Reading time 4 Mins
Published on Sep 7
Construction sites are inherently dangerous places. Safety hazards can hide around every corner. A high rate of occupational fatalities and injuries result each year from electricity, falls, heavy equipment rollovers, collapsing scaffolding, and other worksite dangers.
Building safer job sites isn’t easy—it takes a lot of planning and hard work. Here are five steps that can be taken to make construction sites safer.
Foster a Culture of Safety
Safety should be at the forefront for all construction companies. Getting employees to engage with and support your safety goals requires a top-down approach. “Safety First” can’t just be a slogan or a sign posted on the wall. A genuine commitment to safety must be incorporated as one of the core principles of your company culture.
Assembling a team or committee to help your safety manager oversee and review safety performance is a key part of building a successful safety program. The team should consist of employees from all levels—executive, managerial, operational, and craft labor staff. This variety helps reinforce the fact that safety is the responsibility of every employee.
Create a Site-Specific Plan
All construction projects are different and come with their own unique sets of challenges and struggles. Planning is an important step to ensuring that each project is successfully managed from start to finish. It requires figuring out the resources that will be needed and scheduling work based on the order and duration of individual tasks within the project.
Part of the construction planning process should include developing a site-specific safety plan. Start off by inspecting the site and determining what hazards already exist. Plan out what safety measures to implement to mitigate those hazards and prevent accidents.
Share the plan with everyone working on the site. Be sure to emphasize the expectation and importance of everyone following the plan. This extends not only to your employees, from site supervisors down to construction helpers, but everyone working on the job—including your subcontractors.
Train, Train and Train Some More
Safety training isn’t a one and done deal. This goes for new hires and seasoned veterans alike. Consistent and comprehensive training helps ingrain your safety culture into the minds of all employees.
Conduct a safety orientation for all employees in which you fully review safety requirements and worksite expectations. Be sure to cover evacuation procedures and first-aid plans. Workers should be trained not just on how to do a task correctly, but how to perform that task safely to protect themselves and those around them.
After all, accidents never occur because someone has too much safety training.
Hold Each other Accountable
Every person on the jobsite should feel comfortable speaking up when they observe unsafe working conditions. Each worker on the construction site, regardless of their position, should have the ability to ask for work to be stopped if they feel there is a safety issue that needs to be addressed.
Emphasize to all employees that they share a responsibility for keeping both themselves and those around them safe. Workers won’t speak up about unsafe conditions or behaviors if they fear retaliation for doing so. By clearly establishing that everyone is on the same team and working towards the same goals, you open the door for individuals to feel comfortable speaking up for safety.
Inspect, Evaluate, and Adjust
Job sites should be inspected before and after each workday. Equipment and tools should be inspected to ensure all guards and safety controls are in place. Scaffolding and ladders should be inspected to confirm they are in good working order and safe to use. The site should be clean and well-kept to avoid workers tripping over misplaced tools and discarded materials.
As construction progresses, the safety manager and safety committee should evaluate the safety plan. Discuss what measures are working, determine what areas need to be addressed, and where additional training may be needed. New safety hazards may be created as work continues, so it’s important to adjust the safety plan as needed when conditions change.
With careful planning and implementation, it’s possible for all construction sites to achieve a goal of creating a safe, injury-free environment.
Safety and Sheakley
Keeping your workforce safe is priority one for your company and Sheakley is here to help you do just that. From policy development and training to drug testing and compliance, we have a full spectrum of solutions designed to aid you in protecting your employees and your bottom line.
Our team of Risk & Safety experts can assist you in crafting a comprehensive safety program that’s tailored to the hazards of your industry, reduces workplace accidents, and meets your long-term goals.
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