In 2018, one in five worker deaths happened in the construction industry, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The unfortunate reality is that construction sites can be a dangerous place to work if proper safety precautions are not followed.
So, how can you improve construction site safety to keep your employees out of harm’s way?
Good news: This guide is here to help. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important construction site safety tips to implement on your next job site.
Communication Is Key
Just as in any productive work environment, communication on a construction site is critical. If your employees aren’t sure what to expect while working on a site, it’s more likely that an accident will occur.
Make sure you communicate with workers about the following:
- The job site
- The equipment being used
- The expectations for the project
Additionally, you’ll want to make it easier for employees to communicate with each other and their supervisors while working. Using communication devices like walkie-talkies can help ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Provide the Proper Tools and Equipment
Accidents are more likely to happen if your workers don’t have the right tools for the job. Instead of relying on tools to meet a variety of purposes, make sure you have everything you need to do the specific job at hand.
However, keep in mind that having the right equipment is only the first step. Once you have the right tools for the job, you must make sure that workers are properly trained on how to use them.
Go through the proper training procedures anytime you have new equipment or new employees on a job site.
A little training can go a long way in keeping everyone safe.
Rely on Documentation
Teaching employees about the necessary safety precautions is important, but it’s often not enough. You should also make sure to document as much as you can, including:
- Safety procedures
- Operation procedures for specific equipment
- Protocol if an accident occurs
- Supervisor contact information
For your own protection, you’ll also want to keep a record of any pertinent certifications, licenses, and registrations for a particular job.
It’s always better to have more documentation than to have less than what you need.
Implement a Zero-Tolerance Drug and Alcohol Policy
It should go without saying, but employees working on a job site should never be working under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Otherwise, they’re putting their safety and the safety of others at serious risk.
However, even if you have an official drug and alcohol policy in place, if you never enforce it, employees might start to take advantage of it.
Consider administering a 7 panel drug test to employees randomly, to help make sure no one is ever working under the influence. And, if you find out that a worker isn’t sober, treat it seriously.
This will help set the tone that you won’t accept any use of drugs or alcohol while on a job site.
Talk About and Teach the Importance of Safety
As humans, the more we hear about something, the more we are apt to remember it. That’s why in school, our teachers would repeat the most important things we needed to learn over and over again.
You should take the same approach when it comes to job site safety. By making the topic of safety part of your daily conversations, it’s more likely it will remain at the top of your employee’s minds while they work.
Repeat the most important things your employees should know, like what to do in the case of an accident, and how to prevent accidents from happening.
And, implement regular safety training sessions, that continue to reiterate why safety is important and best practices to follow at all times.
Rely on Supervisors
In any industry, employees are more likely to follow workplace protocols if someone else is watching.
Construction workers are no different. If you rely on supervisors on the job site, it’s more likely that employees will follow best practices when it comes to safety and use equipment in the proper ways.
Of course, you don’t want to make them feel micromanaged, so don’t have supervisors breathing down their necks.
Just make sure they know they can come to their supervisor if there’s an issue and that there’s someone on the job site who will always make sure to put safety first.
Put Up Safety Reminders
Many people are visual learners. This means that they could hear the same message 15 times, but it won’t stick with them as much as seeing something twice might.
Cater to employees that are visual learners by putting up safety reminders around the job site. You might put up OSHA posters or other workplace safety guides in common areas like break rooms to help enforce the rules.
Even subconsciously, this can help workers to remember how to stay safe.
Enforce the Rules
You can have the most comprehensive safety policies in place, but it won’t do any good if you don’t enforce the rules.
Make sure your workers know that you take safety seriously, and the rules are there to be followed. And, if the rules are broken, you should clearly outline the consequences.
If employees can see that you mean business when it comes to safety, they’ll be more likely to follow the rules at all times.
Evolve Your Safety Guidelines
As new technology and equipment become available, your safety guidelines will likely need to change accordingly.
Instead of thinking of your safety rules as set in stone, revisit them every so often to see if they need to be updated.
And, if an unfortunate workplace accident does happen, use it as an opportunity to see if a different rule could have prevented it. If the answer is yes, update the rules and make sure to communicate the changes with your employees.
Make Construction Site Safety a Priority
Now that you know more about the ways to improve construction site safety, take a look at your operations to see what needs to change.
By following the tips outlined above, you can help prevent accidents and keep your employees safe.
For other helpful tips like this, be sure to check out our other articles before you go.