When you visit a construction site, you will be surprised to see how busy it is. You’ll find workers moving from one place to another carrying building materials; excavators digging and levelling the ground and cranes lifting heavy objects.
Construction sites involve many physical activities that may potentially harm workers, necessitating the need for adequate safety tips. For that reason, OSHA has established safety precautions to help reduce on-site accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
But what does OSHA stand for? OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is responsible for formulating and enforcing safety and health standards in workplaces like construction sites.
In this article, we explore ten safety precautions that OSHA recommends to both construction managers and contractors. Sit tight to learn how you can protect your workers from getting injured during construction.
OSHA-Mandated Safety Guidelines For Construction Sites
Now, let us look at some of the precautionary steps you should implement to create a safe working environment.
1. Management Support And Commitment
Management plays a significant role in ensuring that safety protocols are operational during construction. When it comes to safety issues, construction managers should be on the lead. They should follow the safety rules to set an excellent example for workers.
As a contractor, the management can entrust you with developing a safety program for a construction project. In such a case, you need to gauge the level of support you can get from the management. With enough support, it is easier to set and implement safety standards.
2. Employee Involvement
Worker participation is essential, right from pre-construction to project closeout. As a project owner, you ought to involve all workers in safety decision making. It will encourage employees to report potential dangers in construction sites.
Employee involvement is a powerful strategy for getting safety ideas from workers. As a project manager, you might not understand the potential risks facing your workers. When you engage them, they can contribute relevant concepts that can help in improving safety.
3. Employee Training And Education
Training employees to identify and control safety risks is vital, primarily when recruiting new workers. You should review and discuss safety policies with new recruits before starting construction. As the person in charge of safety, you need to identify specific areas that require workers to be trained. Training should not only involve sheets of papers with rules and guidelines but also how to safely operate construction equipment. In other words, it should be more practical.
4. Safety Inspection
Continuous inspection of a construction site can help you identify potential risks and avert them in time. You can also delegate such tasks to supervisors of different workstations. Handling risks at a particular department’s level is easier and more reliable.
Another way to achieve this safety practice is to inspect the construction site with your workers. It gives them the confidence to raise safety concerns. During the inspection, you should use OSHA’s checklist for construction to help you identify potential risks.
5. Risk Prevention And Control
Once you have identified the potentially hazardous areas in a construction area, you need to establish effective risk prevention measures. The options should aim at protecting your workers from on-site accidents that might result in casualties.
As mentioned earlier, worker participation is an effective way of controlling hazards on construction sites. That is because employees have a better understanding of the working environment. They can quickly identify conditions that can cause hazards.
6. Development Of Safety Plans
Preventing and controlling on-site hazards can be very difficult without a solid construction safety plan. According to OSHA, it is the employer’s responsibility to establish a safety management plan for a construction project in writing.
A safety plan template acts as a checklist that can help you identify potential hazards. It ensures that the safety protocol is operational during the entire project. And lastly, it clearly defines the safety responsibilities of all stakeholders in a construction project.
7. Effective Communication
You might be having a good safety plan, but without a well-established communication system, implementing it can be a challenge. As a general contractor, you should let your employees know their roles in safety management via real-time communication.
If you understand the hazards present at a construction site or those that might arise later, you should let your workers prepare in advance. With established communication procedures, subcontractors and staffing agencies can report cases of injuries to the general contractor.
8. Equipment And Material Inspection
Evaluating equipment performance in construction sites is a vital step to promote safety. During safety inspections, you should test all equipment and hire someone to repair the defective ones. Also, provide detailed guidelines on how employees should handle each construction equipment.
The quality of building materials also matters a lot because it influences the success of the construction project. Contractors should use safer construction materials to reduce cases of collapsed buildings, cracked walls, and caved roofs.
9. Program Review And Improvement
After establishing a safety management plan for a construction project, contractors should evaluate its soundness. That will help them determine if the safety goals are achieved. Contractors need to assess the performance of the program periodically. If the construction program shows some signs of incompetence, contractors, supervisors, and managers should make necessary adjustments.
10. Safety Stand-Down
A safety stand-down refers to a voluntary exercise where construction employers take the time to talk directly with their employees about safety. This OSHA-mandated practice has reduced the number of on-site injuries and fatalities by a significant amount.
This practice is, however, not limited to the construction industry. Any other organization that wishes to prevent hazards in their workplace can also participate. These safety stand down ideas by Procore will help you improve your employees’ safety on job sites.
Promoting a safe working environment is one way of motivating your workers to perform better. Besides improving the productivity of your company, construction safety plans can also build your company’s goodwill and reputation significantly. The ten practices mentioned above will help you achieve your safety goals.
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