Safety in Construction: Developing & Maintaining A Positive Safety Culture
By Dena English, QHSE Manager
At Sarah Constructions, safety is a core component of successfully delivering projects – and it’s become a passion of mine.
As QHSE Manager, ensuring the safety of everyone who works at or with Sarah Constructions is my job but I’m not alone in taking responsibility for these outcomes. Sarah Constructions’ approach to safety comes from the top-down. It permeates from our directors and senior management through all levels of the business.
What is Sarah’s approach to safety in construction?
Here at Sarah, our safety motto is, “think about it, talk about it, care about it” and talking about it is central to the positive safety culture we’ve cultivated.
We are an open, communicative business. Collaboration is one of our core business values and where safety is concerned, it couldn’t be more important. We engage and communicate with stakeholders, sharing knowledge and expertise to ensure a safer workplace. We always report transparently to stakeholders and authorities. We encourage all workers to ask for advice when they’re unsure, to report all issues and make sure we’re learning and improving all the time.
Developing a procedure and blindly following it is not how we work. We are continually improving our safety practices with innovative thinking. For example, we use state-of-the-art electronic systems designed to get personnel out of the office and on to site safely. We have also started collaborating with universities for safety research purposes. This is an exciting new area for us and I look forward to the results derived from these partnerships.
Focus on education and putting people first
We also began the Sarah Trainee Safety Officer program in 2020. This was a new initiative to offer a structured pathway for individuals who are seeking to build a career in safety. It is often difficult to find an entry level position within safety, but our program gives participants that all-important foot in the door.
Trainees learn the fundamentals of site safety management over the course of 12 months while working with a Safety Officer mentor on a construction project. The program has been hugely successful, with both 2020 trainees being promoted to Safety Officers in 2021. We currently have 4 trainees who began the program in 2021.
Our commitment to safety aligns with our commitment to people. Safety is all about people, and our people-first approach means it’s therefore a part of everything we do. It’s part of every training program; from Cadets and Graduates to Trainee Supervisors and Trainee Safety Officers. It’s an agenda item at all meetings.
We can’t escape the systems and paperwork that are an inherent part of safety management, but it’s our people that make sure we are safe. It’s our people’s approach to safety that drives our positive safety culture and ensures it’s not just a ‘tick and flick’ exercise.
Ensuring safety is a passion, not a chore
“Without passion safety can be compromised. Passion is observing the system working. Passion is helping and observing peers grow in their profession.”
Jeremy Elvin (QHSE Advisor)
Like a lot of people I know, I fell into working in safety. It’s not something I saw myself doing but I genuinely love it. I get huge job satisfaction through helping others, educating and solving problems. Our passion for keeping our workers safe makes Sarah a business a leader in this space.
What underpins this passion is the belief that all workplace injuries and incidents can be prevented. So everything we do is designed to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety—and of course we have the certifications to support this approach. Sarah has a comprehensive Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) certified to ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, and accredited under the Federal Safety (OFSC) Accreditation Scheme.
To find out more about Work Health & Safety at Sarah Constructions, contact the team today.