OK, now that I have your attention, let’s get down to the reality of safety in today’s construction – safety is WORK. And that doesn’t even include keeping up to date on ever-changing OSHA regulations. Everyone can agree that encouraging good safety practices is not only smart for business, but it’s the right thing to do. Just as obvious is that doing safety right takes effort.
On-the-job injuries have always been a concern. Companies have a vital interest in keeping their teams safe and ensuring that their work is completed using the highest of standards. And this has never been more difficult than it is now, as we recover from the Great Recession. We’re entering into a time with a lack of skilled workers, which can contribute to a higher injury rate.
Doug Cauti, senior vice president and chief underwriting officer of Liberty Mutual’s construction practice, cautions, “The increase in injuries stems from mistakes such as falls from heights due to forgetting to tie off and tripping over items that could have been easily moved–things that experienced workers tend to avoid.”
So what do you need to do?
With increasing OSHA supervision and the ability to secure skilled workers more difficult than ever, the focus must shift to tightening your own safety practices.
Here are four things you can do to make sure you stay on top of safety:
- Pay special attention to your newly hired workers, especially during their first several months when their learning curve will be especially steep. Do not assume they know the best or safest way to do something. Ignorance is easily cured with the proper training.
- Focusing on new workers is important, but don’t forget to conduct regular safety meetings with all of your employees and keep everyone engaged. Use the knowledge of the experienced workers you do have to your advantage. By working together, everyone on the project will be aware and fully informed.
- Proactively take control of safety. With comprehensive training and continual focus, safety will always be everyone’s concern. When safety becomes habit the focus can be on completing a high-quality project instead of guarding against an accident.
- Get involved in local worker training programs and co-ops. The more skilled workers we develop for the future, the better. You’re training the next generation of construction professionals. We’re here because we love this industry, so share your passion!
These tips may seem simple and obvious, but doing it will take work. Fortunately the payoff of ensuring that your workers go home safely today, and every day is well worth the effort.
Regulations are changing in January
Currently injuries only need to be reported if they result in three or more hospitalizations – the big ones. Of course, deaths always need to be reported within eight hours.
In January, all companies will need to notify OSHA within 24 hours if any of the following things occur: an employee loses an eye, suffers an amputation, or is admitted to the hospital because of an injury at work.