Construction site safety is often overlooked during a construction project.  Accidents have the potential to be life threatening on a construction site.  Construction sites pose many hazards and safety concerns for workers and both employers and workers need to take many precautions when working in dangerous zones.

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards in Construction

  • Scaffolding – fall hazards can occur when scaffolds are not used properly
  • Fall Protection – use aerial lifts to provide safer working surfaces for elevated platforms
  • Excavations – never enter a trench that is unprotected
  • Ladders – avoid ladders with metallic components near electrical works and power lines
  • Head Protection – use safety net systems or body harnesses
  • Excavations (requirements for protective systems) – use a protective system for trenches 1 foot deep or greater
  • Hazard Communication – make information accessible at all times to employees in a language or formats
  • Fall Protection (training requirements) – use an effective employee training program for hazardous substances
  • Construction (general safety and Health Provisions) – construction workers should wear work boots with slip and puncture resistant soles
  • Electrical (wiring methods, design and protection) – check all electrical tools and equipment regularly for defects

Employers need to explain safety hazards to construction workers and the employees need to keep in mind the precautions of working on a dangerous site.  Here are right ways construction business can reduce workplace accidents and promote construction site safety:

  1. Awareness

Before any worker can set foot on a construction site, they must be fully aware of the possible hazards they could be stepping into.  OHSA lists a safety checklist that you should become familiar with so you become familiar with the hazards you can come into contact with.  The construction manager should make sure that every worker is aware of the dangers that come with working on a construction site and they must protect their employees.  Ensuring the safety of construction workers and other people that are on the job site should be the number one priority of any construction manager. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3252/3252.html

2.  Training

OSHA and some other organizations publish resources to help businesses train their new employees on standard safety and security that may include brochures, training videos and on site trainings.  Even experienced workers should attend regular training sessions throughout the year to learn and refresh their knowledge with the ultimate goal of making sure that all employees are properly trained.  Practicing safety skills on site will force workers to practice in an environment where safety is the number one priority.  Without proper training, construction workers can easily be injured or killed.

3.  Communication

Accidents usually occur when workers are unsure what to expect.  Construction companies should supply their employees with smartphones and walkie talkies which allows fast communication between each other.  Proper communication ensures that everyone on the construction site is on the same page and keeps everyone informed.

4.  Documentation

To help enforce construction site safety, you have to make sure you have proper documentation of everything that is going to be done on the job site.  All registrations and licenses need to be established before any work can start.  Contractors and site supervisors who will be handling difficult tasks, such as blasting, should provide evidence of their certification when they are hired and not just when they show up for work on the job site.  This will prevent accidents due to improper training but it protects the construction firm from any legal action or public scrutiny.  It is now easier to document all of your work with cloud and mobile technology, giving you the chance to enter all information with the touch of a button.

5.  Proper Equipment

Your employees will need access and to provide proper equipment so that they will not get injured due to using the wrong or no equipment.   Construction workers who are equipped with improper gear are bound to make mistakes that are sometimes fatal.  Each piece of equipment on the job site should be suited for the task at hand and well maintained for continuous use.  Gloves, goggles, safety glasses and hazmat suits should be provided to those who are working with dangerous chemicals and materials.  Job sites should be stocked with water and a place out of the sun and heat to prevent dehydration or any heat related illness.  Longer projects may even benefit from fabric structures to store equipment and cover incomplete sites.

6.  Supervision

Every site must have a strong supervisor who is willing to enforce safety standards no matter what.  The foreman must correct those who fail to follow the proper safety procedures and make sure that all employees are following these procedures throughout the day.

7.  Innovation

The accident rate on a job site would be even higher than it is today if it wasn’t for construction firms willing to take time and make the effort on resources to help keep their employees safe.  This not only lowers the rate of workplace injuries but helps develop new ideas for keeping construction workers safe.  New practices that help enhance security should be put into place and employees should be up to date with current trainings and certifications.

8.  Transparency

Hiding accidents from the public paints the construction industry as a whole in a negative light.  People understand that accidents happen and if you are transparent with your safety procedures and modernization, your company will not be ridiculed in the public eye.  There should be clear communication to everyone involved in the project including the client, owners, facility mangers, contractors, vendors and employees.  You should share information, whether it is good or bad and keep the lines of communication open at all times.

COVID-19 Guidelines for the Construction Industry

  • Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick
  • Enforce workers to wear make that cover their mouth and nose
  • Use PPE to protect workers from job hazards
  • Advise workers to avoid physical/direct contact with employees
  • Encourage social distancing at 6 feet as much as possible
  • Wash your hands and maintain wash stations with access to soap and water
  • Train employees on how to properly wear, use and remove protective equipment and clothing

The construction industry should be working towards reducing workplace accidents and injuries on the job site.  To help reduce the number of accidents, train and make your workers aware of safety issues with clear and concise communication.  Workers must have the right equipment, proper supervisor and be transparent if any problems happen to occur.  By following these 8 steps, safety will be put in the forefront and the number of accidents on a job site will be greatly reduced.   

Article adapted from: https://esub.com/improve-construction-site-safety/