Field Notes

Insights and advice from the construction field.

How Can Contractors Improve Safety at Construction Sites?

Street Road Work Zone with Barricades and Workers

Contractors are among the top workers responsible for improving safety at construction sites. These professionals must prioritize safety in work zones to help protect workers. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) used its findings from site inspections and injury records to develop its Focus Four Initiative. This initiative emphasizes the four most common job site hazards:

  • Falls: Improperly placed tools or materials can lead to slips, trips, and falls. Also, workers can fall through unmarked or unguarded holes in walking surfaces.
  • Caught in or between: Loose clothing can get caught in belts or pulleys and cause injuries. Also, heavy equipment and foundation walls can crush or suffocate workers.
  • Struck by: Overhead cranes or booms being used to unload building materials can strike workers.
  • Electrocution: Contact with electrical power boxes and overhead power lines can lead to injuries.

Because improving safety at construction sites is an essential part of their work, contractors must take steps to reach this objective. These best practices can help.

Discover how contractors can improve safety at construction sites.

Develop a Comprehensive Site Safety Plan

Create an actionable safety plan that meets compliance standards and elevates safety at the construction site. Periodically review and update your safety plan.

Include the following in your safety plan:

  • Project scope, location, and general site conditions
  • Description of identifiable hazards on the construction site
  • Protocols and procedures to handle common safety issues and emergencies
  • Instructions to report safety hazards, near misses, and incidents
  • Directions to provide constructive feedback on the safety plan 
  • Contact information for key safety and emergency personnel
  • Description of local, state, and federal safety regulations

Conduct Job Site Safety Training

Regularly train your workers on construction site safety. This training is especially important for new workers and those who lack construction experience. Keep in mind that veteran workers can benefit from safety reinforcement.

Proactively talk with each worker to ensure they understand the hazards of the construction site and their role. Ensure each worker knows what to do to minimize hazards or handle an emergency.

Facilitate Open Communication

Use smart devices, construction management software, instant messaging, and other tools and technology to distribute information about the construction site, potential hazards, and other relevant issues. Also, encourage workers to communicate any adverse conditions to you and the rest of the team.

Maintain the Construction Tools and Equipment

Ensure the tools and equipment are in proper working condition. Regular maintenance, repairs, and replacement reduces the risks of body strains, musculoskeletal issues, and other injuries.

Document Safety Incidents

Keep detailed records of worker injuries and near misses:

  • Use your records to uncover the root causes of safety incidents.
  • Resolve the underlying issues that lead to injuries and near misses.
  • Make adjustments to your safety plan as needed.
  • Improve safety at the construction site.
  • Track the success of your safety plan.

Hire Safety-Minded Construction Workers

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