IMPROVE CONSTRUCTION SITE SAFETY
In most workplaces, accidents are a nuisance for the worker and a headache for HR. However, at construction sites, accidents have the potential to be life threatening. With every new story about environmental disasters, earth-shattering explosions, and trapped laborers, construction sites become less and less appealing — even as the population grows and demands new, updated structures increases.
Regarded as one of the most dangerous professions, construction work on the job site can be considered anything but entirely safe. Obviously, the employers do need to mitigate safety hazards to construction workers, but the workers need to keep in mind a lot of precautions themselves when working in such hazardous conditions.
Thus, construction industry leaders must strive to safeguard their employees — if not for the ethical reasons, then for the economic ones. Here are eight ways construction businesses can reduce workplace accidents.
Before any worker — no matter his or her role or experience level — can set foot on a construction site, he or she must be fully cognizant of the possible hazards. Ignorant workers are perhaps the biggest dangers in any industry, as their unknowing mistakes put everyone else at risk. Understanding of perils at hand and sustaining a perpetual state of alertness is perhaps the number-one best way to prevent accidents. See OSHA Safety Check Lists.
Though most of a construction worker’s skills can be gained on the job, safety is one skill set that is best learned before works enter the construction site. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other organizations publish some resources to help businesses train their new laborers on standard safety and security practices, including pamphlets, worksheets, training videos, and even on-site training opportunities. Experienced workers should be expected to refresh their knowledge of standard safety by attending regular training sessions throughout the year.
Accidents are more likely to occur when workers are unsure what to expect. Direct communication regarding the day’s goals and activities will cut down on surprises that could cause bodily harm. Construction firms would be wise to equip workers with devices, like smartphones or headsets, which allow fast and efficient communication among team members.
There are some legal hoops most construction companies must jump through to begin building, and it is essential that all proper registrations and licenses are earned before work begins. Supervisors and contractors who will be charged with particularly difficult tasks, like blasting, certainly should provide evidence of their certification well in advance of their employment on the job site. Not only does this prevent accidents due to improper training, but it protects the construction firm from legal action and public scrutiny. Also, documenting all work in the field using cloud and mobile technology is making it easier than ever before to mitigate future lawsuits.
5. Proper Equipment
Construction workers equipped with improper gear are bound to make fatal errors. Not only should each piece of equipment on the job site be ideally suited to the task at hand, but construction firms must make certain that all machinery and material are well maintained.
Construction companies must also consider equipment that doesn’t directly contribute to the construction project. Workers should have plenty of water on-site as well as a shady place to prevent dehydration and exposure-related illnesses. Longer construction projects may even benefit from fabric structures to store equipment and cover incomplete sites.
Ideally, construction workers would fully understand the ramifications of inadequate safety precautions and thus act in a manner to ensure site-wide well-being — but this is not a perfect world. Every site must have a strong supervisor who is willing and capable of enforcing safety standards with no exceptions. This foreman must keep tabs on all employees throughout the day and correct those who fail to commit to proper safety procedures.
The accident rate would be even higher than it is today if it were not for construction firms willing to devote extra resources to keep their employees safe. The development of new practices that will enhance security should always be encouraged, and companies should avoid speaking against legislation aimed at improving safety protocols. Perhaps with enough innovation, all construction sites can be 100 percent accident-free.
The worst thing any construction firm can do for its reputation is attempting a cover-up. Hiding accidents from the press and the public not only lowers the opinion of a single endeavor — it paints the building industry as a whole in a negative light. Ultimately, people understand that accidents happen, and as long as contractors are doing their best to foster a safe environment for their workers, any accidents that do occur will only contribute to the growing need to augment modern safety techniques. Transparency, along with the other seven practices on this list, will help construction as a whole become a safer industry in which to work.