Construction safety has to improve. Fast. There has been an increase in accidents and deaths globally on construction sites with about 1,200 people dying each year in the United States; an average of 4 deaths each workday. Unfortunately, in today’s economic climate many construction companies face diminishing revenues and uncertain future. As a result, budgets tighten and initiatives, including those for improving construction safety and health, are put on hold or cut. However it is important to realize that significant safety improvement does not require substantial investment.
To be effective construction safety needs to be managed just like any other company function, regardless of the economic condition. Adopt one single rule: Only do work that is in the condition to be started and completed without interruption. Following that rule will reduce exposure to hazards.
- Ready work means just one round trip on a ladder to perform a task.
- Ready work means trenches that are opened just long enough to perform a task.
- Ready work eliminates making do — using the wrong tool, wrong method, wrong person — resulting in safer work conditions.
More attention should be given to education and employee involvement. Many construction personnel, management and crafts-level employees are paid based on performance, and when employees have to choose between productivity and safety, construction safety loses. Create a safety steering committee made up of respected hourly employees. This is one of the easiest and overlooked ways to encourage employee involvement in construction safety procedures.
Basic safety measures should not be neglected. Training and hi vis workwear should still be incorporated with the above mentioned. Thorough knowledge, involvement and procedures will ensure construction safety is kept at a maximum. When safety becomes second nature, productivity won’t be affected by construction safety regulations and policies.