Construction Safety Competency Matrix (CSCM) Framework for reducing injuries on construction site
In a high-hazard industry like construction, safety is an investment that provides real benefits. A safe work environment helps to keep skilled employees on the job and projects on track by reducing accidents that result in injuries and schedule delays, while also reducing the risks on the construction site. A strong safety record enhances a company’s reputation, makes it more competitive and helps to manage injury costs over time. Fostering a successful safety culture, however, is a company-wide effort that requires commitment and participation from the chief executive to project managers and individual workers on the job site. That commitment should extend to the selection of subcontractors who also embrace a strong safety ethic, particularly when a company is using a construction contract.
Step 1 : Understand safety culture A safety culture is an organisational culture that places a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values and attitudes — and these are shared by the majority of people within the company or workplace. It can be characterised as ‘the way we do things around here’. A positive safety culture can result in improved safety index and organisational performance.
A Construction Safety Competency Framework identified nine broad behaviours, or culture actions, that are considered essential to the development of a positive safety culture. These are:
- Communicate company values
- Demonstrate leadership
- Clarify required and expected behaviour
- Personalise safety outcomes
- Develop positive safety attitudes
- Engage and own safety responsibilities and accountabilities
- Increase hazard/risk awareness and preventive behaviours
- Improve understanding and effective implementation of safety management systems
- Monitor, review and reflect on personal effectiveness.
Step 2 : Identify safety critical position
Identifies a range of safety critical positions that have an important and ongoing safety leadership role. Some examples of safety critical positions are:
- Chief Executive Officer/ General Manager
- Project Manager
Safety critical positions will differ from company to company. The title of the position is not important. What is important is that your principal contractors and staff are allocated tasks via the safety management system, take responsibility for safety and are aware of their obligations. Once you have identified the safety critical positions, you will then need to identify which individuals hold these positions within your company.
Step 3 : Customise Construction Safety Competency Matrix
Customise the Construction Competency Matrix – This matrix displays the competency requirements for each of the identified safety critical positions, as identified in Step 2. The matrix also identifies 39 safety management tasks (SMTs) that can be undertaken by the relevant safety critical position holders.
The 39 tasks fall under seven categories seen as critical to the management of Safety Performance:
- proactively identify, assess and determine appropriate controls for hazards and risks
- effectively communicate and consult with stakeholders regarding risks
- monitor, report, review and evaluate safety program effectiveness
- engage with subcontractors in performance management
- identify and implement relevant components of safety management system
- understand and apply safety management principles
- provide leadership and manage staff and subcontractor safety performance.
Step 4 : Implementing CSCM within your company
It is recommended the implementation of new safety competencies and guidelines be introduced to staff in small steps, as this will help employees to absorb any new ideas and allow for early success to gain support and momentum. Once your company has customised the Construction Safety Competency Matrix (Step 3) by identifying “who needs to be able to do what”, you will be in a good position to drive competency improvements through the entire hierarchy.
As discussed in Step 3 consider your organisation’s level of cultural development and determine a starting point for minimum competency requirements. Developing and implementing new safety competencies and guidelines may be a new way of doing things for many people in your company, and changes of this nature can be problematic for some. Clear and frequent communication will be critical to the success of your safety plan. Make sure you clearly communicate your plan to those who are directly and indirectly involved.
Continuous improvement is critical throughout this whole process as it enables companies to evaluate, review and reflect on strategy, which allows for improved strategies and implementation processes. Achievement of continuous improvement should be based on realistic and realisable safety performance indicators. Some ways to improve current practices may be to:
- establish an initial benchmark for injury figures so you can look at how it changes after implementation
- evaluate and improve safety systems and equipment
- evaluate and improve performance appraisal processes.
Use various information sources to monitor and review, and to gain feedback on the effectiveness of culture actions and other safety-related behaviours. This will help individuals fine tune and continually improve their ability and effectiveness when completing the culture actions. For example, staff can seek and use feedback obtained from consultations, ‘walk-arounds’, collaborative decision making, self-reflection and performance management.
Construction Safety Framework