One in ten construction workers are injured every year (OSHA) which is why Construction is one of the highest risk industries when it comes to workplace health and safety.
Many construction incidents involve the use of equipment and working at heights on the site. Factors such as negligence, improper use of tools, incompetence in skills and bad habits cause these workers to encounter injuries on the job.
Construction will always be one of the riskier industries simply because of the nature of the work. However, construction workers should not be risking their lives every time they enter a jobsite. While most construction companies implement safety procedures to ensure that accidents and injuries are minimized, it is not always enough.
Having safety violations and incidents carry with them huge repercussions. Not only did someone get hurt, but now the company must deal with medical and worker’s compensation costs, OSHA fines and even loss of future business. For these reasons, it is important to be constantly improving your strategies and your workers’ mindset.
The best practices implemented by top contractors and construction companies
- Set SMART Safety Goals. What do you desire to reach in your safety processes? Are these realistic? Are they not ambitious enough? Goals need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
- Observe on-site. Nothing will ever be as effective as actually visiting your sites, which gives workers the opportunity to speak up about concerns. If you see hazards, point them out but just make sure that you don’t act like the “safety police.” Show workers that safety relies on all of you and it cannot be accomplished by one single person.
- Make sure safety is a part of the conversation. It can be in your toolbox talk or a weekly meeting. Constant communication is the key to understanding and gaining awareness of safety policies and getting your crews involved.
- Listen to your workers. Their involvement is crucial to the success of your safety procedures. Your workers are at the frontline of your organization. They see the risks everyday and if you ignore your workers, they will ignore the hazards. Stay in touch and allow them to provide comments and suggestions to improve the procedures you want them to follow. If they feel that they are playing a role, they will be much more engaged.
- Plan an emergency strategy. Anticipate emergency scenarios and what your workers need to do. Provide emergency tools such as first-aid kits, fire extinguishers and test them monthly. Make sure there is always a safe means of egress. Do a dry run of these emergency procedures involving your workers and subcontractors throughout the project. And make sure your safety equipment is up to code!
- Train your leaders. The success of your construction safety also lies in the hands of your leaders. Train them to effectively lead a team of workers and emphasize the importance of practicing safety procedures at work.