Today is World Brain Day! The importance of safety on site is brought to the fore today as we take a look at some of the psychological factors that determine a well-functioning and safe construction force in the country’s most dangerous industry. According to JELF, 32% of workplace deaths occurred on a construction site in 2013/2014; with such a huge percentage, we think about how the mind can be conditioned to take precautions on site.
Traditionally, every establishment and company employ a hierarchical system that anchors certain levels of empowerment, with the leader, of course, being at the top. Psychologists Spreitzer and Quinn explain that psychologically empowered individuals ‘see themselves as having freedom…as having a personal connection to the organization, confident about their abilities and as able to make a difference’. Logistically speaking then, a psychologically empowered individual breeds a psychologically empowered team (phew!).
When a team trusts in its leader, a structured strategy is adhered to which ultimately results in higher levels of safety.
As any psychologist and construction professional would agree, communication is key on a construction site; any miscommunication between the leader and their subordinates could potentially result in an accident.
Psychology today explains the key components of excellent communication include:
- Being aware
- Choosing words wisely
- And checking in
Bad habits on site can have a detrimental effect on safety. Taking shortcuts is often adopted as a means to achieve a task quickly – but this is not necessarily safe. Psychologists have determined that learning new habits and disbanding of old is achievable after three weeks of consistent action. Retraining construction workers to follow proper safety methods means repeating properly executed procedures on a daily basis – et voila! New habits are formed.
The mind is a powerful thing, so use it to be safe on site, and (don’t) break a leg – Happy World Brain Day!
Author: Kayley Loveridge
- Human Safety and Risk Management; A Psychological Perspective. – Ian Glendon / Sharon G Clark