“IT WILL ONLY TAKE A MINUTE.”
How often do we hear that phrase when we are speaking to others, or ourselves, about getting that one extra part of our task done at the end of the day? Probably more often than we would like to admit!
The truth is that most of us would have a tough time finding a task critical to construction that can be accomplished in a single minute. In our industry, this phrase can often indicate that a person or a crew is pushing to get the last bit of production done at the end of the shift – whether it’s pulling that last measurement, cutting that last piece, rigging that last load, or installing that last section.
NOTHING TRULY TAKES “ONE MINUTE”
Sixty seconds can go by in a flash. And when it comes to end-of-shift task execution we need to consider the reality that nothing truly takes “one minute.” Often that last-minute task will include intermediate steps like walking to the material or location, using some tool or piece of equipment, walking back for installation, communicating with a partner, or installing the product.
In these situations, the person or crew is automatically placed under added pressure to get the job done quicker. Added production and time pressures greatly increase the chance for mistakes and injuries! And one of the first things an injured worker or their supervisor mentions after an end-of-shift accident is “we should have done it tomorrow” or “we should have just waited.”
- Added production and time pressure to get the job done
- Complacency or fatigue after a full day of production
- Decreased worker morale
- Decreased awareness for hand/body placement or equipment and tool use
- Increased likelihood of shortcuts
- Rushing and missing critical steps unintentionally
- If a mistake or quality error is made, it can lead to even more pressure
- Workers (especially supervisors) should always take a moment to evaluate whether attempting an end-of-day task can be safely completed in the given time.
- Ask yourself – “Is what I have to do truly critical to construction, or can it wait until tomorrow?” If it is critical to construction, chances are that extra time will be needed to successfully and safely get it done.
- If an unplanned or critical task must be done at the end of shift, stop and have a supervisor consider the need for overtime. This is also a good trigger for a crew to use safety tools such as the Pre-Task Plan to regroup, refocus, and review important details to complete the task.