So far, we haven’t yet mentioned the most important element of construction site safety—an element that can and will make the difference between safety success and safety failure. That element, in short, is common sense.
Common sense: most important element
The number one cause of accidents on any work site—let alone those involving working at heights, is carelessness. Cutting corners, skipping steps, half-hearted inspections—all of these lead to increased risk of accident, injury and even death. Therefore, the number one solution to increase safety is to use simple, down to earth common sense. By following some very basic tips you can help to ensure that your workers are protected and that every site you work on is safer all round.
Enroll workers for safety and technical training
The first tip is to increase training. If your workers are better informed on the dangers inherent in the job, then they will be more capable of spotting those dangers in the first place. Better training will result in better habits, which in turn will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and create a healthier, safer work environment. In addition to training workers on the dangers themselves, it is critical to train them on the procedures and practices that help to address those dangers. Again, the better trained your workers are on safety standards like SWP or PPE, the better prepared they will be when confronted with the hazards of working on heights. Regular refresher courses on safety will help all workers to stay fresh and up to date on the issues that can help keep them safe and healthy while on the work site.
Get multiple workers to do the safety inspection
Another recommendation is to get multiple workers involved in the safety inspections. While it is only required that supervisors conduct safety inspections, including other workers, will help to improve the chances of spotting any issues. This regular involvement in safety inspections will also serve as an ongoing training tool that will help improve the awareness of dangers on the work site. In addition to simply conducting the inspection, a supervisor can actually quiz the workers on important safety topics, specifically those related to any issues that appear during the inspection. This will significantly increase the ability of all workers to detect hazards and potentially spot problems before they occur. The more involved every worker is in making the work environment safe, the safer everyone's job will be.
Provide the best safety equipment
It should go without saying that every construction site should have the best safety equipment available. While using old and worn ladders, scaffolds and the like may seem like a great way to save money, it is, in fact, a great way to put lives at risk. All equipment should be replaced at any sign of wear or damage. No amount of instruction or inspections will be of any value if the equipment you are using proves dangerous itself. Only when you have safe, reliable equipment can you be assured that your workers will be safe while using that equipment. Therefore, inspections of all equipment, especially PPE and roof access equipment, should be performed on a regular basis. This is especially true whenever equipment is subjected to extreme weather conditions or other such situations that may increase the strain and stress that the equipment is put under. Charging a particular person with this task is an easy way of ensuring that the equipment is kept at peak performance levels at all times. However, every worker should be familiar with and keenly interested in the condition of any and all equipment they use at any given time.
Implementing open door policy
Finally, the best tip that can be given to increase the safety of your workers is to establish an open door policy with regard to any concerns over safety or other related issues. If a worker has concerns over certain policies or practices they should be able to raise those concerns with the highest levels of management without fear of any negative repercussions. All too often workers will keep their opinions to themselves because they don’t want to rock the boat. How many accidents could be prevented, and lives potentially saved, if this were not the case? The better the lines of communication between management and workers, the better the conditions on the site overall. Therefore, it’s not just a matter of you talking to your crew, it’s also a matter of encouraging your crew to talk to you.
No effort is too great if even one accident can be prevented. That is especially true if it means a life could be saved. Hopefully, this post has provided you with both the ideas and the inspiration to start improving the safety and security of your work sites immediately. You may also be interested in best practices and safety procedures to follow for a safer work environment.