There is a high potential for injuries in the construction industry. To some degree, workers accept the chance of suffering an injury when they choose construction as a career. As much as it is part of the job, employers, workers and jobsite managers should do everything they can to avoid injuries on construction sites.
Certain threats might be inherent to construction sites, but there is so much that can be done to reduce risk. By taking the time to set safety policies, you can save workers from injuries that could result in a lifetime of disability. Furthermore, safety policies protect construction businesses and make for more productive work environments.
Even with workers and employers understanding the value of safety, many of us are not doing all we can. Here are seven tips to prevent injuries and create safer construction sites.
Safety as Culture
Make safety a part of the culture on the site. From day one, you need to express the value you place on safe work practices. Take the time to teach everyone about the safety practices and procedures that are expected. Let people know they will be held accountable and encourage workers to hold each other to account.
You should also consider holding safety meetings. It doesn’t have to be every day, but you need to remind people about safety issues. Meetings can be a good way to keep safety on the minds of workers. It can also be a time to cover new safety issues or to discuss problems that may have arisen on the jobsite.
Provide Safety Training
Training is one of the best ways to ensure safety practices are followed. You not only want to make sure people have the proper training for the jobs they do, but you should also provide specific training for safety. Hiring a safety training company might be a good idea. Professional trainers will be able to assess the worksite, identify issues and provide proper training.
Tools & Equipment
You need to make sure workers have the right tools and equipment for the job. Using a tool for something outside of its design can be dangerous. Having the proper tools and equipment will ensure better results for most projects and it will also prevent injuries.
Beyond buying the right tools and equipment, you need to make sure these items are well maintained. Tools that are old or damaged can be dangerous. Equipment should be inspected regularly to make sure it is safe. If there are problems, repair or replace the equipment.
Provide Safety Gear
Having the necessary safety gear is another key concern. If workers need things like hard hats or eye protection, they should be available. You should also have harnesses for workers who need to work in high places. Beyond having the equipment, its use should also be enforced. If an employee is seen working without the safety equipment they need, you need to make them aware of the problem.
Make Hazards Identifiable
Hazards can be anywhere on a construction site. In some cases, they might not be obvious. Workers can also get lax with some hazards because they grow accustomed to being around them. This lack of awareness can be a serious problem as it concerns safety.
To address this issue, jobsite managers and employers need to take steps to raise awareness of hazards. You could have signs posted near certain types of hazards. Caution tape could also be a solution for some hazards. Bright colors and marking paint can offer other solutions for making hazards more identifiable.
No matter how safe you try to be, accidents will happen. You need to make sure people are ready when they do. Assess the threats on the worksite and develop plans for when accidents do occur. Make sure you have a first-aid kit available for providing basic care for injuries. Also, have plans for getting people to the hospital if the need arises.
Keep a Clean Worksite
Construction sites get messy. It is just the nature of the work. With that said, the mess can be another hazard. If you allow debris to be left lying around, it could be a tripping hazard. Some materials could be sharp and pose a risk for cutting someone. Leaving tools out can be another type of hazard.
Site managers need to set rules for keeping a clean worksite. Debris should be cleaned up and not left in areas where people may walk. Tools and equipment should be cleaned up and put away. Some jobsites might even benefit from hiring people to clean up after the workers at the end of the day.
As a final tip, crew leaders and site managers need to set an example. If people see leaders following the rules, they will be more likely to follow them as well.