Beyond staffing shortages, the greatest challenge any worksite faces is safety. The construction industry can be extremely dangerous and often deadly if safety measures are not strictly adhered to at all times, by all staff. The hazards on worksites are so numerous and pervasive that OSHA has isolated the four most common dangers and dubbed them the fatal four.
The fatal four include falling, getting struck, electrocution and getting trapped or crushed by an object. Job site deadlines are important, but the lives of workers are more so. OSHA estimates that eliminating the fatal four could save the lives of almost 600 construction workers per year.
Contractors and crews must be deliberate about safety protocols. These 5 safety tips may help.
1. Always maintain awareness of current OSHA regulations
Contractors and managers must be committed to staying abreast of changes and updates to OSHA’s regulations and current standards at all times. OSHA has outlined numerous ways to keep worksites safe and free from incidents. To prevent fines and maintain a safe work environment, OSHA regulations must be adhered to by all staff at all times.
2. Schedule ongoing and mandatory safety training
It is not enough to simply post the rules and regulations onsite. OSHA has created and regularly updates safety guidelines and provides extensive training-related materials for the construction industry.
Regular safety training sessions ensure that crew members have all of the knowledge necessary to perform their work safely for their own benefit and with an awareness of their coworkers’ safety as well.
Periodic training refreshers and updates ensure that new ways to improve safety on the worksite are shared amongst the crew and staff when they become available and safety is always on the mind. All training and classes should be documented and recorded for reference. If an incident does occur, the contractor will need to prove that training is up-to-date.
3. Have a worksite safety plan
Contractors should approach a worksite with safety at the top of their priority list. The time it takes to create a safety plan will reduce or eliminate time being diverted from the job due to safety issues. This could include attaching operation instructions on or near the equipment.
Managers can post obvious signage that points to areas of danger and potential hazards that can be avoided. Other aspects as simple as having an adequately staffed crew can be integral to maintaining job site safety and should be part of a safety plan.
4. Instill a strong safety culture
Creating a strong culture of safety sets the standard for conduct and behavior. When safety is emphasized it creates an atmosphere of free communication about faulty equipment or unsafe practices. Workers should be encouraged to check their equipment for potential faults and report any operational or safety issues to supervisors. Workers should be recognized for their role in communicating their safety concerns to strengthen the safety culture.
5. Use technology to increase safety
Emerging technologies are paving the way for the future of safety in construction. Computer vision systems that survey a worksite and predict safety concerns have been developed and are being implemented by advanced construction firms.
Some companies use VR (virtual reality) for immersive, realistic safety training. Contractors should research and consider investing in technology that could better identify issues. Some could say technology has the potential to someday eliminate construction worker fatalities entirely.
Sierra View has cultivated a strong culture of safety. After 40 years in the business, we have learned that the best way to manage time on a worksite is to prioritize worker safety. We stay current on OSHA regulations, have mandatory ongoing safety training, maintain a safety plan, and use technology to make our work sites as safe as possible. Effective safety and time management create successful projects, and that satisfies our clients.