Construction sites have the potential of being extremely unsafe. In fact, thousands of workers die each year on job sites, many of which are construction sites, due to poor safety practices. Tens of thousands more are injured each year.
Onsite safety should be a major priority to businesses and contractors of all sizes. No one should be getting hurt on the job, and it’s your job as a leader to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.
But construction sites are complex environments with many moving pieces. How can you manage construction site safety, ensuring that everyone follows onsite safety best practices?
It takes work, but it’s work that’s worth investing in. Keep reading to discover the importance of worksite safety and how to implement the top site safety tips on each one of your job sites today.
Onsite Safety Starts With Education
If one person on the job site isn’t following safety procedures, they aren’t only putting themselves at risk. They are also putting everyone else at risk.
It’s imperative that your team is on the same page regarding safety management. And this starts with educating your team.
Each time a new team member comes in, they need to receive full-on safety education, whether they are brand new to the construction industry or have years of experience.
You can do this by signing them up for an online safety class. Or you can educate them yourself. Larger companies can hire a safety manager to ensure all new hires receive basic safety knowledge and onsite tips.
You also need your team to hold each other accountable. There will always be times when one or two team members get lax about safety rules. Rather than letting other team members ignore this, you need to empower them and encourage them to speak up in order to keep everyone on the site safe.
Enroll your team in safety training throughout the year to keep everyone up to date on best practices.
Scare With Statistics
It’s an unfortunate reality, but many people die and or get injured each week on job sites just like the one you are on. You should be having weekly meetings with your team to discuss current projects, objectives, and safety information.
During these meetings, you should share statistics about onsite injuries and deaths. Although morbid, your team needs to be reminded on a regular basis that job sites have many risks and that they aren’t invincible.
If it can happen to someone else, it can happen to them.
Provide Safety Equipment
Everyone needs to have access to proper safety gear every single day on the job site. This means a hard hat, goggles, and work gloves. Everyone should also have site-approved clothing, which is usually thick, durable clothing that would prevent cuts and abrasions.
Shirts, sweatshirts, and hats should always be approved safety colors, such as neon orange, yellow, or pink. Safety vests should also be used when wearing tops that are not colored properly.
Everyone should be wearing construction-grade, steel toe boots with puncture-resistant and slip-resistant soles.
If your team is working on any elevated platforms, structures, or lifts, there should be more fall-arrest systems available than needed, to ensure everyone has access to one. Everyone should have to demonstrate how to properly use a fall arrest system before being allowed to work on a job site.
Use Signs and Cones
Wherever hazards exist, signs and signals need to be used. Signs that explain current hazards should be made available in multiple languages to ensure everyone on the job site knows what’s going on.
Safety cones and caution tape should be used to section off unsafe areas at all times.
Workers on a construction site should be communicating constantly. Even if you are working on one side of a site and a hazard is present on the opposite side, all workers need to know, in case they have to make their way over there at some point.
The easiest way to open the lines of communication is to equip your team with walkie-talkies. These are much more effective than cell phones and will save your team tons of time from having to constantly walk across a site to communicate with someone.
Handle Hazardous Waste Immediately
Hazardous materials are common on construction sites. Should these chemicals spill, they need to be dealt with immediately.
In the event of a chemical spill, untrained individuals should not try to clean up the mess themselves, as doing so can be very dangerous. Instead, bring in a company like HCI Environment chemical spill cleanup to handle this for you and restore safety to a job site.
Maintain Tools and Equipment
Anything used on a regular basis needs to be cleaned, maintained, and kept in safe working order. Otherwise, faulty equipment can lead to increased rates of injury.
Train your team to clean and perform basic maintenance tasks on all tools and equipment used on the job site. There should be daily and weekly routines for keeping gear in working order. This ensures that each day your crew gets started, they are using fresh, safe equipment.
Provide Basic Amenities
Construction crews are going to need lots of drinking water, especially when working outside in warm conditions.
Don’t expect your team to bring enough drinking water to the site. Your team needs to be well hydrated, or their performance and safety standards can suffer. Encourage proper hydration by providing more than enough drinking water on a daily basis.
If working outside, provide your team with shaded canopies to give them a break from the heat of the sun, as well tables to sit down at to take a break. Be sure your team is regularly taking breaks. Otherwise, they risk getting tired on the job, which can lead to poor decision-making.
Safety Starts With Safe Managers
There’s a lot that goes into onsite safety, but it all starts with the managers. If you and your other managers prioritize safety, you will experience fewer injuries than other companies that don’t take safety seriously.
Be intentional with training and equipping your team, to the point of annoyance. Only then will your crew be equipped enough to handle the daily safety challenges onsite.
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