When running a construction business, you manage hundreds of people and thousands of tasks, all at once. And most of these tasks are high risk. So in addition, you have to manage the safety of those hundreds of people doing these thousands of dangerous jobs.
Also, there are multiple aspects that you must consider, and the stakes are tremendously high to ensure proper workplace safety. Construction site grievances can range from broken limbs to respiratory diseases, electrocution, and even fatalities.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, workplace accidents and illnesses’ direct and indirect costs equal cancer at $170 billion per year.
Therefore, it is essential to have a plan in place to tackle workplace safety. Yes, OSHA legislation sets standards, regulates and educates regarding workplace safety, but ultimately, it boils down to implementation.
And this is where our workplace safety tips and checklists for construction business owners will come in handy!
Two Types of Risks Associated with the Construction Industry
1. Safety Risks a.k.a. ‘‘The Fatal Four’’
As coined by OSHA, the ‘Fatal Four’ are:
- Getting struck by an object
- Caught-in or caught-between
2. Health Risks
- Contact with hazardous materials and chemicals
- Exposure to airborne pollutants and harmful gases and fumes
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome
Both these categories of risks can have huge repercussions. Some, such as scratches or minor injuries, are short-term in nature; however, many can have a lasting impact, e.g., permanent loss of hearing or vision, spine injuries, etc.
The risk of loss of life ups the ante regarding workplace safety norms in the construction industry. This is why we cannot stress enough the criticality of having a meticulous workplace safety routine at every construction site and a series of properly designed checklists to help implement them.
Unfortunately, most of these health and safety risks are inherent to the construction industry – occupational hazards, as they say. But many risks result from mismanagement, lack of proper education, human errors, and simple oversight.
So here is the list of workplace safety tips that will help make your construction site a safe place to work for you and your workers. And of course, with our checklists, you can make it better and safer!
5 Effective Workplace Safety Tips for Construction Business Owners
Among the many safety tips for the construction sites, these five are the principal.
1. Pre-Construction Safety Drill
Even before the first piece of earth has been dug or the first worker has entered the construction site, specific steps can be taken as preventive measures to improve workplace safety.
- List down processes to be performed and conduct a risk assessment of each.
- Evaluate if any strategy needs to be amended or eliminated on account of the associated risk.
- Identify appropriately trained workers and check their work permits and certifications.
- Ensure that the OSHA health cards are up-to-date
- Collect emergency numbers and other documentation of workers involved
- Assign supervisors or team leads responsible for workplace safety throughout the tenure of the construction.
- Defining emergency protocols
This simple yet comprehensive checklist customized to your business needs will cover all the necessary pre-checks for you and ensure that you make a safe start.
2. Tackling Worksite hazards
As mentioned before, most workplace safety risks associated with the construction industry are about work location. The project may involve people working at dangerous heights or below ground level.
According to HSE statistics, for instance, slips and trips accounted for 30% of defined and significant injuries on construction sites between 2016/17 and 2018/19.
Besides the height, a few aspects need to be tackled to ensure the worksite is safe and conducive to workers. A site inspection should be conducted to ensure:
- Adequate fall protection precautions such as nets, mesh, etc., have been installed
- Properly installed scaffolding safety equipment
- All-electric points are in good working condition
- A fire safety audit is conducted
- Proper signage and safety posters have been displayed at prominent and relevant places
- A fully stocked first-aid kit is available at the site
- All work areas have appropriate and adequate lighting
- Clear marking of safety exits and refuge areas
Considering the magnitude of construction projects, this list can be pretty overwhelming and exhaustive. However, Pulse can help you with well-designed workplace safety checklists and can make this process easier.
3. Worker Safety
Although big digitization and automation have been in the construction sector, it is still entirely dependent on manual intervention. Hence, some form of involvement in risky processes is inevitable. However, by adhering to these workplace safety tips, you can significantly reduce the associated hazards.
- Ensure quality PPE kits to all workers at the construction site
- Conduct regular inspection of PPE kits
- Provide specific task-based gear such as harnesses, hearing protection, face shields, etc.
- Educate workers through seminars, meetings, OSHA training, etc., to help understand the risks involved and the protective measures to be taken.
When it comes to ensuring worker safety, no effort should be spared. This is why at Pulse we have designed scrupulous worker safety PPE Checklists to protect the wellbeing of your workers.
4. Workplace Equipment
Construction sites are a playground of huge machinery, equipment, and vehicles. A lot of damage can be caused by inadequate quality machinery or even poorly maintained equipment. But with these workplace safety tips you can achieve smoother functioning and reduced risk:
- Conduct regular inspections and quality control checks
- Ensure timely maintenance and servicing
- Check all electrical fittings associated with the machinery
- Review crane movements for overhead hazards
- Ensure appropriate labeling on the machinery to ease usage
- Dangerous machinery should be restricted via posters and signs.
5. Material Handling
Construction work involves dealing with or coming in contact with different raw materials and chemicals, such as asbestos, cement, lead, mercury, chemicals, etc.
Wherever possible, you must replace harmful materials with those posing lesser risk. However, in some cases, it is inevitable. Using the below tips can help manage this risk better.
- Ensure proper and safe storage of these materials
- Provide stringent training to workers using them
- Provide additional PPE in addition to the essential required gear
- Keep a responsive emergency plan ready
Now that you’ve skimmed through the essential workplace safety checklists, here’s a quick glimpse into why checklists can be a savior:
- It gives a sense of security: with checklists, your workers can rest assured knowing they’re in the safe hands
- Checklists mean accountability: personnel will feel more accountable than if there was no way to verify sloppy audits.
- Checklists help organize: checklists for safety audits that are well-designed contain precise rules that must be followed. This structure assists staff in remaining organized as they do the audit and arrange their time.
- Less chance of skipping the crucial: repetitive tasks may lead workers to skip or omit one. Checklists will ensure it does not happen.
- Better audits: safety-audit checklists enable you to undertake a much more thorough review of all potential workplace dangers.
The more complicated the task at hand, the more valuable our checklists will be to you, we believe. And few sectors have processes and functions as treacherous and risky as that of the construction sector.
Merely following generic workplace safety guidelines is not enough. They need to be well thought out to suit your type of construction activity, religiously implemented, and diligently reviewed at regular intervals.
With our intelligent, customized checklists, timely inspections, and detailed reports, we make workplace safety one more minor pain point for you. As a start, we recommend you sign up for our 30-day free trial to try the benefits that Pulse has to offer.