One of the best parts of being in the mining and construction industries is we get to see our efforts manifested out in the community every day. Driving into work the other day I drove through a construction work zone (as I would imagine most of us do at some point during the week). This job required flaggers to direct traffic through the site. I knew we had trained those flaggers in an emergency the class the week prior.
As I was sitting there waiting for traffic in the direction I was driving to open up I watched the flagger as he communicated with the rest of the crew on status of job tasks impeding traffic, the vehicles lining up on the other end of the work zone, planned tasks etc, waiting for the go ahead to flip his sign from Stop to Slow.
Although I have yet to meet that flagger and may never actually speak a single word to him, I felt we were connected. I felt I had a direct impact on the success of that project and more importantly all the people benefiting from the work being done. Although it can be easy to take what we do (within the mining and construction industries) for granted, in those moments instead of being consumed by the annoyance related to the delay I was reminded how critical we all are to a functioning society.
The American Heritage Dictionary (second) definition of Infrastructure – The basic facilities, services and installations needed for the functions of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, public institutions including schools, post offices and prisons.
It is well documented that humans require both a sense of belonging and a purpose in order to feel safe, satisfied and successful. Our industries innately provide both. Where we fail is owning the valor in what we do and instilling that sense into our people. We tend to get caught up in all the tasks which must be accomplished day to day (moment to moment) and too often undermine the value of spending time on why or placing focus on the greater impact of each individual task.
People need to know they are valued and the work they do has meaning. This is the reason HR professionals have been devoting much time and energy towards increasing employee engagement while decreasing both absenteeism and presenteeism. All three of these HR priorities have been shown to positively impact retention, productivity and safety practices.
As a company whose purpose is creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other, we clearly believe in the power of community and leveraging safety practices as employee engagement. We offer trainings and certifications in Safety Leadership, Suicide Prevention, Workplace Violence Prevention, Fit for Duty, Opioids in the Workplace, Behavioral Based Safety, and can help incorporate any of these topics into your existing safety systems.