After the pandemic swept the nation and the dust settled, construction remained a viable industry, though many contractors took substantial hits. Much like healthcare, retail, and other sectors that are vital to the running of this country, as long as civilization continues to march forward, construction workers will be needed.
For the owners of contracting companies, however, the pandemic has added an extra dimension to a job that already required lots of micromanagement to ensure the safety of their workers. Despite the best efforts of organizations like OSHA, construction still remains one of the more unsafe professions in the US, with it accounting for one out of every five worker deaths back in 2019. While the overall number of fatalities associated with construction has decreased in recent years, according to the Center for Disease Control, there’s clearly still a lot of work to be done to ensure the safety of construction workers.
While some of the responsibility for worker safety falls on construction site managers and company owners, the role of keeping each other safe falls on construction workers as well; adopting known best practices for keeping the worksite safe will limit the chances of something going wrong on-site, as well as give your employees the confidence that when they come to work, they’re working in a safe environment.
If you’ve got a basic grasp of what needs to be done to keep your workers safe but are looking to see if you’ve done all you can, you’re in the right place: read on for some tips on how to keep your workers safe, limiting the potentiality for accidents on-site.
Table of Contents
1. Make Sure All Workers are Trained Appropriately
Construction sites are an inherently dangerous place, full of hazards that employees need to know to be on the lookout for and packed with machinery that can be dangerous in untrained hands. As such, you need to make sure that all of your workers get the education required to navigate the construction site safely; make sure that no worker steps on-site until they have basic safety training, and make sure no worker is assigned to operate heavy machinery that they have not been thoroughly trained on how to use.
Also, make sure you provide your workers with an induction: aside from it being legally required that you provide one, an induction gives them a sense of the unique dangers on each site, letting them know what they’ll be dealing with upfront.
2. Keep PPE on You at All Times
If your workers are taking a lunch break off-site, sure, they can remove their PPE for a moment or two: but while on-site, they should be prepared for anything to go wrong at any moment. Falling equipment or detritus isn’t exactly uncommon on any construction site, and if your workers aren’t wearing the proper protective equipment, they may be seriously injured. Make sure all of your workers are wearing reinforced boots and safety helmets at all times, and eye protection if necessary.
3. Clean Work Areas Frequently
Construction is an inherently messy business, and it’s likely that your worksite will be covered in detritus, spare tools, and the occasional spill every once in a while. However, just because things can get messy does not mean messy should be the norm, as the messier your worksite is, the more likely it is that an accident will occur.
Spare tools should not be left in areas where other workers can trip over them, spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible to avoid slipping or electrical incidents, and any detritus should be properly removed from the site at regular intervals to avoid unsafe buildup.
4. Encourage Employees to Report Defective Equipment
If your employees notice that a particular piece of equipment appears to be defective for any reason, have them report it to you immediately; do not allow anyone else, after that point, to work with that piece of equipment. Defective equipment can cause serious injuries if employees continue to use it after a defect is discovered and can act in ways that are unpredictable, even to seasoned vets of the construction business.
Remove that equipment from the site as soon as possible, and replace it at your earliest convenience. The same goes for equipment that has been modified by employees, as that can cause a number of unpredictable issues as well.
Maintaining a safe environment on a construction site doesn’t fall to any one person: it’s a team effort and should be treated as a team effort. Teach your employees to follow common sense like a north star, enroll them in the appropriate courses, and encourage them to always be watchful, and the number of injuries on your worksites will go down dramatically.