Construction work can be dangerous. This profession operates around numerous safety hazards that can deliver life-threatening issues when the correct procedures are followed.
Every job site should have a set of best practices to follow to promote worker safety. Here are some ideas to consider if you're looking to establish or enhance these at your site.
Best Safety Practices for Construction Sites to Follow
The best safety practices for construction sites always start with appropriate training. All construction workers and site visitors should be aware of the potential hazards they'll face when working or spending time in a specific environment.
Employees should receive hands-on and written training options that include specific instructions for any construction safety product they must use while completing their duties.
Once appropriate internal training is available, these additional practices can help people work safely.
1. Always Wear Personal Protective Equipment
PPE requirements should apply to all visitors and workers at a job site. This equipment reduces individual exposure to various hazards to prevent injuries.
Some common options include construction safety glasses, work gloves, safety helmets, hard hats, gloves, steel-toed boots, and earplugs.
Construction sites might require workers to wear high-visibility suits or vests, especially when operations are completed at night.
Falls are a leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. In addition to PPE, workers should learn how to operate machinery, including belt feeders, ladders, and elevators. Even if it feels redundant, the goal is to ensure everyone works the same way while implementing the best practices for each asset.
2. Deliver Clear Instructions
Contractor or site induction should be available at each job site in the construction industry. This resource ensures new workers are familiar with operations and expectations.
Some employers use toolbox talks to relay health and safety instructions to the crew. These briefings should occur before the shift begins or at a designated time throughout the day to ensure awareness and compliance.
3. Make Cleanliness a Priority
Most safety risks are appropriately managed by keeping the job site clean and organized. Take the time to remove debris and dust from the working environment. If possible, assign these duties to a safety officer that can stay focused on identifying and eliminating hazards that could harm others.
Loose nails, stagnant water, and trip hazards are significant problems in the construction industry. When these issues are removed, many slips and exposures are prevented.
4. Think About Tool Storage
No tools should be left lying around a construction site. All lights and equipment should be unplugged and stored appropriately if they're not being used. This safety step prevents the company's assets from becoming damaged or causing injury.
When tools get stored in appropriate places, workplace efficiency improves. Workers aren't forced to hunt for the equipment they need to get their work finished.
5. Create an Emergency Plan
An emergency response plan at a job site tells employees and visitors what to do if unexpected events occur. This document can refer to the construction safety supplies that might be needed, where to go if the area becomes unsafe, and contact numbers for the local authorities.
Additional information to consider providing on an emergency response plan includes how to handle hazardous material spills, what to do during a fire, and where to go to receive treatment.
6. Perform Pre-Checks
Your tools and equipment should be checked 100% of the time to see if they're free of defects or damage. Although this effort feels repetitive, it can stop an accident from occurring when problems are found during an inspection.
Construction sites can be dirty and dusty places. When this material gets into your equipment, it can cause premature wear and tear, leading to malfunctions and damage. With proactive cleaning and inspection, you're saving money and protecting people.
7. Implement Safeguards
Construction safety equipment should include several engineering controls at job sites. It helps to have fences and barriers that isolate workers and visitors from potentially hazardous areas, such as places with chemicals, toxic fumes, or high-voltage electricity.
Flooring safeguards are another safety practice to implement. Cover cords and trip hazards with site-friendly materials that create a more even walking surface.
When combined with construction work gloves, boots, and helmets, it's much easier to get through the day safely.
8. Conduct Inspections
It helps to inspect each job site with your workers. Ask them to identify any equipment, material, or activity that they think is concerning. Several resources are available to help you determine real vs. perceived problems, such as the Construction Industry Digest from OSHA.
While conducting these inspections, you can speak with employees about safety improvements they'd like to see throughout the site. It's a good time to assign people to choose, evaluate, and implement appropriate safety solutions.
When people are empowered to make decisions about their working environment, they're more likely to look for and implement positive changes.
9. Implement a Reporting System
It helps to develop and implement simple procedures for employees to report incidents, illnesses, and injuries. You want to know about close calls and near misses whenever safety and health concerns are at a site. There should never be fear of retaliation present because the goal should be to get everyone home at the end of the day.
Having knowledge of basic medical procedures is helpful in this category. OSHA recommends having a trained first aid provider or strict rules to follow in an emergency.
Gear Up to Create Safe Environments
You can improve your workplace culture by connecting with a construction safety store that offers what is needed to prevent hazard exposures and injuries. You'll receive on-demand access to specialized and top-quality items from some of the most trusted brands in the industry today.
When you can shop at one centralized location, your team can raise safety awareness and efficiency by empowering people to request what they need.
In return, you'll have more compliance with the best safety practices implemented at each job site.