Eliminating the Fatal Four
At Stafford, we want everyone on our crews to go home to their families in the same condition they showed up for work that morning. Statistically speaking, in our industry, that’s sometimes easier said than done.
Consider this sobering fact: 20% of all private-sector workplace deaths in 2013 were construction-related. That’s 1 in 5 worker fatalities. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), eliminating the “fatal four” would save the lives of nearly 500 construction workers a year. Falls lead the pack, accounting for more than one-third of the fatal four numbers cited by OSHA:
- Falls —36.9%
- Blunt-force trauma —10.3%
- Electrocutions — 8.9%
- Caught-in/between — 2.6%
We fight the Fatal Four by constantly reinforcing the importance of adhering to sound safety measures in the field. Our guys meet once a week, on Friday mornings, to discuss a new safety topic. Attendance is required for “Toolbox Talks,” and we pass a sign-in sheet to keep a running record of who attends and who doesn’t. We keep it short, causal and friendly in tone but serious in topic and approach.
Topics vary from week to week, but are typically pertinent to ongoing projects. Our Friday morning toolbox talks include safety management issues such as compliance with Federal and state regulations, scaffolding and ladder safety tips, proper equipment handling, potential electrical hazards, and weather-related dangers.
Taking this time together every week not only helps the team stay safe, sound, and on track with ongoing projects, but also keeps safety foremost in our minds when we’re on the job. It’s protection that is proactive, and helps ensure that Stafford workers hold themselves and each other accountable for staying accident-free. It also gives seasoned crew members a chance to mentor new hires and younger workers, and opens the floor for discussions that may save someone’s life. And while zero accidents is good for the bottom line in terms of risk management, the real victory is making sure our guys make it home for dinner every night.