principle: Facts, Impact, Suggestions, Timely
- Recognizes team members for a job well-done by privately or publicly acknowledging them for going above and beyond when it comes to their well demonstrated safety efforts, practices, performance and behavior