Workers in the construction industry are exposed to many risks on a daily basis due to the heavy use of machinery and equipment. As per a study conducted in the year 2019 by OSHA, out of 5,333 fatalities in the private sector, one in every five was in the construction industry. With such data coming up year after year, it is quite clear that workers are heavily impacted without a concrete EHS strategy in place.
With temporary workers being hired, updating regulatory requirements, strict deadlines, changing weather conditions, varied job sites, and lack of training, maintaining safety and health at worksites is becoming a challenge for EHS leaders too. Despite best efforts, only a few have been able to recognize the root cause and implement effective incident management and action planning. Upon talking to some of the most successful EHS leaders, it can be found out that with dedicated and robust EHS and control management, employees’ life can be valued, safety can be ensured, productivity can be increased and cost-cutting can be done. Almost all of them suggest making the most of technology for doing this.
In the year 2021 which is also the beginning of the post-pandemic world, using advanced technology, clear communication, and regular inspections are just some of the ways that can help your team detect safety issues, take positive actions and maintain safety at the construction site. Let us understand them in detail.
1. Work on strengthening your formal communication chain
Clear communication among all the workers and managers is one of the most important first steps to work towards detecting issues and maintaining safety and health. Besides, it also helps in ensuring productivity and cost-effectiveness at the job site. This communication can be in the form of emails, text, intercoms, phone calls, in-person meetings, and signs and signals depending on the purpose. The point is to get the right information across to the right people at the right time without complicating issues.
It is a good practice to not assume that all the employees have the same comprehension skills. Some may need a different kind of communication from the rest of the team. This can be a challenge considering various work-sites have huge numbers of workers. So, one central point of communication can be through EHS software like Pulse that can make it easier for workers to access the latest updates and be transparent as far as issues and actions are concerned. Pulse also empowers your employees by providing training and giving them access to the checklist library.
One single screen on Pulse allows your team to know about each small incident and assign actions quickly with visual proofs and comments. Using the various other tools on Pulse, the supervisor can send instant updates across all sites regarding updated regulations, safety meetings, and training. This combined with regular verbal and face-to-face communication can be the more important key to safe work culture.
2. Make use of Toolbox talks
Toolbox talks are quick and simple tools to enforce safety. It shows your team that you are willing to have interaction and makes them comfortable enough to open up about project issues they may otherwise feel hard to discuss. Using praise and appreciation where suitable can also help in building trust and team morale. Make sure you let your employees know that you are open to feedback which can lead to out-of-the-box thinking and innovative ideas.
Ensure that you discuss only one safety issue during the toolbox talk and keep it concise. Using EHS software can help you easily access what topics have been covered in the past and who all have attended the meeting which makes it easier to plan further toolbox talks.
3. Evaluate your safety management software and upgrade with changing needs
Having EHS software is not enough. With ever-changing regulations and new technologies coming into the market, it is important to evaluate your present systems and see if they are relevant to all your needs. Ask yourself if your software offers all solutions. Do you still struggle with some safety issues or your organization’s communication needs? Is there the latest technical upgrade that your company can benefit from? If yes, then it is time to upgrade your EHS system.
For instance, the ability for any employee of your organization to flag an issue as soon as they notice it on the ground without waiting for a full inspection is one of the most crucial features. When you use it on Pulse, you realize that you no longer have to wait for inspections to assign corrective measures and that you don’t have to delay the recovery. At your fingertips, you can resolve issues in real-time so that issues don’t become accidents.
4. Use carefully curated compliance checklists
Companies can’t use thousands of papers anymore to manage safety. A more efficient way is to use digital checklists on ESH software. Pulse has a library of thousands of curated checklists. Each checklist can have a different purpose related to safety, health, compliance, control, or visibility. These various induction sheets, safety inspection checklists, signing-in sheets, etc make it easier for information to be accessed, distributed, and recorded. The good thing about these checklists is that they are available on a single screen and upon finishing the inspections, as soon as the inspector submits the report, managers and other stakeholders can check insights and assign actions in real-time without delaying and waiting for papers.
These checklists can revolutionize safety at construction sites if used thoughtfully and managed well by all the members of your team responsibly.
Some of the most common checklists for construction sites are the Compliance checklist, Fall protection checklist, Control of Hazardous Energy, Employee safety checklist, Chemical management checklist, Construction Risk Assessment, Electrical Inspection, and Incident reports. You can access all of these on Pulse.
5. Plan ahead for the future
The key to mitigating risks at a construction site is effective planning. Poor planning before starting the project can lead to high work pressures, unrealistic deadlines, and unforeseen hazards – all leading to avoidable accidents and injuries.
When planning the construction work, it is important to keep safety in mind along with coordination with other trades. This also includes communicating clear job roles to every team member to avoid conflict and set expectations. You can make planning and communication easier through a one-stop mobile application where all members of the company can access relevant information and the tasks assigned to them. With the help of this, a record of errors and actions can also be kept for the future to build new policies within the company related to safety, training, and compliance.
6. Conduct safety meetings
It is beneficial to conduct safety meetings daily or weekly to discuss safety issues and possible solutions. These meetings can highlight past hazards, near-miss incidents, and what actions were taken. This allows your team to have the foresight and prepares them for tackling situations better in the future. Employees on the ground can become your biggest assets if they are trained well, engaged constantly, and given the responsibility to flag issues on time. When employees feel heard, they also tend to participate and perform for the company’s goals.