White Card Update: Promoting a Culture of Safety on Construction Sites

Proactive site controllers and builders need to consistently promote a culture of safety on construction sites because experts agree this is the best way to address safety issues and maintain a safe site.

Promoting a culture of safety on site is more than just any one aspect, but is more a combination of actions and attitude changes. Attitudes are not stable and because of the communication and behaviour of other people, it is subject to change by social influences. We need to ensure that workers attitudes are aligned to good safety practices, we can do this by concentrating on training, communication and supervision.

Training is the foundation upon which employers can build an attitude of safety among workers. Any worker who enters into the construction industry must first undergo safety training, according to Australian legislation. But more than fulfilling a mandatory legal requirement, safety induction training also lays the foundation of safety knowledge which workers will utilise every time they step onto a construction site.

The White Card course provides the basics of construction site safety and the generally accepted control measures as well as industry best practices for workers to tackle work on a challenging and dynamic work site.

This safety training is important in ensuring safety is enhanced and the high rate of fatalities in the industry is hopefully tackled. General construction safety training needs to take the form of the White Card which is a nationally recognised qualification required for anyone engaging in work on a construction site or anyone whose job requires them to frequently visit construction sites.

Communication is another vital aspect of ensuring a culture of safety prevails on construction sites. Employers need to listen to workers and consult with them on safety issues. Information should be provided to workers regarding new safety issues that may arise. Communication must include providing information to workers about health and safety arrangements, including the names of those to whom they can lay a complaint or report breaches.

Communication between workers and employers on a construction site should be 2 way. Employers need to listen to workers about their concerns and safety issues which they come across because workers may be exposed to hazards that employers aren’t even aware of.

It is obvious that the issue of safety must go beyond just training and needs to be practically applied by workers every day. In order to do this supervision of workers and regular assessment of the safety control measures to ensure their continued effectiveness is necessary. Sadly many employers and principal contractors are continuously disregarding these important aspects of safety.It is every construction employer’s duty to provide workers with the necessary information, training and supervision for them to work safely on a building site.

Employers and site controllers should also encourage workers to communicate with each other. Facilitate communication with safety meetings and even social meetings. Also encourage workers to pay attention to safety by participating in Initiatives such as SafeWork week or attending safety seminars.