Construction work is risky and dangerous. It also has one of the highest rates of fatalities in terms of worker deaths (The 2022 FIFA World Cup is to be held in Qatar and workers’ lives there are at risk).
The top priority of each construction company must be worker health and safety as well as ensuring each worker makes it back home safe and sound after the shift ends. This is a golden rule when it comes to construction projects.
Is construction work dangerous?
THere are many reasons why construction work is quite dangerous. Each construction site has its own level of hazards. Hence it presents its own unique challenges too. Unlike in controlled environments (factories, offices), job site conditions in construction change almost daily.
Quantum Analysis experts explain that hazards and safety concerns take place upon progression of construction projects. New crews of subcontractors keep coming when different segments of the project begin and end.
With labor shortages still being felt because of the pandemic, there are larger numbers of inexperienced workers on site, which lack safety training and are not as smart as the veterans.
How to improve jobsite safety in construction?
Providing a safe working environment for the workers does not have to be overly complicated. WIth proper planning and preparation, creating a jobsite safer for everyone is something which can be easily added to the pre construction process. It also can be multiplied on all future projects.
Here are the key steps which can help bolster the company’s safety culture and promote the commitment towards providing a safe jobsite on each project.
Crafting a proper plan
Since each jobsite is different, it is imperative to create a building-site specific safety plan for each project in progress. As employees work through creating their construction schedule, they should also be plotting the safety plan. They should rely on historical data from past projects that are similar to their current projects. This will help them craft a proper plan.
Identification of potential safety hazards and risks in each phase of construction projects is needed. Engineering controls, top-notch training and using personal protective equipment (PPE) is key to help reduce risks and hazards in construction work.
These things change when work progresses. Hence professionals need to be sure they focus on each stage or phase of the project. Individual tasks which workers should complete will be completed on time.
Lets say, during the early stages of a construction project, the safety focus will be on potential hazards during construction work. Among them are equipment rolling over, accidents in trenching, terrain caving in and the like.
As the project goes along, the company may have more workers working at dizzying heights. Hence the focus will move from ground protection to fall protection as well as ladder and scaffolding safety measures.
Those who are general contractors on projects should include their subcontractors in the planning process. They should rely on their expertise for understanding the needed safety concerns prevalent in their work. Protecting workers in the best possible manner is hence a requirement.
Setting the stage for safety
The construction site is already staged for tasks such as delivery of materials and equipment, plus their storage. According to construction claims experts, companies can take a step ahead and stage their jobsite for further safety measures.
Specific areas for specific kinds of work should be designated as per risk factor. Space for storing materials should be different from the tools shed, and first aid rooms should be available too. Moreover, keeping personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed and other supplies should be designated so no worker doesn’t have to take a long trek across the job site to get what they need.
Zones should be set up and access should be limited to hazardous areas. Areas need to be cordoned off and barricades established to remind workers where they should be on the job site and which areas they should avoid.
Once access to certain areas is limited, this can help prevent electrocutions, workers being safe from being hit by things or getting caught in the way, thus reducing traffic in certain areas. It also helps in reducing distractions.
Safety meetings and talks
Before companies allow their workers or subcontractors to enter the job site, they should make sure that they have received comprehensive level safety training and have retained the knowledge to work safely and in a much better manner.
One way to reinforce safety training and ensure workers understand the risks and hazards, this is key to holding safety meetings and talks.
Safety kickoff meetings should be held before each project starts or before each phase begins. Expectations need to be set for what is needed from each worker for safe working practices, proper use PPE, and reporting accidents or working conditions which are adverse and hazardous.
Supervision should be provided
Safety is every employee’s responsibility on the construction site. Yet, someone still needs to be in charge to see everything is being executed properly, work is safely carried out and all hazards are being properly addressed, and taken care of.
Jobsite safety in charge (safety managers, site superintendents, foreman, etc.) should keep an eye on workers the whole day but however, but they cannot do that 24/7. Technological advances, especially drones, jobsite cameras, and wearables are worth helping in monitoring workers and the whole jobsite.
Each worker should be empowered with the power to help stop work if safety violations are happening. The same goes for hazards that are not addressed and fixed. Workers should be encouraged to raise their voices whenever unsafe working conditions are being enforced, and when workers are violating safety practices.
A proactive approach in terms of jobsite safety via early planning and preparation is a must. This will help reduce injuries, accidents, and fatalities at job sites in construction.