Let me be very clear here at the beginning of my presentation. I am not going to discuss only Pre-Task Planning. For safety planning is not a series of independent planning sessions, but rather a single cohesive process. Safety planning is not something that can be effectively broken into its separate components. Each phase of safety planning depends upon groundwork established before it. Therefore, any discussion of safety planning must begin at the pre-bid phase, continue through award of contract, project kick-off, daily task planning, gangbox planning meetings, and ends only at pre-task safety planning occurring immediately before a worker begins a task. Each of these types of planning are dependent upon the effectiveness of the safety planning that preceded it, or the entire process will fail. Unfortunately, this is exactly what often happens.
So first, let us start with why planning is so important to the success of a construction project. The New Webster dictionary defines planning as follows:
Planning-a method for accomplishing an objective, to show the parts or details.
In this case, the objective we are trying to achieve is to reduce or eliminate accidents and occupational injury. This is effectively done by reviewing the details, or parts, of how we are going to eliminate unsafe conditions and behaviors from our construction projects.
You've all heard the old expression, we don't plan to fail, we fail to plan. Nowhere is this truer than in safety management. If we fail to plan for effective safety management, then we are relying on luck to eliminate or reduce injuries and accidents. Personally, I don't believe in good luck or bad luck, I believe in good management and bad management. The earlier in the process that safety planning occurs, the greater the opportunity for safety performance improvement and accident reduction. So let's look at some of these planning tools that make up good, effective safety management.
What are the major components required for successful construction safety planning? I believe that successful safety planning occurs as follows:
At award of contract.
Daily Management Safety Task Planning.
Daily Craft Task Planning.
Pre-Task Craft Safety Planning.
While this may not be the inclusive list of all safety planning opportunities, if this planning is completed it will communicate the safety priorities to all involved management and craft personnel.
Pre-bid safety planning is essential to the entire safety process, as it involves the Estimating Department in safety. The effective Safety Manager does not really manage safety, he or she helps other managers and craft workers accept their responsibilities to manage safety. The planning process begins with the estimator. It is essential that the Safety Manager provide training as to the effects of the estimate on safety performance, specific to certain industries.