From falling objects or electrical hazards to operating complex tools and equipment, construction projects are among some of the most dangerous work environments. Because of these safety hazards, construction companies must make sure they protect workers across every job site. That protection starts with a good safety training program.
Adhering to the industry safety precautions—and educating your employees on construction site safety topics—is crucial for keeping their health and safety a priority. Additionally, putting protective systems in place to keep your workers safe also helps your company avoid citations and penalty fees from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Between October 2019 and September 2020, OSHA reported the total federal citations was more than $63 million for the construction industry.
What are the safety precautions in a construction site?
Depending on your company’s work in the construction industry, there are specific protections you must put in place to protect workers, and the public surrounding your job sites.
For example, if you’re an electrical contractor, you’re no stranger to all the electrical hazards that exist in your line of work. Or, if you’re working at job sites above six feet, you already know to make sure you have proper fall protection. Another common safety precaution in the construction industry is ensuring workers have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE)—something that became even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Implementing a safety training program for workers to continually learn about the safety hazards of construction work (and how they can protect themselves) is the industry standard to help mitigate risk. No matter the job, there are safety hazards to consider—and proper workplace safety precautions to protect workers from them.
Top 10 safety risks in the construction industry
According to OSHA, the top ten most frequently cited federal safety hazards in the construction industry between October 2019 and September 2020 were:
- Duty to have fall protection
- General requirements
- Training requirements
- Eye and face protection
- General safety and health provisions
- Head protection
- Specific excavation requirements
- Aerial lifts
- Fall protection systems criteria and practices
Implementing a construction safety training program
Better construction site safety, and avoiding common safety and health citations, starts with proper worker safety training. As construction employers, it’s your responsibility to empower your employees with education and materials to keep them informed of the latest industry hazards—and make sure they follow them.
By setting safety standards for your job sites, you can ensure the health and safety of both your construction workers and the public is accounted for. The more informed your workers are about safety hazards and best practices before starting work, the lower the risk of injuries and incidents in the workplace.
An effective construction safety program can be broken down into three elements: safety training, documenting, and reporting.
Offering job site hazards training for workers
The first step in making sure your employees are fully versed in construction safety is to offer consistent (and comprehensive) safety training at work. Toolbox talks are safety meetings where workers are informed of the specific hazards and risk of injury with their job for the project. They’re also a time to make sure construction workers know the associated protection systems. Toolbox talks are a must for the construction industry, but finding and completing them shouldn’t take up all your team’s valuable working time.
By empowering your employees with a library of toolbox talk topics—and the ability to schedule safety talks and record attendance digitally with a toolbox talk app—they’re able to focus more on the site safety content and less on safety training logistics. That way, your construction workers can get back to working faster, and they’ll know what to do if they come across a potential hazard or two.
Documenting safety in the construction industry
Safety programs are only as good as their documentation. If a company can’t prove their site safety when OSHA comes to town, they run the risk of being cited for workplace safety violations (even if their safety procedures are working).
This is why it’s so important for construction companies to prioritize documentation, and prove site safety precautions are actually being followed. This isn’t just for the protection of your workers—it’s also for the protection of your company. You must make sure (and prove) that your employees did everything in their power to follow industry safety measures if an incident occurs.
Without consistent workplace safety documentation, there’s no way to make sure employees are following best practices and upholding your company’s safe work standards. However, proactively documenting safety measures without an easy system can use up valuable resources and time while working. In fact, one of the biggest reasons construction companies don’t have comprehensive safety documentation isn’t because they lack site safety—it’s because it takes too much time and effort to record and submit it. When you make a safe environment less work to achieve, it’s more likely to happen.
How to use a custom construction site safety checklist
How can you make sure your construction workers are following necessary safety measures, without adding extra work to every update? A digital safety and quality checklist is a must. By streamlining the process for communication and using a software to complete checklists, the office will know in real time what workplace safety initiatives are in place.
Here’s an example of a COVID-19 safety checklist:
- Has the project team checked the temperatures of all workers on site?
- Have any workers displayed symptoms today?
- Are all workers practicing social distancing on site?
- Are there sufficient hand washing stations on site?
- Do all workers have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) on site?
- Are any trades not working today due to COVID-19?
- If yes, please confirm the trades that are not working.
- Can any work not be completed due to COVID-19?
- If yes, please confirm what work cannot be completed.
Instead of printing and manually filling out these questions every day, Raken has an easy-to-use construction checklist feature that allows your teams to complete and send back their answers—right from the job site. Say hello to more documentation (and protection) in the workplace.
From a construction equipment safety checklist to new employee safety orientation, our templates make it easy for you to see what’s happening (and working) in the field. Plus, you can edit the templates to fit the specific needs of your company. Leveraging these templates means you can maintain a pulse on the safety and quality of your construction projects, without creating extra work for your employees.
Storing your completed safety topics and documentation
Solutions like Raken allow your workers to efficiently document all safety and health systems and protocols being followed in the workplace. Plus, everything is saved in one digital location, so you don’t need to rummage through old binders to find the proof of safety training or site safety procedures completed.
Keeping all your toolbox talks, checklists, and other documentation in a cloud storage system means you’ll never have to wonder where a form or job site update is again. Organization and ease of completion are two of the most important factors to maintaining construction site safety and compliance. Choosing a tool that’s easy for your workers to use will save everyone time—on the site and at the office.
Creating a construction safety report
The final piece for implementing an effective safety program is the construction site safety report. As a company, it’s crucial for you to be able to see your safety efforts and documentation across all your construction sites.
With all your safety training data in one system, you gain visibility into your overall company safety compliance, and can even see the number of reported incidents by project—all in one Insights Dashboard. From completed toolbox talks and checklists to missed dailies, Raken’s construction safety management software helps you see everything at a glance. The better safety data and documentation you have, the better reports and business decisions you can make for a safe workplace. And it’s easier to make sure your protective system (or protective systems) are working, and compliant.
Ready to elevate your workplace safety documentation and protection—and keep workers safe? Get started with a free trial of Raken.