In 2018, there were nearly 7 million people employed in construction and construction-related fields. With this vast amount of craft professionals working to build America, the most important thing the industry can do is ensure their safety.
There is a misconception that construction is an unfit, unsafe industry for workers. However, safety is a top priority for companies and employees and there are numerous safety protocols and procedures set in place.
Keeping safety at the forefront, here are five construction safety tips to follow to help keep craft professionals in the construction industry safe each day.
1. Identify potential hazards
Safety incidents and accidents in the construction industry can be prevented. Proper planning, staging and critical thinking can help craft professionals create a safer work environment and minimize dangers in the field.
To identify potential risks, Nova Group introduced the RED Book, a miniature job hazard analysis. Cole Davis, Nova Group, said, “the employees check the boxes of what they are going to be exposed to that day, such as trench cave-ins, hazardous materials or different key hazards, as well as what controls are in place to help minimize their exposure.” Short for recognize, eliminate and discuss, this book promotes good safety practices for craft professionals in construction.
When employees think about their daily tasks or projects prior to the start of the day, they can identify hazards before an issue occurs, reducing risk of injury or illness in the workplace.
2. Don’t ignore essential safety equipment
Wearing the proper safety gear when working in the construction industry may seem like a given, however it is important to reiterate how effective personal protective equipment, PPE, can be. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), craft professionals can use or wear PPE to minimize dangers in the workplace.
For added benefit, make sure the right equipment is being worn for the right job, which means consider investing in craft-specific PPE, such as specialty gloves for concrete work or welding. OSHA breaks PPE into five different categories, as a collection protecting against flying debris, lifting heavy equipment, falling objects or any other hazards that may be present in the field.
From safety goggles to hard hats, hand protection and more, PPE protects craft professionals and fosters a safe working environment.
3. Trust safety managers
Safety is not just an individual effort; it requires a team and, in many cases, safety managers. With any project, there can be numerous craft professionals on the job and these professionals solely focus on safety for the entire site.
Safety managers oversee safety fundamentals – from training staff, to implementing steps to prevent accidents and inspecting daily safety procedures. With a strong passion for protecting others, these craft professionals are equipped to identify hazards and stay up to date on both existing and new regulations.
Embracing the role of the safety manager, in addition to personal measures that minimize risks will ensure that all employees are informed, prepared and most importantly safe when working.
4. Continue safety training
Proper safety training for craft professionals is crucial – especially if there are health or safety risks in the work environment. However, to keep teams refreshed, ongoing training should be conducted for both new and current employees.
For new hires, it can be hard to truly measure the level of safety training they might have received from an apprenticeship, education program or previous employer. Therefore, it is never a bad idea to review proper safety procedures, ensuring any craft professional, novice or experienced, can operate equipment safely and are following safe practices each day.
Continued safety training can include monthly lunch and learn programs, attending safety excellence certification courses or holding targeted safety training sessions. Creating an environment that regularly strengthens these skills will get workers to embrace an effective safety culture.
5. Utilize mobile technology
According to Pew Research Center, nearly 96% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind and 81% include smartphones. With a majority able to access information at the palm of their hand, mobile technology is allowing communication to happen at a faster speed and with more detail.
Encouraging the use of camera and video tools, employees can share workplace hazards, alert safety departments and be involved in actively mitigating job site hazards. Even utilizing the basic text/call functions, the construction industry can communicate with each other quickly and efficiently.
From sending daily safety reminders to specialized apps or keeping digital copies of safety procedures and regulations on hand, mobile technology can help foster a safer environment by sharing insight in real-time.