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Diversity & Inclusion Drives Safety Culture – Construction Inclusion Week 2021

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At TSC Training Academy (TSCTA), we’ve literally built our business on helping to promote worker safety across the industry. Prevention and training both go a long way to keep workers safe and keep businesses viable. In fact, the cost of ignoring safety isn’t cheap: according to OSHA, fatal and non-fatal injuries cost the construction industry $13 billion annually. But what does that have to do with Diversity and Inclusion? A whole lot.  

Did you catch yesterday’s Construction Inclusion Week article? In our most recent post, we looked at the economic importance of supplier diversity in the construction industry. If you haven’t, be sure to check it out here. 

Are you effectively communicating your organization’s safety strategy to ALL stakeholders? If you think posting protocol in multiple languages is enough, you are only doing part of the work. A truly inclusive safety culture takes into consideration their workforce’s ethnic backgrounds and cultural norms as well as race and gender. While there has been a great shift in prioritizing safety in today’s construction workforce, building sustained unity across teams is crucial to building an even more comprehensive safety culture.  

If you’re looking for an example of inclusion making a difference in safety look no further than the humble fall arrest harness. Most of the anthropomorphic data used in building safety equipment came from the average military man in the 1970s. This data was not only outdated but excluded a growing part of our industry, women. Thanks to the demand for improved safety equipment for women workers and NIOSH awareness campaigns, we’re seeing safer job sites.  

What can we do to build more inclusive workplaces?  

Workers Can: 

  • Follow the “Platinum Rule” – Treat people the way that “they” want to be treated.  
  • Do not participate or engage in activities/discussions etc. that offend, humiliate, or embarrass people.  
  • Speak Up! If you witness disrespectful behavior, talk to the individuals involved or your supervisor.  
  • Offer support to an individual who was targeted. Encourage them to talk to the person(s) involved or their supervisor.  
  • Be kind and polite.  
  • Give someone a pat on the back – recognize the work of your fellow co-workers.  
  • Deal with conflict in a respectful manner.  
  • Listen to what others have to say, before expressing your own viewpoint. 

Supervisors Can: 

  • Lead by positive example.  
  • Listen to understand.  
  • Recognize individual strengths, weaknesses, and opinions.  
  • Acknowledge workers’ accomplishments.  
  • Investigate complaints promptly.  
  • Encourage workers to resolve conflict in a respectful manner.  
  • Be inclusive and treat all workers fairly.  
  • Provide regular feedback to workers. 

At TSCTA, we stress the importance of safety – after all, safety is EVERYONE’S job. Much like safety, building inclusive workplaces starts with each of us. We all have a part to play and a responsibility to each other.