‘Deadline’ is one word that is intensely hated in the construction industry. It would not be out of place to say that the mere mention of the word more often than not creates panic and whips up frenzy amongst all who are connected to the industry, especially construction workers and project managers. Individuals engaged in erecting an edifice or structure and project supervisors are two groups of professionals who have to bear the maximum brunt of the pressure of meeting deadlines and not overshoot the budget.
In the urgency to avoid going beyond the deadline, construction safety usually becomes the first casualty. Of the 4693 deaths in harness that took place in the private sector in 2016, 20% of the fatalities occurred in the construction industry. Executing the following strategies might go a long way in making the work environment safer and healthier for construction workers.
Setting the standards for construction safety as per OSHA’s guidelines
OSHA 29 CFR 1926 which enumerates the health directives for the construction sector forms the template for construction safety. Safety managers involved with the building industry in order to prioritize safety should abide by the parameters outlined in OSHA 29 CFR 1926. The norms should be in place much before a construction project gets underway.
If project managers can ensure that the safety regulations are laid out and implemented at the outset, then workers will not only be aware of the same but also feel safe while working. Consequently, greater awareness of personal safety strictures will contribute towards preventing both minor and grave injuries. Workers will be able to repose trust in management when the latter demonstrates a concern for their safety and wellbeing by interacting directly with them.
It has been observed that those workers who rarely communicate with top management would take construction safety norms and messages more seriously if they are spelled out directly by the latter. Instances of improper use of tools and working inconsistently that enhance chances of mishaps and accidents would be greatly reduced if the safety manager briefs the workers about the guidelines each day before work starts. The safety manager can log in at OSHA’s portal for creating PowerPoint slides relating to personal protection equipment, safe ladder use, equipment and tool safety, emergency planning, and so on.
The manager has to keep in mind that the presentation should be germane to the worksite he or she is supervising.
Inspiring workers and employees to speak about safety concerns and issues
OSHA observed that a good proportion of construction safety and project managers shy away from offering feedbacks and recommendations in order to keep confrontations, altercations, and disagreements at bay. The managers should see to it that they are effective in creating a space where workers feel free to voice their concerns that in turn could help negate and/or minimize risks of fatalities, mishaps, and injuries. If the safety manager is successful in making the workers feel relaxed, he can expect improved participation of workers in discussions where they’ll be comfortable talking about safety concerns without having to worry about reprisals.
Making the most of technologies
Technology can hugely contribute towards dealing with construction safety issues, augmenting workers’ efficiency, and reining in spiraling costs. Senior-management and project managers can take decisions in real-time, far removed from the actual worksite, thanks to the rapid strides made in digital technology. UAVs, smartphones, and project management software apps are some of the advanced tools that can help make the work environment thoroughly safe for workers.
Using safety labels and signs that are easily installable and understandable
Safety tags, markers, and signs can easily and effectively enable employers and project managers to keep in touch with workers. Heeding ANSI and OSHA guidelines on installing standardized premade signs and labels could help buttress construction safety on almost all worksites.
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