Construction sites are notorious for their dangers and catastrophic accidents. The constant activity, the hazardous environment, and the handling of potentially harmful materials result in high accident rates. However, companies can reduce the risks and decrease the likelihood of tragedies by implementing appropriate safety measures.
Dozens of factors influence the safety of workers during construction projects, and knowing the major ones helps prevent accidents and improves safety management.
Not only is this beneficial for workers, but it also works in favor of the company. The latter will enjoy better productivity and save thousands of dollars from treating affected employees.
We’ve mentioned all the essential factors you should know to improve the safety of your workers at construction sites down below.
Conditions of the Construction Site
We can avoid several accidents by streamlining work processes and improving on-ground working conditions. Since each construction site is different, it will require safety measures specific to its requirements.
The most important factors which should be considered while reviewing the worksite’s safety include,
- Site Constraints- Every site has its own limitations and restrictions, including the type of machinery that can be used on it. Assessing them and implementing appropriate safety measures will reduce risks and dangers.
- Local Hazards- All construction sites have unique hazards which require addressing before workers begin work. It includes the replacement of regular wires with a MICC cable that can survive extreme temperatures. It can ensure that essential circuits (service lifts, water pumps, etc.) continue to function in case of a fire emergency. Additionally, noise cancellation headphones can help mitigate ear damage risks, and tripping hazards should be appropriately dealt with.
- Work Environment- Wet floors, noise, low lighting, and thermal stress affect accidents. The list also includes risks imposed by bad weather like rain and extreme snow.
- Site Layout- The design of the construction site can generate accidents and increase the risk of workers getting hurt while working. Thus, it is essential to consider the layout of the land and the restrictions imposed by its size or adjacent structures before the project begins.
- Work Scheduling- Distributing work and setting a time for each employee can improve their safety as this reduces the chances of crowding and accidents.
- Arranging Material and Equipment- Disorderly conditions can disturb workers while working and generate risks.
Materials and Equipment
Construction sites are full of various work materials, tools, and heavy machinery. Some of them can be extremely dangerous for workers. We’ve all heard horror stories of inappropriate equipment handling resulting in a workplace tragedy that could’ve been avoided with a little more vigilance.
All the factors related to materials and equipment mentioned below could seriously risk workers’ lives.
- Availability of Materials- If the required materials for a specific task are unavailable, the workers may opt to use non-appropriate alternatives with functionalities that do not match the specifics of the task and get work done. It can be highly unsafe and result in serious accidents.
- Design of Materials: Some machinery and tools have poor builds. Their designs are inappropriate for their designated task. Using such equipment can result in unsafe working conditions.
- Quality of Materials- Using worn-out, poor, quality materials affects the performance of tasks. It reduces productivity while also creating unsafe conditions.
- Hazardous Materials- Some materials are known for their hazardous nature. They can result in poisoning, acute toxicity, and explosions. Some examples of commonly used potentially dangerous materials on construction sites are asbestos, lead-based paints, and PCBs.
A specific sum of money should be set aside for increasing safety. This includes,
- Safety Budget- This refers to the money used for increasing safety by investing in better quality products and safety equipment like chemical splash goggles and fall protection tools.
- Budget for Accidents- Money should be set aside for treating accidents and appropriately compensating affected workers.
- ROI on Safety- The return on investment refers to the company’s benefits from investing in workers’ safety. It includes a better reputation, increased productivity, and decreased money spent on accident treatment.
Competency of Workers
This factor refers to the capabilities of workers that increase their safety and protect them from risks. It includes,
- Skillset- Workers trained to perform tasks and use heavy machines have reduced risks of getting hurt.
- Safety Knowledge- Ensuring that all workers are well versed in the safety regulations associated with their work will improve safety conditions. They should also know about the best practices which minimize risks.
- Training- Companies should offer courses on safety issues. All workers must know about the risks associated with the tasks they perform and the possible consequences of negligent behavior. Moreover, specific training sessions should be conducted for new workers.
- Prequalification of Subcontractors on Safety- Subcontracted work teams should also have appropriate safety knowledge and follow the same rules as the principal contractor on the worksite.
Safety Management Systems
- Security Management Time- By paying little attention to the security management on the construction site, organizations risk employees’ well-being. It gives the impression that they do not care much for their workers. On the other hand, establishing a committee of safety specialists that ensures all protocols are followed will reduce risks and prevent accidents.
- Lead By Example- The company’s actions and dedication to the cause will encourage workers to join safety initiatives and follow all rules strictly.
This factor refers to working conditions resulting in negligence and decreased safety. It includes,
- Work Overload: Overburdening workers will result in poor execution of tasks and increase the risk of accidents.
- Fatigue and Burnout- No breaks and holidays will lead to tired workers, increased risk of errors, and decreased attention to hazards.
- Schedule Delays- Delaying schedules will result in employees speeding their way through tasks and ignoring safety practices.
General Company Indicators
These are factors associated with the general company that can influence safety, such as,
- Revenue- the company’s revenue relates to its ease in implementing security systems and controlling them.
- Size- It is more complex to put the correct security systems into effect and maintain them for more prominent companies with more employees than smaller ones.
- Reputation- Companies may want to improve safety conditions to reduce accidents and establish a good reputation in the industry.
Every company should address safety risks associated with their construction site and appropriately manage them for their workers’ well-being. After all, what can be more important than human lives?