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Blog | May 3, 2021

Safety Week: Be Present. Be Focused. Be Safe.

Vice President of Safety Mark Dumas shares the importance of mental and physical safety in construction

HITT Contracting’s Vice President of Safety Mark Dumas

At HITT, safety is a part of everything we do, and each year, Safety Week encourages us to reflect on best practices at jobsites nationwide with our team members and partners. But safety is much more than physical safety and items on a checklist. While construction is often regarded as a career where talking about feelings or concerns is taboo, we must dismantle this dated mindset and create safe places for our teams to openly communicate about potential risks. Safety, at its core, is about being honest, open, and psychologically present.

I’ll share a personal story with you that often crosses my mind.  Many years ago, a talented young engineer with a promising future in construction. One day, he walked by some workers and noticed they weren’t following safety guidelines by being tied off and secured. This young engineer passed by several times and didn’t feel comfortable enough to communicate the importance of the safety practice or ask the workers to correct it. Unfortunately, one of the workers fell and became paralyzed from the waist down. The engineer couldn’t forgive himself and struggled psychologically from the incident. I saw firsthand that he was never the same; he had difficulty completing daily tasks, became more distracted by his internalized feelings, and ultimately left the construction industry due to the personal and mental responsibility he felt from the accident.

Alternatively, in an identical situation, one of my team members noticed unsafe practices, simply asked the group to tie off, and when one worker fell similarly, he was uninjured. The team member who chose to communicate with the worker was able to continue in his role, knowing he took the proper steps to prevent a serious injury.

Mental and physical health go hand in hand, as building strong relationships with team members can be lifesaving work. Relationships are a critical element to the foundation of safety. By keeping open lines of communication, we can create a more inclusive and open-minded workplace where people feel comfortable speaking up. It’s no coincidence that during Safety Week, we typically see a reduction in injuries. With our teams fully engaged and present in open conversations around safety, they strengthen bonds and feel more comfortable pointing out unsafe practices ahead of potential accidents.

So, what if every week could be Safety Week? My call to our teams and partners is to get engaged, be present in your workplace – whether on or off the jobsite – and interact more with your fellow team members. Every one of us is a safety ambassador who shares the common goal of getting home safely at the end of the day. By fostering connection, we can create a supportive culture where individuals look out for one another and drive safety incidents toward zero. The better relationships we can build, the more we can accomplish – together.

To learn more about HITT’s above and beyond safety practices on every jobsite, visit our Safety page.

Connect with us and follow along on social media all week as we highlight team members and reflect on the importance of safety at HITT.

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