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The seven steps

  1. Assess how you're doing
  2. Find the root of the issues
  3. Make it fit with what you do
  4. Lead this in your company
  5. What's in it for your team
  6. How your team can carry it out
  7. Make it last

Step 6: How your team can carry it out

Introduction

This step will help you give your workers the right kinds of skills and knowledge so that they work in a safer and healthier way.

Two workers in a marked-off area preparing to operate some machinery

Knowing what is going on around you

Workers need to know at all times what is going on around them when they are working on site. This is known as 'situational awareness'. Improving situational awareness is crucial for reducing the likelihood of mistakes that can lead to accidents or ill health.

Key tool

Workers need to be competent to do their job. This doesn’t only mean that they have the skills and knowledge required for the various construction trades. It is also about understanding the job behaviours that make the difference between good and bad health and safety performance (eg walking on by an obvious hazard versus doing something about it).

The following questions will help you think about the types of competencies (behaviours, skills and knowledge) that will encourage your workers to see health and safety as important. For example:

  • the ability to listen
  • knowing how to give and receive feedback
  • being assertive
  • being able to stop work in unsafe situations

Remember, even if your result was 'Great keep it up', you must regularly review your performance to ensure this standard is maintained.

Would your workers say that they know the hazards on site and have the skills to tell their workmates about these?

Yes: Great! Keep it up.

No: Engaging your workers in risk management provides guidance on how to engage your workers in risk assessments and encourage them to communicate risks with each other.

Would your workers say that inductions, safety briefings and toolbox talks make them aware of health and safety and the risks and hazards in their job?

Yes: Great! Keep it up.

No: Effective Communications For Safety Briefings, Toolbox Talks and Inductions will help you to communicate effectively and get your message across.

Are your workers always aware of what is going on around them and the potential hazards on site?

Yes: Great! Keep it up.

No: Knowing What Is Going On Around You provides guidance on how to make your workers aware of their surroundings.

Would your workers say they are able to stop work in unsafe situations?

Yes: Great! Keep it up.

No: The information sheets on SLAM (Stop, Look, Assess, Manage) and STOP! will enable your workers to stop work in unsafe situations.

Further tools

It may be valuable to revisit some of the information presented earlier in this toolkit, to help you at this stage. For example, from Step 3:

And from Step 4:

This information sheet provides hints on how to promote situational awareness amongst your workers. Called 'Knowing what's going on around you', it provides advice on the use of prompts and posters to aid situational awareness.

The guidance on using the ‘SLAM (Stop, Look, Assess, Manage) Technique’ and ‘STOP!’ will help you teach your workers how to stop work in unsafe situations.

Summary

Having gained worker buy-in to improve health and safety, you now need to make sure workers have the right kind of training, coaching and briefing to provide the skills and knowledge to work more safely.

Success will depend on having already created the right kind of work environment. It is not enough to tell your workers to behave more safely; they need to understand how to do this.

Workers need good communication skills for your site to be a more friendly, open and safer working environment.

For an individual, having awareness and understanding of what is going on around them is crucial to prevent accidents, incidents, and ill health caused by genuine mistakes.

Before moving on to the next section you should at the very least:

  • have identified the types of skills and knowledge (competencies) that will encourage workers to help you to make health and safety improvements
  • have helped your workers to understand how to behave more safely by planning how changes should be made and keeping workers involved throughout the whole process
  • trained your workers in communication and situational awareness skills to help them to work more safely

»»» Next step

Updated: 24.09.14