Construction work is a very rewarding field of expertise, but it’s also one that comes with dangers. In an industry where the use of high-powered equipment is commonplace, there is an increased risk of permanent injury or death.
As a result of these risks, managers should place safety as one of their top priorities – whether that be through the provision of PPE or safety vending equipment, a comprehensive health and safety plan, or the development and implementation of safety committees throughout the business.
Let’s review some of the different measures you can take to keep your team safe.
Provide Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
Consider the needs of your employees when deploying personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace. Depending on your specific project, the protective equipment may vary – from welding guards to protect from welding arcs to safety helmets and enclosed boots; identifying the best ways to protect your staff is vital to improving customer safety.
While PPE can often be seen as difficult to manage and maintain, tools such as safety vending exist to allow managers to appropriately identify when safety equipment needs replenishing. This can also assist in identifying when a higher baseline of safety equipment is required, particularly for an expanding business.
Have an Operational Health and Safety Plan
According to Safe Work Australia, the construction industry reported a fatality rate of 3.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2021. While this may seem low to someone without an understanding of the industry in play, it is the third deadliest industry in Australia and highlights the importance of having a detailed Operational Health and Safety Plan in the workplace.
Whether you’re supervising or conducting any type of risky activity on site, it’s important to consider existing safety protocols and apply them. This can assist with mitigating some of the risks that are faced in the workplace and will ultimately assist in making the workplace safer for all.
Develop your OH&S plan with the employee in mind. Create a clear, succinct policy that gets the message across but also has a clear procedure should an incident occur. Providing this sort of material to as many staff as possible, through the use of training and team notices, will assist in reducing the risks that occur in the workplace.
Consider a Safety Committee (and Training)
It can often be difficult to spearhead change on your own – after all, no matter if you’re an intern or a manager, proposing changes to any business can sometimes be met with scepticism and frustration.
This is especially noticeable when policy changes are made in the workplace with little to no explanation to stakeholders. As a result, it’s crucial that stakeholders are brought in to engage in safety processes.
Internal teams such as safety committees can assist in identifying leaders in the safety space and guide in the promotion and dissemination of critical safety information. As a result, you’ll encourage participants to get involved in good-faith discussions for the benefit of all employees.
Another element that should be considered is the use of training to mass upskill staff on the ground. While there may be some training that’s restricted to senior staff with the appropriate qualifications, having training opportunities at the entry-level encourages individuals to participate and learn along with the safety process.
Over time, this can be expanded through the use of tools such as reference books and training manuals. As a result, training can be considered an often-overlooked but essential component of keeping teams safe in the workplace.
Review and Update Policy as Safety Needs Evolve
As projects grow and change, an important element of maintaining safety is the ongoing review and update of safety policy. It’s important not to get complacent in identifying safety risks – delaying a safety review can sometimes result in risks not being identified in a timely fashion.
Depending on the size of your project, the size and scope of a review may vary. However, it’s essential that a review is completed at least once annually to ensure that a safety report is current for employees.
Nobody goes to work expecting that they won’t go home. It’s, therefore, imperative for managers to provide the skills, equipment, and training for workplaces so that they are applying safe and consistent procedures across the workplace.