Craig Atkinson is the VP of communications and strategic services at The Walsh Group, where he is responsible for the company’s overarching communications, brand strategy and visual identity. He develops and implements a comprehensive strategic marketing and communications program to advance the image of Walsh at the local, state, national and global level. Atkinson served as the 2017 Safety Week Communications Committee chairman, where he led the communications strategy and execution of Safety Week. Visit constructionsafetyweek.com.
Safety Week was held May 1-5, 2017, and gave construction businesses the opportunity to re-energize their teams and remind everyone on the jobsite about a shared commitment to safety. This year’s Safety Week theme was “It’s In Our Hands.” This was not only an opportunity to highlight hand safety (particularly relevant considering the majority of injuries that result in time off of work are hand injuries), but a chance to remind everyone on every jobsite that we all play a role in creating a safe work environment.
We spoke to five safety leaders representing the firms that sponsored Safety Week, and asked them for their thoughts on safety—you can check out their insights below.
1. Communicate Clearly
MIKE FLYNN, RSP, Corporate Safety Director, Barnard
Clear communication—Never forget safety is about people. Talk to everyone who is performing the work to help them understand how it can be done safely. The expression I use is: “Prevention saves pain, profits and paperwork.”
2. Protect Your Hands
DAN TOMCZAK, Site Safety Manager, Nicholson Construction Company
Always be aware of nondominant hands when performing tasks that could place your other hand in harm’s way. And remember that your fingernails aren’t tools. If you need to pick or scrape something, grab a tool. Repeated tasks can cause strain on joints and wrists. Take a quick break to stretch and loosen hands and fingers throughout the day.
3. Safety Starts at the Top
CRAIG LESURF, Vice President, The Walsh Group Canada
Leaders need to lead. It is everyone’s responsibility to show leadership when it comes to safety. Lead by example and others will follow. Safety is everyone’s job. It’s not enough to make your own surroundings safe. We all impact one another’s safety, and must always look out for one another.
4. Plan for Safety
JAMES MOONEY, Head of EH&S, Americas Lendlease
Plan the work, and work the plan. When things change, stop and revise the plan. When planning a task, one needs to ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then, plan accordingly. Never rush or cut corners for safety.
5. Make Safety a Priority
PAUL ZIEGLER, Vice President, Safety, Allan Myers
Make safety a way of thinking—a part of your culture. Always look out for the lives in which we are entrusted with. Make safety everyone’s responsibility. HSE professionals are key partners with operations in the journey to achieve incident- and injury-free.