Health and safety are essential for success in any construction project. Proper attention to safety promotes employee morale and is also a legal obligation for the employer. In this article, we will touch base on the measures to manage health and safety in the construction industry properly.
Safety as Top Priority
Safe work practices prevent injuries and other accidents during working hours. Since the safest way to operate heavy machinery requires using the equipment within specified limits, this also prolongs the equipment lifespan and reduces the need for repairs. Here, the employer reaps the benefits of safer employees and decreased maintenance and repair costs.
Training employees in safe work practices are essential. Teach employees to think of their safety, along with the safety of their co-workers. Also, it teaches employees to look for and identify risks and hazards in the workplace. Once identified, risks can be mitigated or eliminated by taking proper precautions. Precautions include demarcation of potential danger zones, wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), and access control, among others.
When employees buy into safety, the company culture will change for the better. Your staff should realize that you are serious about their safety and want them to return home after a shift as healthy as they arrived for work. Once this is in place, they are likely to start caring about safety too. Instilling health and safety as part of your company culture may be challenging, but it is well worth it. A shining example of this is Alcoa, an American Aluminum manufacturer: with company profitability hitting rock bottom, entering CEO Paul O’Neill emphasized safety instead of profitability. Within a short time, the company’s financial state turned around, and profits quintupled.
Every person in the company, whether working on-site or off, should be held accountable for safety. Clearly outline health and safety-related responsibilities and communicated to all staff members. Systems must be in place to monitor these responsibilities and safety aspects. When a staff member does not carry out their health and safety duties, consequences must be clear and severe enough to ensure compliance.
Reward Good Habits
This point ties in with accountability. When a staff member does their safety-related duty, note and reward it. Simply punishing non-compliance will result in a police state, negatively affecting morale and productivity.
Regular Inspections and Safety Meetings
Safety inspections and meetings should be part of the weekly procedure on any job site. These meetings need not be formal or prolonged – a mere fifteen-minute “toolbox or job site assessment talk” at the start of each shift will inform crew members on the latest developments and will have them think and provide feedback about regular works during their work shift.
Health and safety are essential. Where safety should be the top priority, training, employee involvement and accountability are essential for good cooperation. Good habits are rewarded and regular inspections and safety meetings are widely discussed for improvement of workplace safety and share best practices. When this is established as part of company culture, maintaining high safety standards will be easier and become effective.