Safety should be one of the top priorities of any construction company. Construction sites have the potential to be life threatening when safety is not a priority. Therefore, construction industry leaders must strive to safeguard their employees for both ethical and economic reasons. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly six million people work at approximately two hundred thousand construction sites daily. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average.
When employees are not provided with proper safety equipment, are being rushed to meet a demanding schedule and lack proper training, the job site becomes unsafe. Furthermore, if inspections are not being documented, violations are occurring, and safety analyses are not being conducted routinely, the job site is a hazard to all employees. One way to help prevent this issue is to communicate with employees or managers.
“One very important safety recommendation I can make is to communicate with the workers,” says Scott Oliver, Corporate Safety Manager with D.E. Harvey Builders. “Communication is very effective and changes behavior. It is important to dedicate time to discuss projects with workers. We need to ask open-ended questions to ensure the workers fully understand how to safely perform a job task, and take the time to encourage them to stop working if the jobsite is unsafe. Better communication with the workers on personal responsibility is imperative in order to hold people accountable for their actions.”
According to OSHA, about 2.3 million construction workers work on scaffolds. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent an estimated 4,500 injuries and fifty fatalities each year. Approximately 100 employees are fatally injured and approximately 95,000 employees are injured each year while operating powered industrial trucks. It is essential that workers review the Job Safety Analysis thoroughly in order to work safely, and are coached one-on-one on the importance of personal protection and safety standards.
Keeping employees safe is the most important job responsibility a manager can have. When it comes to job site safety, it is imperative to follow OSHA requirements for a complete safety program. The key to effective job site safety is teamwork and communication, and should be treated as a high priority. If all else fails, ask, “How would we do this job tomorrow if someone was injured doing the job today?”
“Last year, we challenged the safety committee to get more involved with communication. Coupled with accountability for safety, we need to validate that everyone is doing their part to be involved,” says Oliver. “How are we communicating? Is it face-to-face, or behind the screen? It is important to communicate in-person so jobsite workers can fully understand the site and safety concerns.”
“Another common challenge I have seen is a lack of training and resources,” says HazTek Safety Professional Jesse Taborsky. “Training is critical to ensure that proper planning will be conducted for any project task that employees may come across. Planning helps reinforce that all necessary equipment is accessible before a task begins and the crew understands what’s necessary to conduct safe work. Construction companies need to work together to make sure their employees are safe, because, at the end of the day, we all want our workers to be able to return home to their families.”
Scott Oliver also recommends to take some pictures of your job site and enter them into the inspection database. “Document your projects and the safety methods you follow. Discuss your safety procedures with your managers, and work out issues to get on the right track. Safety should be your number one concern, so follow the necessary communication methods needed to ensure your workers are safe on the jobsite.”
To stay informed about safety procedures and ways to stay safe while on the jobsite, visit OSHA.gov. To learn more about ABC Greater Houston and our safety programs, visit www.abchouston.org.
For more information about HazTek Safety Management, visit www.haztekinc.com.
Visit www.harveybuilders.com for more information about D.E. Harvey Builders.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA. Web. https://www.osha.gov/doc/index.html. 2018.