Safety in the construction industry should always be the most valued part of the job. Being cautious of safety regulations is much more of a serious matter in construction than almost any other job; especially for those on the job site. There is substantial research that presents working in the construction industry, especially on the job site, as a high-risk profession as opposed to working in the safety of an office. This why carefully developing guidelines for a safety management plan to protect the safety of field workers is crucial to every construction project.
A safety management plan consists of a written document or manual that includes the detailed process of risks and hazards that could potentially be harmful to workers, steps to take in order to prevent accidents, and what measures to take when an accident does happen. Safety plans can vary on specificity but should generally not be missing any crucial information.
Why are Safety Management Plans Necessary?
There are many reasons a safety plan is necessary. For one, Federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires a written safety plan for the majority of workplace activities and chemicals. A number of state laws also require safety plans and offer workers’ compensation.
Many different roles come into play when safety is being discussed and enforced. The roles of these individuals should be stated in the safety plan that way there is no confusion, pointing fingers, and would make the post accident process go much smoother.
The Role of Employees in Safety
In some instances, a safety coordinator is allotted. Their responsibilities may vary but can generally include coordinating health and safety training for management and supervisors, job site safety audits, monthly supervisor safety meetings, maintain and revise the safety policy, corporate safety manual, and site-specific safety plans. Safety coordinators may also be in charge of ensuring the proper filing of paperwork relating to accidents, maintaining the job site postings and notices required by law, participating in post-accident investigations, and maintaining all records and reports related to safety.
Project managers are not exempt from safety duties however. Project managers have similar, if not the same responsibilities as the safety coordinator. The managers should prepare the site-specific safety plan, coordinate health and safety regulations that have to do with their area of responsibility, participate in post-accident investigations, and assist in formulating policy matters.
The foreman or supervisor should be familiar with, explain, and enforce health and safety regulations, coordinate health and safety activities, ensure safety equipment is available, maintained, and used, injuries are treated and reported properly, and coordinate daily job site inspection.
Employees should be familiar with and follow proper health and safety practices and must notify the supervisor immediately of unsafe conditions or acts, accidents, and injuries.
Avoiding Accidents and Safety Management Plans
Because construction sites are significantly prone to accidents than nearly any other job field, it is necessary to implement safety guidelines to avoid any accident. There are many branches to generating a safety management plan; for instance, each project should have safety protocols for employee training, employee qualification, job site inspections, accident precautions, and much more.
Creating a construction safety management plan provides a clear understanding of expectations for safety guidelines before a project even begins; everyone involved in the project including contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, project owners and more should all be on the same level of understanding when it comes to safety management. It is important to go about safety management plans earnestly.
Every safety plan should be flexible enough and easily adaptable to any project. The size of the plan must also be aligned with the size of the project. The bigger the project, then the bigger the plan should be. Risks and hazards of each task should be foreseen and planned for. The safety plan should have a general direction to go in for these foreseen risks. What is to be done during these emergencies and everyone’s duties is something that should be included in the plan, along with when certain measures are to be taken.
The whole point of the plan is to reassure everyone that the company is willing and able to take any necessary measures to protect its employees and everyone involved. Including regulations such a OSHA “29 CFR 1926, Safety & Health Regulations for Construction.” reiterates that you are going to provide protection in the event of an emergency. Make sure safety is emphasized and communicate that management is greatly concerned with the safety of their employees. The employees or anyone involved in the project should feel comfortable sharing their safety concerns with the managers and confident that something will be done about them.
There should be a proper protocol set in place for accidents and more importantly, reporting them. Every accident, regardless of how small it may seem should be reported to a supervisor. A file of the accident should then be made and filled with all of the information regarding the accident and all of the steps that were taken to prevent and help the situation. The accident investigator and their contact information should be listed. Make sure it is clear where all of the records will be kept.
Subcontractors and trade contractors that are hired by the company are now required to follow the company’s safety regulations and it is important that this be communicated adequately.
Lead by Example.
The more serious you are about safety regulations, the more serious your team will reciprocate the same sense of responsibility. Your team feeling safe and protected when they come to work increases the productivity of their work ethic overall, potentially speeding up the completion of the project. Having a reputation for implementing high safety protocols is always beneficial to you and your team.
Developing a thorough and detailed safety management plan not only protects you and your team but also is a crucial factor of being reasonably insured for the project. No matter how big or small the cost of a project may be, a high-quality safety management plan can increasingly reduce the insurance costs for each project by thousands, even millions, of dollars.
There are many online opportunities for finding safety management plan templates, outlines, and pre-formatted documents. The various construction safety companies to choose from offer wide ranges of safety guidelines for you and your team and provide the knowledge you need to understand all possible risk factors on the job site and what you can do to avoid them. Your safety construction plan for all projects should include:
– Roles and responsibilities for all team members
– Safety preparedness guidelines before construction begins
– Contracted document with details of all safety requirements
– Frequent construction site inspections
– High-risk activities during construction
– Potential hazards on the construction site
– Drug and alcohol impairment
These examples are merely a few broadened sections of what your construction safety management plan should include.
Every plan should be incredibly detailed for the assurance that everyone involved in the project can go to work every day without the stress of potential hazards hanging overhead. Safety is the most important part of every project and should be the first matter of business whenever a new project begins; including emergency response plans, and inventory and storage of materials on the job site that are potential hazards.
Safety construction plans are not only valuable to worker’s safety, but they ensure the health and safety of the environment of the construction site and the surrounding public. Be sure to be cautious of hazardous pollutants, spills, or any environmental damage, and create a plan to respond to environmental harm if it occurs.