Henna Haikonen, Irina Sidorova, Milla Sairanen
In the project Safecon Xamk and Pushkin LSU are responsible for the Work Package 1 (WP1). The primary goal of WP1 is to develop the safety attitude of the top management in SME level construction companies.
In Finland Xamk interviewed top management representatives of SME construction company. The findings from the interviews were processed further in a workshop and a set of guidelines for top management was formed. The Top Management Guidelines include ways for top management to develop their own motivation and attitude towards construction site safety.
In Russia, LSU conducted a scientific study in which 13 small construction companies of the Leningrad region took part. The focus was to find out how different levels of management interact in matters of safety, whether managers of construction companies have the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure a high level of safety at construction sites and what weaknesses there are in the organization of construction work that can pose a danger to occupational safety.
For the purpose of the study by Pushkin LSU , university specialists examined a large amount of available scientific evidence in the area of construction safety, developed an occupational safety questionnaire, and selected a number of psychological methods that assess the communication and organizational skills of managers, as well as the values and organizational culture in the construction companies. Based on the results a seminar was held for managers of construction companies to acquaint them with the results of the study and the recommendations by specialists.
Construction site safety begins with the commitment of top management
The most significant factor from the point of view of developing occupational safety is the attitude of the top management and their own example. Without committed management, it is impossible to motivate workers to safe work. Manager creates possibilities to work safely and by their own example and behavior signals that occupational safety is an important value for the company.
The guidelines developed with Finnish SME top management were organized under seven main themes:
- find your motivation,
- show example,
- reserve time,
- share information,
- keep the interest on safety going on,
- show respect those who do the work and
- support positive team spirit.
Managing safety requires a constant desire to develop
The long-term implementation of occupational safety work requires time and commitment. With good planning, it is possible to guarantee success and continuity of work. The top management is required to have a good knowledge of safety and motivation to develop their skills in safety work. If possible, it is good to utilize safety experts and other specialists.
The best results have been found to be achieved through the cooperation of many different parties. Trainings, learning from others, different kind of measurements, and enabling observation methods strengthens motivation. Competitions and campaigns are used to maintain interest. In addition, the rewards and verbal feedback of good safety work contribute to positive safety behavior.
One important factor in the construction site safety is the work community and the safety culture of the organization. Positive team pressure increases positive safety behavior. Top management can promote positive team spirit with positive feedback, intact interactions and trusting the workers’ skills.
Future activities for Xamk and LSU in the project Safecon
In Finland Xamk is implementing the guidelines with webinars, workshops and audiovisual content. For example, in October 2020 there will be a webinar in Finnish with trainers specialized in Lean Construction and construction site safety. The webinar is designed for the top management of small and medium-sized construction companies but also university students specializing in construction technology are welcome to participate. In spring 2021 there will be workshops based on the guidelines.
In Russia Pushkin LSU is writing articles in scientific journals and conference proceedings and for the current academic year two separate master’s theses are planned.