Unconventional tips for building a better Safety Culture in Construction

Every company should be working to improve safety on the jobsite.  However just providing more training and proper personal protective equipment is not enough.  So how do you approach improving culture in some non conventional ways? Improving safety culture is all about getting workers to think on their own, identify risks and make good decisions.  Training is the first step but it doesn’t always take if you just approach it in the traditional ways. Lets take a look at some more unconventional ways to make that information stick.

Using humor to improve engagement

Everyone will agree that safety training is not the most exciting topic.  Often times employees feel that safety training is repetitive and unengaging.  Employees also see that many of the topics are common sense and too serious. However integrating some humor into your safety  training can improve engagement and participation. It must be done the right way though. Tim Page-Bottorffs, presenter of popular conference session Humor in Safety, points out there are a few goals for integrating humor.

  • create more interactivity, leading to active learning
  • make training concepts more memorable
  • increase engagement with safety ideas in a group atmosphere
  • have a higher knowledge retention among employees

The goal is not to make safety training funny for its own sake but to rather become a better storyteller making the information more memorable and therefore more impactful.  Integrating personal stories into your training is one of the best ways to connect with the audience. It opens the door to students to share their own stories and incidents related to safety.  Overall it is about providing impactful training that will be meaningful to the employees.

No reward is too small

Encouraging employees to act safely might seem like something you shouldn’t need to do, however habits take time to form.  Most of us remember a time when we were trying to teach our children a lesson or our parents tried to teach us a lesson by offering some sort of reward.  Well not surprisingly this still works in most adults. What is a bit more surprising we react to almost the same rewards we did when we were kids. Small rewards such as candy bars, hats or trips to the “toy store”, aka Home Depot when your an adult, are great ways to reinforce good behavior.  Several safety managers we know often hand out $10 gift cards to grocery stores and home depot as rewards. If you want to get the most out of the reward, give it out at a stand down while the whole jobsite is present. This way the employee gets the recognition of the reward as well as the praise of fellow employees.  These rewards can have a huge impact as most of us are just as competitive if not more than we were as kids. Reinforcing good behavior will help build good safety habits.


Not everything we do as safety managers has to be so serious.  We can be interesting and provide good news to workers on the jobsite to help build out that safety culture we strive for.  Using some of the tips above can greatly help improve how your lessons are received and absorbed by workers on the jobsite.

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