Worker safety is more critical on a construction site than in most other work environments. There’s never a dull moment, and risks pop up from many sources, which means your job sites must follow safety procedures 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days of the year.
Here’s our comprehensive guide to year-round job site safety and how you can implement safe policies for your workers and the environment around you.
Fostering a Safe Culture
A list of rules alone cannot foster a safe work culture. You have to be more proactive. Instead of looking at safety as a short-term requirement, think of it as an ongoing process your staff can constantly improve on. Push them to develop safe habits every day rather than giving them a half-hearted refresher after every incident. Solidifying habits takes time and patience.
You can do several other things during this growth period to create a safe working environment:
- Look for the root causes. Are there any usual suspects or underlying themes with your job site’s incidents? Tread carefully in your investigation. You don’t want to blame someone and separate them from the group without sufficient evidence.
- Implement safety activities. Use team-building activities to teach safety lessons rather than give occasional warnings and debriefings on safety policies.
- Reward improvements. As your staff builds its safety habits, reward the most diligent members with words of appreciation and give them more freedom in the safety decision-making process. They’ve proven to be responsible, so you should treat them as such.
- Don’t accept failure. Construction sites are dangerous places, injuring and killing thousands of people every year. With that in mind, you must address even the smallest failures before they lead to disaster.
Leading the way through constant communication, team-building, and risk management will help your job site develop a strong safety culture.
Safety involves more than protecting workers. You must also protect your surroundings by using the right technology and adopting an environmentally conscious approach to construction. Start small by getting green alternatives to everyday tools, such as electric chainsaws and trucks.
On a larger scale, construction companies are switching to equipment with renewable energy sources. Some equipment comes with a user interface that tracks energy consumption, while other vehicles have an economy mode that uses engine power only when necessary. The most advanced green construction equipment has electronic monitoring systems that keep track of engine health, tire pressure, and other vehicle vital signs.
Waste management is another essential part of green construction. Install composite construction mats to prevent run-off and make sure your workers leave their stations clean and organized every day.
Additionally, you should only collaborate with waste removal companies that share green values. Ensure they dump their waste responsibly at an established landfill site away from any sensitive ecosystems.
You will probably work on more energy-efficient homes with natural building materials and designs in the upcoming years. This change marks a shift in the priorities of homeowners. They want green living spaces that are connected to the outside world.
Safety is a year-round responsibility, so you must know the different challenges each season could present. The cooler temperatures of autumn and winter present complex challenges each year:
- Increased moisture: With more water in the air, metal equipment is more susceptible to rust and corrosion.
- Thunderstorms: Storms become more common in the colder months, which could delay projects and cause extensive damage.
- Snow/ice: Freezing precipitation accelerates corrosive effects, makes paint take longer to cure, and compromises the stability of cement and concrete.
- Extreme cold: Cold causes materials to contract, which causes damage when the materials expand as the temperature warms up again. Workers’ hands and feet can also lose feeling, inhibiting their ability to do their jobs.
Though most people prefer summer over winter, the warm months have their own obstacles. Excessive heat can lead to these issues:
- Overexpanded materials
- Improper application of concrete and bricks due to lack of moisture
- Brittle and discolored paint
- Worker drowsiness and exhaustion due to fatigue
- Less protective gear
Stay mindful of these challenges as each season progresses and communicate them to your staff. You never know when external factors will throw a wrench in your plans, so you must complete a thorough risk assessment before each project.
Construction Safety Is Environmental Safety
When the staff at a construction site applies responsible working habits for themselves and uses the proper equipment, they keep themselves and their environment safe. Green construction is the future of the industry, so you must adopt eco-friendly practices sooner rather than later to keep up with the growing demand for energy-efficient buildings. If there’s one lesson you must take from this guide, it’s that construction safety and environmental safety walk hand in hand.