5 Safety Measures All Construction Companies Should Have
Every year, falls, getting struck by object, electrocutions, and being caught-in/between equipment or objects are among the top most common construction accidents. Although construction workers must always be aware of these risks, it’s important to note that these accidents are often preventable by following proper safety measures.
To help you reduce the number of hazards, both large and small, that threaten your job site, here’s a list of five safety measures all construction companies should have in place.
Your Business Should Implement These Safety Measures:
1. Conduct Inspections Before and During Work
Even before a construction project begins, you — or a project manager — should inspect the job site. This will enable you to identify potential hazards, deploy preventative measures, and communicate hazards to your workers. That said, inspections shouldn’t stop there.
Someone should be conducting regular inspections of the job site, equipment, workers’ procedures, and materials. According to OSHA, unsafe materials, tools, or machines “must be identified as unsafe by tagging or locking the controls to make them inoperable or must be physically removed.”
2. Write A Hazard Communication Plan
It isn’t productive to conduct inspections if you’re not communicating hazards to your workers. In fact, a hazard communication plan is required by OSHA if your employees use or may be exposed to hazardous chemicals.
For this communication plan to be effective, you must properly label hazardous chemicals, provide safety data sheets (SDS) for employees, and inform employees of any precautionary measures.
3. Provide Protection from Falls
In 2016, falls were the leading cause of death in construction industry accidents. Yet, a year later, OSHA’s most frequently cited standard violation is related to fall protection. To avoid falls on your work site, you should provide hard hats, toe boards, guardrails, and screens. In some cases, you might need to completely block off and restrict access to an area where dangerous falls could occur.
It’s important to remember that falls don’t just happen from roofs. Your workers could fall from an unprotected balcony, near a hole or excavation, through a wall opening, or onto dangerous equipment. By reminding your employees of these situations, you can help reduce the chance that an on-site fall occurs.
4. Ensure Proper Scheduling
It’s understandable that employees make more mistakes when they’re tired. At a desk job, mistakes caused by fatigue might get result in a harsh rebuke from one’s boss, but on the construction site, mistakes can be extremely dangerous. In fact, research indicates that working 12 hours per day is associated with a 37 percent increased risk of injury.
To reduce the chance that your workers make a dangerous mistake on a job site, make sure they’re not working to the point of exhaustion. Construction workers should get regular breaks and there should be enough staff available to avoid excessive overtime.
4. Require Employee Training
As a business owner, it’s crucial that you establish a culture of safety with your employees. Bill Wilhelm, President of R.D. Olson Construction, recommends OSHA’s 30-hour Construction Training Course as a way to ensure that your entire staff understands necessary safety measures.
However, Wilhelm emphasizes the importance of training subcontractors, your management team, and other employees. He also suggests holding regular events to teach workers about new regulations and provide refreshers on old ones. This will give you and your team confidence that everyone is in-the-know about safety regulations, which will create a safer work environment for everyone involved.
As a construction business owner, it’s your job to keep your employees safe from on-site hazards. Although this list doesn’t address every possible safety measure, it should give you what you need to avoid many preventable construction accidents. If you have any other tips to share with fellow construction business owners, tell us about them in the comment section below!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.