Construction Site Safety: Best Practices

construction safety

Putting safety first is always a win-win. Your workers will be happier and more productive, and you will benefit both ethically and financially. The unfortunate reality, however, is that safety is often not a priority on most job sites—but this needs to change.

In most workplaces, accidents are just a nuisance, but in construction, they can be life threatening. Being in one of the most dangerous professions there is, construction industry leaders have to take responsibility for the safety of their people. Implementing these eight best practices will get you that much closer to making construction a safer and more profitable industry.

Training

While workers should be constantly encouraged to gain and develop skills on the job, safety is not something to learn gradually. OSHA and other similar organizations publish great resources to help businesses train new laborers on important safety standards, like pamphlets, worksheets, training videos, as well as on-site training opportunities.

Not only should new workers be adequately and thoroughly trained, but experienced workers should be expected to brush up on their safety knowledge at regular intervals—they should never be exempt from training sessions.

On-site training is just as important as reading pamphlets and watching instructional videos. When your workers can see equipment and situations first-hand, remembering what to do will be easier for them. Workers can practice what they’ve already learned in the environment where they’ll need that information most.

Accidents do happen—there’s no getting around that. You can, however, prevent them to the best of your abilities, and that starts with training.

Awareness

Before any worker, regardless of their prior experience or their current role, walks onto a construction site, they should be fully aware of all possible hazards. Ignorance is by far the biggest threat to safety in the industry, especially when you consider that many mistakes or accidents have the potential to harm multiple people—not just the person making the mistake.

The best way to prevent accidents is for you and your workers to be aware of every potential hazard. Make sure everyone is up-to-date on OSHA standards and consult the OSHA Safety Checklist. It’s the construction manager’s job to make sure that everyone is aware of the possible dangers, and that they’re always equipped with proper protection. Without question, this should be every industry leader’s top priority.

Communication

Expectations are a crucial part of worksite safety. Accidents are far more likely to occur when workers aren’t sure what to expect or don’t know what they’ll be dealing with. You should strive for clear and timely communication throughout your entire team. This includes making sure everyone knows daily goals and what everyone will be doing.

This goes for you as the leader, but also for your whole team. Everyone should be communicating effectively with each other throughout the day to best manage expectations. Smartphones, walkie-talkies, headsets, etc. allow fast and efficient communication among everyone. Clear and concise communication will not only make your project go faster, but will keep everyone safe and informed. This is also useful for you to keep tabs on everyone’s progress!

Documentation

Proper documentation of everything is key in making sure your construction site is safe. There are a lot of legal things you have to take care of before you can start building, so make sure you have all necessary registrations and licenses before doing anything. In addition to these documents, make sure any supervisor or contractor provides proof of their certification well in advance of their employment with you. This will prevent accidents caused by improper training, and protects your firm from legal action as well as public scrutiny from a serious accident or oversight.

No construction firm, or any company for that matter, wants their mistakes or safety hazards in the media—this affects the projects you get, as well as deters good employees from wanting to work for you. No one wants to work for a firm that doesn’t put safety first. Avoid hurting your public image and your employment prospects by documenting everything accurately and thoroughly—today’s technology makes it easy, so there’s no excuse!

Equipment

It may seem obvious, but workers equipped with improper gear are far more likely to make fatal mistakes. As a construction firm, it’s 100% your responsibility to make sure that all of your machinery and equipment is well maintained and up-to-date on safety standards. A common oversight here is failing to provide your workers with equipment not directly related to the project at hand. Your workers should have plenty of water, as well as a shady place to rest. Longer projects may even benefit from fabric structures to store equipment, or to cover up incomplete sites. You should be doing everything in your power to keep your workers happy and healthy. Prevent dehydration and exposure-related illnesses with simple things like these.

Supervision

Every construction worker should fully understand the consequences of inadequate safety precautions. If their supervisor takes it seriously, they’re more likely to take it seriously. Every site needs a strong supervisor who is not only capable, but willing to inforce important standards at all times. Investing in a strong team is essential to construction site safety and a more profitable industry. Work hard to spot any weak links on a construction site, and realize that they’re a hazard in themselves.

Innovation

Any additional resources you can incorporate into your workplace will lower the rates of accidents and injuries, and will help you and your team continue to develop new ideas for keeping you and your workers safe. If construction firms aren’t willing to devote extra resources to keep their employees safe, their accident rates will continue to rise.

The development of new practices meant to enhance security should always be encouraged, and companies should seriously avoid speaking against any legislation meant to improve safety protocols. With strong principles and enough innovations, all construction sites can maximize their safety practices, and can reach the ideal goal of 100% accident free.

Transparency

As long as a construction firm is doing their best to enforce important safety standards, there is no reason to cover up accidents when they do happen. Attempting to cover something up is never the way to go when it comes to slip ups—hiding serious accidents from the press, or making excuses, will only lower the public’s opinion of you, not to mention it portrays the entire industry in a bad light.

People generally understand that accidents happen, and transparency can help construction as a whole become a safer, more honest industry to work in. Again, as long as you’re doing everything you should, there’s no reason to cover up when an accident inevitably happens. Transparency, however, can lead to fewer injuries, fewer accidents, and fewer deaths.

The fewer accidents occurring, and the happier your workers, the more popular the construction industry will become. If you implement all of these practices into your workplace, you’ll see the difference in both of these areas.

For all things important to the industry, contact Southern Field today.