A friend of mine was just diagnosed with a severe illness this week. Sadly, it was the kind a simple procedure could have detected much earlier, solving the problem without major surgery.

I think we are all sometimes guilty of procrastinating matters related to our health. It seems parallel to the way we think of safety in our companies. We never worry much about either until we have a problem. When things are back in balance, we realize how fortunate we are.

We should all be concerned about safety, but oftentimes we’re more focused on profits and maintaining a corporation. Here are a few ways we keep projects safe without a huge upfront time investment:

  • Safety training. Meet routinely to review the basics.  Most of the accidents on a job can be avoided by simple measures.
  • Hazard identification. Point out potential hazards that might be unusual on a project site.
  • Emergency evacuation. Make contractors and workers aware of what they should do in the case of any emergency, from fires to chemical releases to severe weather.
  • Communication. Consider having both internal and external communication plans in place, whether you are the contractor, owner, architect or party. In the event of a catastrophic problem you’ll be glad you are prepared. I bet BP wishes they had a communications plan.


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Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham, Ala. Contact him via email.
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