Hard Hats & Habits: Mastering Behavior-Based Safety in Construction


National Safety Week might only come once a year but, on Haydon jobsites, safety is a way of life. Every attitude, decision, and action made by individuals on a construction project impacts the safety and success of the entire project and project team.

OSHA guidelines call for compliance-based safety at a minimum. This approach is more about safety management than safety leadership; but the minimum is not enough. At Haydon, our people are the heart of our organization and safety is the heart of our projects. Haydon has adopted a behavior-based safety culture which focuses on safety leadership coaching versus being perceived as “safety cops”. By focusing on behavior change instead of mere rule compliance, this cultivates a safety culture that acknowledges and rewards good behavior, decreasing the number of workplace incidents. Behavior-based safety ensures every individual shares a personal commitment to safety and boosts overall safety consciousness, leading to better risk management and safety outcomes.

Good safety leadership involves:

  • Planning: establishing conditions to promote working safe rather than constraints around unsafe work.
  • Humility: acknowledging you don’t know everything and showing you care by creating a safe work environment.
  • Learning and Adapting: accepting feedback and improving processes. “I don’t know the answer to this, but I have people who do; let’s go ask them or look at what they do.”
  • Teamwork: working together to get the job done safely by openly communicating, reporting injuries, and asking for feedback.

In the construction world, safety is not merely a protocol or a checklist, but a commitment to safeguarding lives and dreams alike. When workers step onto a site with the confidence that their well-being is a priority, they are empowered to perform at their best. Each helmet, harness, and safety toolbox talk is a pledge. It’s a promise that the legacy of a construction project isn’t just in the structures left behind, but in the careful consideration of every hand that builds them.