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  • Writer's pictureVikki Sicaras

The importance of communicating safety in AEC industries

We have year-round opportunities in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector to promote safety and mental health in the workplace—from National Work Zone Awareness Week in April to Construction Safety Week, OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and National Mental Health Month in May to Construction Suicide Prevention Week in September. June is recognized as National Safety Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of safety across all industries. It also is National Men’s Health Month.

 

These initiatives reinforce the critical importance of communicating safety in the industries we serve, providing valuable resources and highlighting best practices to reduce preventable injury and death. Effective communication ensures all team members are on the same page and following safe practices. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, mistakes and hazardous situations that put workers at risk.

 

Organizational leaders must set the example in prioritizing safety communication and creating a safer, more efficient working environment for everyone involved.

 

ACPA’s “We Are Safer Together” Campaign

An example of industry leaders setting the tone for jobsite safety is the American Concrete Pumping Association's (ACPA) We Are Safer Together campaign, which AOE helped develop and launch in 2023. The campaign brings heightened awareness of the responsibilities of each trade working with or around a concrete pump under the ASME B30.27 Safety Standard for Material Placement Systems. When everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, the risk of hazardous situations decreases significantly, which helps ensure everyone returns home safely at the end of the day. WeAreSaferTogether.org serves as a one-stop educational resource for anybody working on a concrete pumping site.

 

The success of the campaign is dependent on the collaboration of many to amplify its message, which is why ACPA invited other industry associations, as well as contractors, to join a Coalition of Industry Partners committed to promoting the safety message. ACPA is asking Coalition members to link to WeAreSaferTogether.org from their websites, share key messages on social media and distribute hard hat/helmet stickers, equipment decals and other promotional materials to their employees, members/customers and partners. So far, several key organizations have joined the Coalition, including the American Society of Concrete Contractors, Concrete Foundations Association, Tilt-Up Concrete Association and Concrete Pump Manufacturers Association.

 

Tips for Communicating Your Safety Message

  • Use multiple communication channels. Different people absorb information in different ways, so use a variety of methods—such as verbal briefings, written documents, visual aids (i.e., posters) and digital platforms—to disseminate information.

  • Provide real-world examples. Case studies, anecdotes or examples from past projects help illustrate the importance of safety protocols and the consequences of neglecting them.

  • Regularly update messaging. Periodically review and update messaging to reflect the latest best practices and regulatory requirements.

  • Highlight benefits and positive outcomes. When people understand the benefits, they are more likely to buy into the safety message.

  • Use visual aids to capture attention and convey information quickly. Posters, infographics and videos can be powerful communications tools.

  • Leverage resources. Take advantage of the resources provided through OSHA, associations and national campaigns, including promotional items and Toolbox Talk topics.

 

In construction and engineering, safety is not just a best practice—it's a necessity. Through clear, accurate and timely communication, we can reduce accidents and foster a culture of collaboration and safety. For help crafting and promoting your safety message, contact AOE.

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