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  • Thomas Arnold

Broken Windows



We have found a direct correlation between a well-organized worksite and a safe crew.


Back in the early 1980’s New York City was experiencing rampant crime. A theory was published in 1982 stating that social behavior was driven in large part by the condition of neighborhoods. The Broken Windows Theory, introduced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, stated that “If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” In other words, people would act according to the condition of their surroundings. The idea was that if broken windows were repaired, people would not be inclined to act irresponsibly (i.e. break more windows).


We believe this applies to safety. If a worksite is sloppy, we can safely assume that the crew’s safety practices are sloppy as well. Conversely, if a worksite is squared away and well organized, we can be fairly certain that the crew values safety. This is because your crew is influenced by the condition of their worksite.


The good news is you can have an immediate positive impact on the safety of your crew by maintaining an orderly and thoughtful worksite.

Organize and store your tools thoughtfully. If you are no longer using a tool, store it in a safe place. Don’t leave tools lying around where others can trip over them. Have the tools on hand that you need and store the rest.


Remove all tripping hazards from your work area. This includes trash, tools, materials etc. Remove anything that someone could trip over.


Pick up trash and debris. This is common sense. We’re not sure what to add here. Pick up your trash.


Keep walkways clear. This is especially important when working in tight spaces with narrow walkways. For those working in substations or control buildings, clear walkways are imperative, especially in an emergency.


Store materials in a safe manner. Also, think about where you place tools and equipment. Place them in such a way that they won’t fall and cause injury.


Organize your worksite thoughtfully. Place your tools and equipment where you need them, when you need them. Park your vehicles so that you have easy access to tools and materials without interrupting the flow of the work. Also, as a reminder, park so that you don’t need to back up to exit.

You truly can influence the safety of your entire crew by maintaining an orderly and thoughtful worksite.

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