Safety or Productivity, That is the Question!

Safety or Productivity, That is the Question!

06th February 2019

Here at Safety Fabrications, as manufacturers of safe access equipment for working at height, we are enthusiastic advocates of safety above all else.   We’ve written extensively about “behavioural safety”, explaining the term in detail,  issues that should be considered, and how to develop a culture of safety within organisations and construction companies.  We realise that conflicts may arise over the fact that safety is given precedence over productivity and many people here in the UK complain about “health and safety gone made” – it’s a topic that hits the headlines in the tabloids on a regular basis, with detractors complaining that it’s gone “too far” and that common sense should prevail. 

The main problem with relying on common sense is that it’s something we all possess on a personal basis and at differing levels.  As we get older, most of us become more sensible and actions that we may have taken during our youth, we now consider ridiculously risky!  Some of us, however, are still making excuses and, one of the most frequent excuses heart by safety professionals when it comes to safety issues is “productivity”. 

Consider this – safety precautions often take up very little time when compared with the time (and, hence, productivity) that can be lost as a result of an incident or accident.  Do you neglect to fasten your seatbelt to save a few extra seconds?  Do you avoid taking safety precautions for your children?  The answer, hopefully, is “No”.  Taking safety seriously means taking all aspects of safety precautions seriously and taking the time to ensure that risks have been minimised and ALL safe working procedures and rules are followed.

Rushing can lead to mistakes and problems in all aspects of life, and our busy, modern lives often see us rushing around.  We rush in the morning to get the kids off to school and then go to work.  We rush to get home quicker at the end of the day, often trying to fit in a quick visit to a local shop.   We rush to get stuff done, we sometimes drive too fast.  Rushing means that “time” is at the forefront of our thoughts and this often makes us forget stuff – items we need during the day, to make a phone call or to stop at a shop on the way to work.  We’re used to rushing and it’s become second nature to us.

However, rushing on construction sites can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, mistakes.  Yes, it takes time to put on a safety harness but if you don’t, you may find yourself rushing at the wrong time – rushing towards the ground in a fall from height!  Moving a ladder to another area involves taking the time to set it up safely – if you don’t, you’re putting yourself (and perhaps others) at risk.  Don’t be in too much of a rush, you may end up rushing towards making a mistake or, worse still, a life-changing injury.  Part of behavioural safety is ensuring that you take the time to consider the risks, to consider how to do the job in a safe manner – if you don’t take the time right now, you may find yourself out of time when things go wrong.