I’ve been in the construction industry for my entire life. I am proud of our industry and the great work we do in our communities. But we have to always remember the risks our workers face on job sites every day. That’s why, once again this year, the industry will celebrate Safety Week May 2-6 across the U.S. and Canada.
Safety Week is an opportunity to reinforce the message that safety is the No. 1 priority of every person that is part of the industry—from CEOs to craft workers and office staff. Construction project owners also play a role in supporting our efforts to make a safer industry. Safety Week celebrates the strides we’ve made in keeping workers safe, highlighting advancements like safety helmets and fall protection while reminding everyone about the commitment to safety that we all share.
This year’s Safety Week theme is “Connected. Supported. Safe.” This theme reflects the enduring connection we have to each other across the industry. Safety is a bond that unites us and links us to something bigger than ourselves. Being connected gives us strength because it means we are not alone in building a stronger, safer industry and creating a safe, supportive environment for our workers.
The Seen and Unseen Aspects of Construction Safety
Walk on any job site and you can see what safety looks like in the PPE devices on every worker and the safety protocols in place. There are things that may not be as apparent, though. Is a worker struggling with depression or substance abuse? Do they have a spouse or child they are concerned about? Is there tension among the crew today? That’s why Safety Week includes a focus on mental health. Mental health problems can cause even the best worker to put others at risk. Less noticeable variables, like prolonged stress, anxiety, financial concerns, or tension with a family member, can cause workers to lose focus.
Part of Safety Week is understanding how to recognize and address these problems. We can replace the caution tape around personal stresses or struggles with open ears and honest conversation. By normalizing these discussions and providing the right tools and resources, we strengthen our connections and cultivate a safe space where everyone feels supported. It’s not enough to have safety rules and protocols in effect, it takes the commitment of every worker, every team, and every company to have each other’s backs in every possible way. If we connect and support one another, we can conquer these challenges together.
Safety Starts at The Top
As part of Safety Week this year, we’re encouraging the industry to transition from hardhats to more modern construction helmets that feature an integrated chinstrap, lateral protection, and high-density foam, such as those offered by KASK and other manufacturers. A report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shows construction workers sustain more traumatic brain injuries than employees of any other type of workplace in the United States. Moving to this type of helmet makes a significant impact in these injuries, in part because the chin strap keeps the helmet on the worker’s head throughout the day. Too often, hard hats fall off when a worker looks up or down or if it’s windy. This can leave a worker unprotected.
We realize many see the hardhat as an iconic part of the industry but simply making this change can have a significant impact on the number of head injuries our workers suffer from each year.
How You Can Be a Part of Construction Safety Week
Safety Week continues to grow in size, scope, and impact. We now have more than 70 member companies participating, along with several sponsors and partners. I also know CURT continues to play an active role in improving safety across our industry.
I personally invite you to join us. Make a plan to celebrate Safety Week at your company. We have developed a suite of materials—all available for free—to share with your employees, subcontractors, and advocates to help improve safety. These messages are tailored to reach the diverse workforce that powers our industry, including Spanish-speaking workers. Many items can be customized for your specific needs. Visit our website, www.constructionsafetyweek.com where you can find:
- Daily topics, videos, and toolbox talks.
- Safety Week promotional materials, including job site banners, PowerPoint templates, a planning playbook, and more.
- Toolkits to help promote Safety Week internally and externally.
- Activities for workers and their families to do at home.
- New this year: A Mental Wellness Field Guide to print and distribute on job sites during Safety Week to your teams and subcontractors. It includes information on mental wellness and where to turn for help or support.
- Materials translated into Spanish and French.
We’re also inviting workers across the industry to take part in the Construction Safety Week 2022 Giveaway. Workers, families, and companies across the industries can share what they do to stay connected, supported, and safe for a chance to win a cash prize. See www.constructionsafetyweek.com/giveaway for more details.
Again, I’m excited to share this opportunity with CURT member companies. Each of you has a role to play in building a stronger, safer industry. Let’s make this the best Safety Week yet!
Ken Aldridge, the second-generation Aldridge owner, is currently the Chairman of the Board. He has been an industry professional since 1973, and under his leadership, the company has experienced extraordinary growth and expanded its services, territories, and markets. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Business. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Beavers and the Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT), both organizations that promote infrastructure construction industries. He was also a Vice-Chairman for the American Road & Transportation Association and Chairman of the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association.