Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 8

SAFETY
leadership model
ยป Aandcompany's
size can impact the way it
approaches safety.

A MATTER OF SIZE
W
What impact does a company's size and leadership style have on safety? BY JOSHUA ESTRIN

hile the construction
industry is comprised of
companies of all sizes, big
companies often have large
marketing budgets allowing for maximum industry exposure. Yet, while small
construction firms (between one to 50
employees) comprise a large portion of the
industry, little is heard from them. This begs
the question: does the size of a company
impact job site safety?
Before this question can be answered,
one must also recognize that the leadership
styles of those charged with worker safety
are an integral part of understanding the
obstacles that continue to face the industry.
There are three general leadership styles
that have been recognized across the continuum of all areas of occupational safety

8

CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017

and health but have rarely been clearly
articulated by the construction industry:
autocratic, participatory and free rein.
In the autocratic leadership model, one
leader has complete command over his/
her employees/team. Individual input is
not recognized nor is criticism of the way in
which the person in charge decides it best to
"get the job done." While some have argued
that the advantage of this style is the ability
to make quick decisions leading to greater
productivity, safety on the construction job
site can be greatly undermined if decisions
are not well thought out and driven by
pre-planning strategies.
In the participatory leadership model,
those in charge foster an environment that
encourages a sense of teamwork, with each
member, from the top down and bottom

up having the ability and responsibility to
take part in the decision-making process,
with the ultimate decisions made by the
leader after all opinions and ideas are taken into account. When worker safety is the
priority, this form of input from the worker
has proven integral and in the event that a
decision needs to be made quickly to avoid
immediate hazards, leadership still has the
ultimate power to do so.
The free reign leadership model is built
upon complete trust that the worker will
perform the job with little to no supervision.
In traditional corporate settings, this works
when the employees are skilled, loyal, experienced and intellectual. While the construction worker can be all of these things, safety
is not something that can be left solely to the
worker, as top-down, bottom-up leadership


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Construction Today - September/October 2017

Contents
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - Cover1
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - Cover2
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 1
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - Contents
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 3
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 4
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 5
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 6
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Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 113
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Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 116
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 117
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 118
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 119
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Construction Today - September/October 2017 - Cover3
Construction Today - September/October 2017 - Cover4
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