In the construction industry, safety is a top priority. Some safety measures are standard knowledge: always wear personal protective equipment, and don’t operate machinery without training. However, there are some additional safety steps that construction managers can implement to make their site as safe as possible.
1. Consistent Risk Analyses
The easiest way to prevent accidents is to spot dangers before someone gets hurt. Completing a thorough site analysis before workers arrive will make sure you catch potential hazards before an incident can occur. Scheduling regular inspections throughout the construction process is necessary as well, to make sure safety measures are intact and to add any new protection measures as needed.
Site risk assessments will vary depending on the size of the project and what it entails. Certain projects may require trenches, for example, which need extra attention when it comes to safety. Site managers should also consider establishing an easy system for team members to report spots around the site that they have found risky during their workday.
2. Self-Care Training
Studies have shown that fatigue is directly related to poor physical and cognitive function, which poses a significant accident risk. Many site workers are on their feet, moving heavy equipment, and potentially in unideal weather for eight hours a day or more. While this is part of the job, it is important to make sure that team members understand the risks of fatigue and are trained to tell when they need to take a break.
These breaks should actually improve productivity, as well. Fatigue causes a decrease in mental and physical performance. So, less work would get done in an hour when someone is tired or heat-sick than would get done if they stopped to take a 10-minute break. Allowing time to pause and recharge throughout the day ensures team members are focused and aware, which will reduce the likelihood of accidents.
3. Fall Protection Training
Many projects require workers to scale large structures to such a height that a fall could cause serious injury. All sites provide protective equipment for workers to minimize the risk of any incidents happening, but staff training is an important addition to this.
Making sure that all team members are well-trained on how to use all of the site’s fall protection equipment will minimize risk as much as possible. Not only will everyone know how to put on safety gear securely, but they will also be more likely to use it carefully and consistently.
4. Comprehensive Rescue Plans
Accidents inevitably occur now and then, even on the safest job sites. Site managers can minimize the damage done when accidents do happen by having a rescue plan ready ahead of time. This is something that can be created after doing the initial site risk analysis.
For every potential hazard, assess what could go wrong. Sometimes equipment breaks, other times human error is responsible, and once in a while, there are simply fluke incidents, such as sudden weather changes. Consider as many eventualities as possible and establish a clear plan for addressing those specific incidents if they occur.
For example, if a site will need scaffolding, it is possible that a worker may fall from it. Will they be falling onto a clear area or is there another danger below the scaffolding? Where is the nearest hospital for them to be taken to?
While it may seem uncomfortable to think about accidents happening on-site, knowing what to do ahead of time will make sure that site managers and their teams can face incidents calmly.
5. Easy Maintenance Requests
Faulty equipment and machinery can be one of the biggest dangers at construction sites. Workers will be more likely to report equipment that needs maintenance right away if they have an easy, accessible way of doing so. There are numerous ways of setting up such a system, but automation will help provide quicker solutions.
For example, maybe an app is created for team members to quickly submit maintenance requests from their phones. There could also be a person or location assigned on the site where broken tools could be turned in so no one else accidentally uses them.
Whatever approach works best, site managers should make it clear to everyone on their team how faulty equipment and machinery can easily and quickly be reported.
6. Electrical Safety Measures
Electrocution has been reported as one of the top dangers on construction sites. There are a variety of causes for electrocution and other electrical-related accidents, from frayed wiring to improper use. All wiring and cables around construction sites should be inspected regularly for maintenance, including checking for water damage and proper grounding.
Additionally, it is important for everyone on-site to have a basic understanding of electrical safety beyond the electricians. All team members should know what electrical safety gear they should be familiar with and be able to identify wiring that could be dangerous to touch (such as frayed or split wires).
Safety, One Step at a Time
Construction is one of the most steadily growing career fields in the U.S., and for good reason. Professions in the construction industry are exciting and rewarding. Utilizing comprehensive safety measures on-site will make sure team members new and old can continue to enjoy their jobs with confidence.
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