By nature, managing and working on a construction site can be risky business. The combination of heavy equipment, loud noises from said equipment, and just the general nature of the work, construction can be one of the most hazardous industries. Ensuring your construction worksites are safe is critical to the health of both your employees, your reputation, and your bottom line. While there's no perfect formula to avoid accidents, simply because humans are by nature imperfect, there are programs and steps you can implement to increase job site safety.
1. Proper Training and Communication
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.8 million non-fatal workplace illnesses and injuries in the U.S. in 2017. It's critical that your entire staff of construction workers is properly trained on how to safely conduct their daily tasks so that your employees don't become statistics. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a number of resources to help businesses train their employees before they ever step foot on a job site. Likewise, anyone that is operating heavy machinery should be licensed and properly trained to avoid accidents. It should be communicated from the top down that safety is a priority and should never take a backseat to convenience. The most adequate training includes a combination of classroom supported by hands-on training to put classroom training into action.
2. Equipment Safety
Just like a personal vehicle, job site equipment should be properly maintained and inspected for optimal safety. Heavy equipment boosts productivity, helping construction staff complete projects on time; however, it can increase the number of worksite accidents. In fact, according to OSHA, 75% of struck-by-fatalities are the result of heavy equipment accidents. To increase equipment safety, staff can implement safety best practices such as:
Properly mount and dismount equipment
Thoroughly check equipment for damage, wear and tear, or other malfunctions prior to operation
Follow the proper maintenance schedule prior to operating
Ensure brakes are functional
Employees that are working the ground surrounding heavy machinery should also exercise safety best practices to help protect themselves and their fellow equipment operators. Some of these best practices include:
Wear brightly colored clothing
Wear protective equipment while on-site
Use radios to ensure constant communication with machinery operators
3. Proper Supervision
Most business functions require some sort of supervisory oversight, but when it comes to a construction site, proper supervision is critical due to the dangerous nature of the day-to-day activities. As the old saying goes, "teamwork makes the dream work!" Jobsite safety can improve when your employees work as a team and have proper supervision. Supervisors can ensure the safety plan is being properly followed, hazards are identified before the day's work begins, and empower crews to look out for each other and work as a team at all times. Supervisors and leads can encourage all employees to bring unsafe conditions or practices to light so that they can be addressed, and they can pair veteran employees with younger employees to help spread the wealth of safety knowledge. Ultimately, safety has to be prioritized from the top down in order to have a lasting impact.
Unfortunately, no matter what steps you take to avoid accidents and injuries, we are all human and accidents will happen. Employees could over-exert themselves and experience heat-related illnesses, equipment could malfunction, employees could slip and fall, or any number of inherent accidents could occur. It's critical that your business is properly insured with a comprehensive workers' compensation insurance plan. With the right coverage, you can provide your employees with medical-expense coverage and lost wages for workplace injuries while protecting your company from risk. No two construction companies are the same so insurance coverage should be customized to suit the unique needs and risk of your business. Visit our website to learn how we can help you promote a safe and successful workplace.