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Howard’s Weekly Roundup - January 27 - Part 2.

We’ve separated Saturday’s Weekly Roundup into two posts for more easy consumption. This section includes comments from two nationally recognized professionals in our industry who commented on safety, employment law, and industry issues that concern them.

  • Comments from a Nationally-respected Twitter-savvy Woman Professional.

l#OSHA: concerns over shutdown effect and lack of leadership, even though Sweatt is doing a good job.

#WORKPLACE SAFETY: The very real idea that we overload workers, especially new hires with Too Much Information - TMI. Safety professionals should emphasize three or four key targets that get people killed - engage supervisors to skill train - get worker buy-in to focus on only 3 or 4 things

daily.#podcast - the series "Slow Burn" by Slate about Watergate. A different look at the downfall of a president and an introspective take about this scandal. For someone whose interest in politics began with this...pretty interesting.

#Employment Law: (subtle) harassment and discrimination and lack of diversity, especially, in construction. #womensMarch2018

#Books: Why Women - the Leadership imperative by Jeffery Tobias Halter.

From a Nationally recognized Safety Engineer and Expert Witness.

What challenges do you see employees facing in 2018?

  • Finding qualified labor to fill the workforces at all levels .Competition for good employment.  Finding work that challenges them but also a work environment that satisfies them so that they are not always looking for the next job.
  • Do you have any recommendations to employers for improving workplace safety in 2018?

  • More management involvement in a real sense.  Good communication and interaction with all levels. Walk the Talk.  Provide good hazard specific training that truly addresses the hazards that their employees face.  Less emphasis on the “IN” training like OSHA 10 & 30.
  • What can employers do to get sued less or to avoid suits?

  • Develop good comprehensive programs, communicate them to all employees and fully enact, support and enforce those programs. 
  • Do you think that harassment and related concerns will expand into all industries in 2018?

  • Yes absolutely.  The fear of many, right or wrong,  is that it will be politically motivated and not factually investigated.  Could be too much knee jerk reaction and a reluctance to look at both sides in full. 
  • What do you think makes a solid supervisor?

  • A person has good experience in the areas they supervise.  Has good communication and people skills.  Recognizes that they are supervisor not necessarily a friend to the employees.  Is actively and in an ongoing basis trained in good supervisory leadership.  Is empathetic to situations and personal employee needs but also fully supports management’s philosophies and goals.
  • How could we improve supervisor development?

  • There needs to more training in supervisory processes.  Too many supervisors are not equipped to take on that role.  Training should include communication skills, relationships, some accounting/cost/business management.  Supervisors must also know that they have full support of management.  Management must provide funding and time for supervisors to receive and practice the tools they need.
  • How can we better use technology in safety?

  • Use of Field-based App Safety Systems can greatly improve communication, information transfer and ease the load on field supervision.  They can also provide the supervisors with tools and also ”finger-tip” information to help them do their jobs.  Management can get real time information and more easily evaluate data to allow for more progressive decision making as opposed to reaction decision making.  Use of GPS and in cab technology in equipment can also enhance production and improve safety.
  • With that said, I believe that the biggest challenge is control of Social Media and employees recognizing that they CAN get along for a full work day with it.  I believe that Social Media will go down in history as a major impact in the deterioration of our culture, human relationships and personal well-being.

  • How can we more effectively maintain safety at multiemployer sites?
  • More team efforts by all contractors.  Owners, CM’s GC’s and also A/E’s need to take an active role in design, planning and executing safety oversight on multi-employer sites.  But all subs and employees must understand their responsibilities and accountabilities.  Job site orientation that communicates all of the above must be properly done before employees start work on sites.Recognizing the employees, especially experienced ones have something to offer.  Involve employees in development of site processes.  Bring back better mentoring programs for new employees.  Use of committees can be affective if NOT too big and if they actually meet and set goals and then assure their execution?
  • Can one teach judgement and character in the workplace?

  • Some of those traits must be engrained within the person.  But some can be trained with good training programs, follow-up on that training, coaching and correction where necessary.

  • How do you think that employers can better engage employees and create a workplace that motivates employees, as well as making a profit?

  • There needs to be more development of site specific plans that truly address the hazards and safety issues on their projects.  Proper responsibility and authority must be communicated to all contractors and then enforced.  Safety progress reviews need to be done weekly with all parties.  Planning for major activities, moving into new phases or dealing with special situations should always be done and communicated. 

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