Safety standards in construction has improved markedly over the last few decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, construction safety didn’t really exist, and people took tremendous risks daily. Now, risk assessments, preventative measures, and improved work practices eliminate or at least mitigate those risks. However, the construction industry still has an appalling safety record. In the US alone, over 900 construction workers died as a result of work-related accidents in 2015, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The most prominent risks in construction health and safety are caught-in or caught-between incidents, electrocution, dropping objects, falls, and struck-by incidents. Using the proper protective equipment and strictly adhering to industry best-practices on site effectively mitigates these risks.
In this article, we will touch on the necessity of training in improving health and safety on site.
Training Saves Lives
Personnel requires adequate training in the use of all safety equipment. Safety equipment is not limited to personal protective equipment (PPE). For example while working at height, proper training and the use of fall arrest equipment is essential to ensure worker safety. Dropped objects should be designed out using tools such as lanyards, tethered tools, dropped object prevention mats and dropped object prevention work trays. It can also include items such as guard rails, self-closing gates, and cable protection equipment and secondary retention methods such as safety nets.
Training should be done upon introduction of new personnel, as well as continuously throughout each year. Continuous training ensures that staff are always aware of safety and that they know the latest best-practices and on-site techniques. The same applies to the use of new equipment – personnel should receive proper training as a requirement prior to operate these heavy machineries.
In the same breath, trainees should always operate heavy machinery under the supervision of a trained and qualified professional. Adhering to this practice ensures that best-practices are taught in a safe environment that still allows personnel to learn from experienced personnel and develop new skills.
At times, visitors enter construction sites without undergoing proper introduction and safety training. They will be unaware of the multitude of potential hazards and risks present on site. This ignorance places them and everyone around them at risk of severe injury or even risk of death, since they are likely to put themselves in dangerous situations unwittingly.
Safety Improves Productivity
Safety induction and training does not have to be a time-consuming process. If done in short, regular sessions, personnel will improve their safety-related knowledge and accompanying skills without causing considerable downtime in operations. This investment will pay dividends in the long run, since a safe workplace tends to be far more productive with knowledgeable personnel trained up front.
Safety-related incidents on-site often necessitate downtime to allow for investigations and equipment repairs. This situation drastically decreases productivity and employee morale, which has a further knock-on effect on productivity and worker safety.
It is evident that safety is not only an investment in personnel, but also an investment in higher future productivity and profitability while keeping your personnel safe.