As we collectively embrace the need to improve our impact on the world, the concept of sustainability is no longer just a fad in the design and construction industry. While I applaud increased efforts toward sustainable design and construction, I think it’s important to include worker safety in these discussions and processes—more so than it is currently happening.
How can a building be labeled sustainable if a life is lost during construction or while maintaining a structure? Sure—skylights provide important natural light, but it’s not enhancing sustainability if a worker falls 60 feet to their death while trying to clean it.
It’s critical to incorporate fall protection and other aspects of worker safety into the design of facilities and processes. LJB has been doing this for many years, through the Safety by Design philosophy. But, despite the fact that incorporating safety during design saves money and lives, many building owners neglect this aspect in their sustainability efforts. To truly protect the future, protecting the lives of workers has to be a priority.