Depending on the type of project, construction site risks may come in forms that can be obvious or unnoticeable. The saying, “Accidents hurt, safety doesn’t,” rings very true for every stage of the construction project lifecycle.
The range of potential risks present increases dangers in the workplace, but preparation, safety-centric site culture and the right tools can make a significant difference in proactive safety management practices. As a result, in an increasingly connected construction workforce, companies and contractors are now looking for ways to improve their construction site safety.
Upgrading your on-site technology in any construction project can help improve safety on the job site for all personnel. By implementing smart devices, streamlining team collaboration, making the most of project management platforms, and real-time equipment monitoring, construction companies can better understand potential safety risks and take proactive steps to address them. Additionally, the use of devices such as drones and smart machines can help reduce the exposure of workers to potential site hazards. While there are many challenges that need to be addressed to make construction sites safer, using technology can certainly help to make a difference.
What is a construction safety plan?
As its name implies, construction safety involves putting and observing safety measures at job sites to protect workers and other people within the vicinity. Hazards are identified even before the project starts, and a set of standards and guidelines are created to ensure safety within the site, as well as traveling to and from the construction site location.
A construction site safety plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the safety protocols and procedures for any construction project. The plan is designed to keep workers safe and protect them from potential hazards, and guide them on what steps to take in case unwanted emergencies happen. It should be developed before work begins on the project and should be closely followed throughout the duration of the project to ensure the safety and well-being of all site personnel.
Construction site safety plans vary from project to project, but some elements that are always present. For instance, every construction plan must include key stakeholders, safety officers and their responsibilities, safety contact information, detailed descriptions of the project, site, and location, and most importantly, any potential site hazards and how they can be avoided.
To ensure full compliance with workplace health and safety industry codes, every employee should be required to review and understand the construction safety plan before construction work commences.
How can I build a safer construction site?
It is the company and contractor’s responsibility to promote work health and safety among their workers. By keeping the site safe and the staff well-prepared, risks can be minimised, and injuries or site accidents can be prevented. Companies that prioritise construction site safety and health also benefit significantly by attracting and retaining the best workers, reducing employee turnover rate, and building a stronger and more-connected team. As they handle more and more projects with the best site safety practices, they also build their business name and reputation within the wider construction industry.
A reputation for good workplace safety is not achieved overnight, though. These companies and contractors spend time, effort, and resources to achieve their high standard of work site safety. So, to strengthen your company’s safety performance, here are four quick ways to promote outstanding construction site safety on your next project:
1. Establish a safety-first work site
Developing a safety-conscious culture on any construction site can take time. It starts with the business owners, head contractors and project managers understanding the organisation’s safety goals and protocols in detail, and creating industry-compliant protocols and procedures for all workers who are actually present on-site (or traveling to and from the work site).
Every construction company must put safety front and centre. An organisation with a workplace safety-centric culture in place teaches its workers to identify, address, and react to hazards in a responsible and proactive manner. It also provides frequent training and accessible workplace support to ensure that the team has both knowledge and practice to handle construction site safety emergencies when they occur.
Here are some characteristics of a construction team with an established safety culture:
- All staff present at any construction site are empowered and involved in the company’s safety processes
- Every worker is knowledgeable and trained on the safety procedures
- The workers who are more familiar with the specific site hazards have the right to raise safety concerns at any time, to prevent the problem from escalating
- Any safety concerns raised are investigated in full by management
- The safety of the workers and the people around the construction site are always treated as high priority
- Full and transparent accountability is held to prevent similar incidents from occurring again
2. Use Personal Protective Equipment
Countless hazards are present on construction sites, so it is crucial that construction workers wear adequate PPE on-site at all times. These may include hard hats, safety harnesses, eye and face protection, protective clothing and more. While the equipment won’t completely prevent accidents from happening, it can at least minimise or avoid injuries in the event of a safety incident.
The PPE required for each role, location and site task should be outlined in the company’s construction site safety plan. A safety officer should be on-site to check every worker before their shift starts and keep an eye on their protective equipment throughout the day.
3. Provide up-to-date safety training and assign on-site safety responsibilities
Each worker on a construction site is assigned to different activities of the project. This means that for each role, the workers are exposed to different hazards and risks that require different management and mitigation.
Aside from the general training provided by the company, the company should also provide specific safety protocols for employees handling different work assignments. These workplace safety procedures must be specific and accurate to the activities being conducted at all times. They should also be written in the construction safety plan and be taught to new hires or old workers that changed roles in the construction project.
4. Bring the latest technology on-site
As in all other industries, construction companies can always benefit from incorporating technologies and software that help make construction projects smarter, better, and more efficient.
These days, plenty of construction safety technologies are already available in the market. Some assist construction teams in specific stages of the project, such as virtual reality for training, drones and software for inspection, and construction wearables for real-time monitoring.
Other technological advancements support work site safety from start to finish of the project. A construction health and safety platform, for example, can be used to:
- Ensure all site safety information and processes, assessments, and reports are accessible to workers at all times
- Deliver scheduled work healthy and safety reminders and procedures to relevant recipients frequently
- Offer an easy way of conducting and completing health and safety assessments
- Provide a quick and easy way of reporting incidents at the construction site
- Save all safety assessment reports and ensure they are easily retrievable for audit
- Identify potential for recurring safety issues and address them appropriately
A range of construction safety plan templates, fully customisable for each specific location and project, can also be utilized as part of any construction site safety plan. The relevant health and safety office can design and manage the templates, which will then be made accessible to users.
As the construction industry continues to grow, it is important that workplace health and safety remains a top priority. Construction companies should work with safety experts to ensure that the appropriate safety measures are in place for their building projects. By taking the time to assess the risks and put appropriate safety measures in place, construction sites can be safer places for workers and the public.
PlanRadar’s construction management software can assist your company in building smarter construction site safety plans and implementing them at any stage of your project. Learn more about the features of our software here or get a free demo right away to see how it can transform your building projects.