Nearly 8 million Americans work in the construction industry. While job sites are exciting places to work, they can also be dangerous if proper safety measures are not in place.
Resources allotted to ensure a safe site are an investment that always pays dividends. OSHAEducationSchools.com estimates that construction industries achieve savings of $4 to $6 for every dollar spent on safety measures.
When planning job site safety, always prioritize checking local laws and regulations and state and national OSHA policy. That said, the following are nine ideas that will help you maintain a safe and productive job site that is profitable and protects your most valuable asset—your employees.
#1 In-house Jobsite Safety Training and Planning
The most critical part of safety training starts within the confines of your organization, beginning with your company’s overall safety expectations through general job site education specific to your trade.
Giving your employees a solid foundation of safety requirements before they step foot on the job will alleviate confusion and play a pivotal role in keeping your workers safe and productive.
Creating a comprehensive job site safety plan is another part of the process that should be completed and introduced to workers before the job begins. At a minimum, your safety plan should include the following:
· General site conditions and potential hazards
· Emergency contact information
· Local, state, and federal safety requirements
· A protocol of how emergencies are handled or delegated
· How to report incidents and hazards
Preplanning, training, and establishing set processes will go a long way to ensuring a safe job site.
#2 Job Site and Situational Awareness
Job site and situational awareness should be emphasized to all workers involved in your project.
Thorough in-house safety training, as discussed above, will give your employees background in state and federal OSHA safety requirements, local laws and regulations, and subcontractors’ policies and procedures, if applicable.
However, besides this information, job site workers must be relentlessly aware of what’s happening around them during working hours.
Since demands on worker production can be stressful and cause distractions, it’s incumbent on both the safety supervisor and the construction manager to keep an eye on employees to ensure they are diligent and focused.
#3 Create Clear Communication
Clear communication between all parties involved may be the most crucial piece of the puzzle in keeping everyone like-minded and safe. At the very least, site supervisors should be equipped with cell phones and walkie-talkies that provide quick and easy communication with each other and the workers in their charge.
Daily updates from management to workers should be conveyed detailing any change of scope, unique situations arising, such as concrete deliveries and any new heavy equipment arriving on the job site, uncovered hazards, or use of chemicals.
Communication between the home office, site safety officers, and site supervisors can be enhanced with modern technology. Construction management software on the market connects offices with site teams in real time to communicate outcomes and minimize risk.
#4 Cultivate a Culture of Safety
Rigorous employee safety training and planning for a safe working environment will only go so far if proper implementation and worker acceptance are achieved.
Safety committees have a proven track record of bringing people together and working toward a common goal. Safety committees encourage employee “buy-in,” which is vital to safety and successful results from the office to the job site.
Safety meetings should be held regularly— at least weekly but preferably daily— to shore up awareness and communication between safety officers, site managers, and co-workers.
Encourage employees by rewarding them for adhering to safety protocol, wearing safety equipment, attending safety meetings, and reporting unsatisfactory conditions.
Finally, your insurance company is vested in your company’s well-being and your employees’ safety, and you may find that they have recommendations and tools available to reduce job site risk and premium costs.
#5 Supervise Job Sites
Creating a job site culture of safety is a huge step in the right direction toward overall construction safety, but maintaining that foundation, requires trained and qualified superintendents, supervisors, and safety officers must enforce protocol while work is in progress.
The supervision team can’t be expected to catch every hazardous situation, but they must make every effort to observe and report violations as they occur. In addition, workers need to be confident that they can report hazards and violations to their supervisors without fearing negative consequences.
#6 Maintain Construction Equipment
From drill motors to static cranes, job site equipment must be maintained and subject to regular inspections. Your site workers should be trained and supervised to ensure proper operation and safety protocol, cleaning and storing their tools daily. Still, scheduled maintenance and regular inspection are the responsibility of your firm. Properly maintained equipment is vital to your employee’s safety and the success of your project.
#7 Use Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the basis of worker safety. Hard hats, hearing, fall, and respiratory protection, and safety glasses should be available to all employees working on the site as required by the specific job hazards.
Remember that some PPE must fit the worker’s unique physical requirements. For example, a professional should test respiratory protection such as respirators and some face masks for proper fit and hazard. Many PPE suppliers offer this service free of charge to their customers.
#8 Coordinate Workers of Multi-employee Contractors
The adage, “The left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” cannot be tolerated on a construction site. A protocol must be put in place by the general contractor working with subcontractors and temporary agencies to ensure everyone is on the same page with procedures, processes, construction goals, and, most importantly, safety.
#9 Ensure Security and Surveillance
When a job site is secure and monitored, safety is enhanced. Most all construction sites are fenced and locked, but site security relies on more than a secured parameter.
You’ve established a site safety plan; it should be augmented with a site security plan. Safeguards such as adequate lighting, a surveillance system, and hiring a security company to protect the site and equipment after hours should all be considered when planning security.
By law, all contractors and subcontractors are required to maintain a safe construction site for all involved. But job site safety extends much further than legal requirements. Your construction company must have the mindset of protecting its employees, relationships with vendors, subcontractors, and the community to preserve its reputation, and dedication to the well-being of all.
Secure Your Business Today
At FICO, we take extra steps to maintain a secure job site. Our employees get thorough training, including an 86-page Safety Handbook, access to more than 300 on-demand video training, on-site training by supervisors and project managers, pre-work job hazard analysis, OSHA certification, and more. Please contact us today to get started on your facility management project.