September 18, 2012 – Construction is known to be one of the most dangerous occupations. Even with improvements in safety equipment, increased work safety requirements, and improved building technology, there is still a pressing need to not only emphasize safety on construction sites, but to also make safety a top concern during all phases of the building process.
From falls, which weâ€™ve discussed in a previous blog, to electrocution to struck-by incidents, there are many statistics project owners, general contractors, and individual workers can Â use to ensure that their workplace remains a safe, secure working environment.
One of the best ways to improve overall safety is to not just practice it, but make it a part of your work-site culture, too. Â Here are four ways to plan for your own teamâ€™s workplace safety:
1. Preplan for the â€śwhat ifs.â€ť Donâ€™t just manage the likely risks, plan for the unlikely risks to protect not only your workers, but also the public. Just because something meets OSHA safety standards doesnâ€™t mean that itâ€™s as safe as it needs to be. For example, instead of meeting the tie-off requirement, use double lanyards on personal fall arrest systems, especially if it wouldnâ€™t require much additional effort. Experience and instinct cannot be undervalued when creating your culture of safety.
2. Adopt a Zero-Tolerance policy. Safety on your worksite should be non-negotiable. If workers are not practicing safety standards at all times, put a system in place to reprimand workers who arenâ€™t meeting safety requirements, and maybe to reward those who are. Take, again, tie-offs as an example. Even though five feet doesnâ€™t seem very high, itâ€™s considered standard for wearing tie-offs. Should people not feel these tie-offs are necessary, they may not wear them and risk injury. Make sure that safety standards are met at all times, even when they seem overly cautious.
3. See safety as a continuous process. While safety campaigns including â€śwhat ifâ€ť planning, fall prevention, and others can prove successful in the short term, itâ€™s imperative to see safety as something that is both constantly improving and evolving. Rather than simply following and meeting OSHA standards, make sure that you plan strategically and tactically for training, educating, and practicing increased safety standards. Also, donâ€™t be afraid to share you safety success stories. Did one of your workers practice safety and avoid a major hazard? Promote that within your culture, and praise employees who have demonstrated worksite safety
4. Donâ€™t play a blame game. Although every worksite manager aims for zero incidents and lost time, accidents are bound to happen. If there is a compromise to workplace safety, try to get away from finding fault; instead, get to the root cause of the accident, and take that factor away to prevent future accidents. Make mistakes something to learn from rather than something to blame for. In this way, your team can see that itâ€™s not just about the numbers, it really is about keeping them safe.
At the end of the day, safety is something that will keep your site a good place to work. Developing and practicing a culture of safety is one way to ensure that your workers not only do great work, but also are safe while doing it.