Workplace injuries and accidents are related to almost every type of job site. However, construction workers encounter safety hazards more frequently than any other workplace. Most of the constructions have risks related to machinery, chemicals, and building processes that can cause lethal injuries in the absence of construction safety mechanisms.
Given below are some of the statistics that urges businesses to focus more on construction site safety:
- One out of five deaths among U.S. workers in the year 2019 is in the construction industry (Source).
- The number of fatal work injuries per 1,00,000 full-time workers was 1,008 in the construction industry (2020) – the highest amongst all industry sectors (Source).
- Falls at the sites account for 34% of all deaths in the construction industry (Source).
- Other than the fatalities, the non-fatal injury and illness rate was 24% higher in the construction industry than in other industries. (Source)
All these numbers symbolize the urgent need to incorporate construction safety topics and discussions at the workplace. Although building 100% safe construction sites is not easy, you can make the right moves with proper planning and execution of construction safety tips. Before we discuss them, let’s cover what’s happening in the present to improve construction safety.
Current State of Safety Measures at Construction Sites
With the alarming rate of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, it is important for businesses to prioritize construction site safety and minimize related risks. In general, most companies related to this field follow Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)’s guidelines as per the evolving risk levels. These include:
- Defining construction work tasks as per occupational exposure risk pyramid
- Conducting job hazard analysis
- Setting up engineering controls for indoor construction environment
- Using administrative controls to reflect standard operating procedures following CDC guidelines
Since construction businesses are frequently inspected by OSHA, failing to follow safety management programs in compliance with OSHA standards can lead to significant penalties (a fine of $14,502 per violation and $14,5027 for willful and repeated violation).
Safety Techniques: Construction Leadership Options
The proper management of occupational risks also depends on the way leadership is executed. Construction site managers who hold important roles in this industry need to implement leadership at strategic and operational levels. Their transformational leadership practices hold significant importance to define site safety and work behavior. It also calls for the correction of unsafe working conditions to maintain construction safety.
Transformational leadership in the construction sector also accounts for:
- Safety training of the workforce
- Risk management
- Deployment of worksite safety mechanisms
- First aid provision for every worker
What’s important next is to follow the construction site safety checklist to ensure a safe working environment.
Checklist to Improve Construction Site Safety
1. Build a Safety Culture
Creating a proactive safety culture within your organization can reduce the rate of injuries and accidents dramatically. It is more about looking beyond workplace accident prevention and examining the way people work to capture their mindsets towards safety.
A positive, well-accepted construction safety culture is critical to the success of any employee safety program. Since ensuring workers’ safety is a top priority for all construction companies, it is crucial to get your employee’s buy-in to your safety culture. It can start with defining responsibilities to oversee safety mechanisms, following a common vision, or building a system of open communication (Monthly safety talks, new and improved safety initiatives, etc.).
2. Create Site-Specific Safety Plans
Every construction project comes with its set of unique challenges, thereby requiring construction planning and scheduling to incorporate construction safety tips. A crucial part of the planning process for each distinct project is to develop a site-specific safety plan. This should be based on overall site inspection to identify the hazards to plan out safety measures to mitigate those hazards.
For further clarification, the construction plan can be divided into different phases and individual tasks involved. This will help in writing out specific safety measures required to keep the workers safe. Once the plan is made, it should be shared with everyone, including site supervisors, contractors, sub-contractors, and helpers.
3. Train Individuals with Onsite Safety Orientation
A construction business having efficient safety training in place can improve the productivity and morale of your workforce. What’s more important to be kept in mind is that safety training should not be provided with a one-and-done approach. With new people joining the team including workers and contractors, there should be an ongoing training program that helps ingrain the safety culture into the minds of all stakeholders.
You can also conduct regular safety orientations for all employees to review their expectations and changing safety requirements. Besides this, the training module should also cover first-aid plans and evacuation procedures.
4. Conduct Regular Safety Meetings
To emphasize more on the importance of construction safety, it is important to include it in everyday discussions. You can start with the daily catchup meetings while reviewing the work to be done. Consider the hazards involved and safety controls in place.
Make sure you discuss and review the recent accidents or misses that have occurred. Highlight any instances which happened because of workers not following safety protocol and the resultant.
5. Evaluate Equipment and Tools to Check if They are Safe to Use
Construction tools and equipment undergo wear and tear with regular use. To maintain the construction site’s safety, they should be inspected and replaced to ensure all safety controls are implemented carefully. For example, ladders and scaffolding need to be inspected to confirm that they are safe to use. Similarly, the worksite should be cleaned in terms of non-usable tools or discarded materials to avoid trips and falls.
At large, equipment inspection can also be included as a part of the construction safety plan.
6. Use a Construction Management Software to Manage Construction Activities
With the availability of construction management software, it becomes easier to manage activities related to different projects. For example, you can equip field crews to use the project management features of the software to stay on track with schedules, daily reporting, and safety checklists. Similarly, other stakeholders can benefit from features related to progressive billing, construction planning, and scheduling, task tracking, to name a few.
Can Technology Help Reduce Safety Risks at Construction Sites?
The advancements in construction-related technology encompass various facets of this industry, including construction safety. The right technology can help you:
- Digitalise safety processes
- Streamline on-site training practices
- Keep workers safe with timely equipment inspection
- Monitor project progress in line with the adopted safety plan
How Can CEM Business Solutions Help?
CEM Business Solutions, a certified Microsoft Dynamic 365 partner has successfully implemented custom digital solutions for the construction industry covering end-to-end processes used in EPC vertical. Some of the solutions provided by CEMBS are
- Automation of On-site & Off-site Processes
- HR & Payroll Software
- Daily Log & Attendance software
- Construction Management Software ERP
Wish to grow your construction business with new-age technology – Talk to CEM Business Solutions