Construction is one of the most dangerous professions. There are many factors that make construction a risky industry to work in, including large equipment, hazardous materials, and electrified wires. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 4,764 workplace deaths in 2020. The construction industry accounted for 46.1 percent of all falls, slips, and trips. Understanding risks and taking precautions help keep you and your employees safe working at a construction site.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified the “fatal four” construction hazards that are the leading cause of death. These include falls, struck-by accidents, electrocutions, and caught-in/in-between accidents. Other safety risks include extreme weather and working with harmful substances.
Falls account for the most significant number of fatalities in the construction industry. In 2020, falls accounted for 368 workplace deaths. The BLS provided the chart image on the right to illustrate the number of fatal work injuries in the construction industry. Some common reasons these incidents occur are improper tool use, lack of protection, inadequate equipment, and lack of communication. To reduce the number of injuries and deaths, it is crucial to continually make improvements to protocols and follow guidelines to keep your team safe. Here are the top four ways to enhance construction safety for your employees.
Offer Safety Training
Training and education help keep your workers aware of potential safety hazards. Knowing the proper protocol and how to use equipment properly can help prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Additionally, OSHA offers certification in safety training that your team can take. There are various types of training opportunities and topics you can take. Online courses are available on OSHA’s website, and many companies offer classroom-style OSHA certifications.
In an emergency, it is essential always to have a CPR/First Aid certified person on-site. This person can provide care and get a life-threatening situation under control before the first response team arrives on the scene.
Follow OSHA Guidelines
OSHA is responsible for ensuring safe working conditions and providing industry regulations and standards. It is essential to stay up-to-date on their current guidelines and make changes when needed. Following safety guidelines can sometimes feel unnecessary, but they were created to protect you and your employees. To keep your team safe, have one person on your team dedicated to all safety issues. This person can come from within your existing team, or you can outsource a safety professional. This way, one person is responsible for monitoring training and certifications, staying up-to-date on guidelines, creating safety plans, and keeping inventory of first aid kits and gear.
Having a Safety Officer in charge of safety should develop a safety plan for each job site, keep a copy on-site, and require all subcontractors to submit a plan. Each job site should be evaluated and analyzed for potential risks during the project. If an employee is not following safety guidelines, don’t hesitate to remove them from the project, so they don’t injure themselves or others.
Provide Construction Safety Gear
Providing proper safety attire, also known as personal protection equipment (PPE), is essential for protecting your team. Not only does it protect your workers, but it shows them you value safety and their well-being. PPEs include boots, hard hats, hearing protection, safety goggles, harnesses, gloves, and more. It is crucial to provide these at your construction site and regularly check that the gears are in good condition.
Technology is a great way to improve your safety culture. Today, many apps can track safety meetings, record incidents, provide guidelines, and more.
iAuditor is an app created by SafetyCulture and used globally by companies like Toyota and Schneider Electric. It allows you to create checklists, track inspections, build reports, and more.
The American Red Cross has a mobile app that can provide first aid advice and send weather alerts. Extreme temperatures can put outdoor workers at risk, so keeping track of the weather is essential. OSHA also has a Heat Safety Tool app that keeps track of the heat index, gives precautions, and provides first aid information.
Safety is imperative to reducing incidents and preventing fatal injuries in construction. Offering training, following OSHA guidelines, and providing safety gear and technology all help keep your construction site a safer place to work.
A.R. Brouwer’s Safety Program
A.R. Brouwer Company is committed to taking precautions and following safety guidelines at all of our construction sites. We work with the National Safety Resource Center (NSRC) to create our site-specific safety programs. The program includes weekly visits to the site by safety inspectors and all daily documentation required. Our construction team adheres to a site-specific safety plan that identifies and mitigates potential safety hazards.
As a full-service commercial design/build, construction management, and general contracting firm, our team of professionals gets continuing education and safety training and access to safety apps on company mobile devices. We require everyone to wear PPEs at our project sites and follow all OSHA safety guidelines. Contact us to learn more about how we can help meet your project needs.