In this video, Jim introduces the concept that safety quality and productivity are inextricably linked, and explains that construction management professionals must strive to keep these three elements in balance.
- Any time I talk about being a construction management professional, I talk about the fact that your job is to manage safety, quality, and productivity, and I'm going to tell you that these things need to be balanced, given equal weight, and managed together. I use the analogy of a three-legged stool, where each of these elements, safety, quality, and productivity, is one leg to the stool. Give one too much attention, or don't pay enough attention to another, and the stool topples over.
That's because these elements are inextricably linked, and we've known this for a while. We have several very well-respected studies that prove this fact. Safety, quality, and productivity are linked, and they all need equal attention. Now because I say that these elements all need equal attention, I'm not a safety-first guy. You won't hear me use that phrase. And that bothers some safety people, but really, it's not just safety that's first. After all, we did get hired to do a job, and if we don't do that job in a productive manner and produce the results the owner expects to see, then working safely is kind of a moot point, because we won't have any work.
Likewise, if we get hurt and we can't do any work, then the productivity and quality issues go out the window as well. That's the great balancing act for the construction management professional. Working safely to produce a quality product on time. Now let's hear from a few other professionals about how safety planning plays into the way they do construction. - I can't think of many more industries or professions where safety has such a huge emphasis.
Manufacturing is probably the only other industry I can think of where you have so many moving parts. You've got equipment, you've got a lot of humans packed into a very small space, and they all have tools in their hands generally, right, so there's a lot of opportunity for human error and for injury on any jobsite. And as an employer, and as a project team leader, I take that very seriously. I mean, my number one job is to make sure everybody goes home safe.
And that is above and beyond meeting the schedule, meeting the cost requirements, that's number one. And we have to find a way to do all those things in tandem, right? So safety, and schedule, and cost all have to play together, because sending somebody home with an injury just because we had to make them rush to get the work done is not acceptable. So when you talk about how safety planning and safety processes play into the way that we do construction, a lot of it has to do with the pre-planning that goes into the job.
So on a concrete job, for example, we look at casting-in attachment points for the safety rails. We look at casting-in attachment points for the lanyards that people use when they tie off. We look at how we scaffold buildings, and how far up we're putting people, how long that scaffold's up, how long are the people on the scaffold. So we look at all of those activities, and not just from a what's the fastest way to get it built standpoint, but what's the safest way to get it built.
And a lot of times, and this is where you can start to see the evolution of safety in construction, what people have begun to realize is that the safest way to get it built is often also the most productive, because people work more productively when they know they're in a safe, secure environment. They have less rework, their efficiency, their units that they put in place over a course of time improves, because that whole mentality of worrying about their own physical safety is off the table at that point.
And that's what we try to drill into our supervisors and our foremen, that this is actually going to make them perform better in the end. We just need to get used to that idea, wrap our heads around it a little differently. - As many visual tools as possible we like to use. And we like to take all the work that's done in design and pre-construction, and through the BIM process, and actually make it usable for the field. One of the... One of the main things for logistics, just for example, which is what I'm over, we've created a model which is roughly to scale, but we have all of the surrounding area, we have buildings, we have the construction project, we import files from, you know, CAD files from the structural engineer, from the architects, into a sketch-up file.
But we've created a working logistics plan that's kind of a living document. We can modify it as we go, and we can look ahead. We can show, very easily... We can show our entire team where we're going, what the project site is going to look like four, five weeks from now, what it's going to look like five months from now. So that's one tool.
It's a visual tool that we use in order to communicate our logistics plan to an entire team. We can use that to communicate it to an owner, but we can also use it to communicate it to every guy that comes on site. Before they walk on site, they know exactly what the job is going to look like at any point in time. So that's one deal. - As a project manager, a successful job is when you've completed it safely, when you've completed it profitably, and when you've delivered a quality product.
Throughout this course, Jim highlights some of the most notable safety and health hazards in the industry—including fall hazards, traffic accidents, and respiratory hazards—and shares strategies for integrating safety, quality, and productivity. He also explains how to leverage technological advancements such as digital drawings to help your team work safer and smarter.
- Recognizing health hazards in the industry
- Integrating safety, quality, and productivity
- Creating a culture of learning
- Recognizing leading indicators
- Using digital solutions to improve safety
- Using BIM to identify hazards early