Expert Tips for Improving Worker Safety
At PeopleReady Skilled Trades, we’ve made the safety of our tradespeople and other workers a top priority for over 30 years. We know first-hand that keeping workers safe requires a company-wide commitment to construction safety. So, to help you keep worker safety front and center, we’re sharing some expert tips.
Communication and Training
Keeping workers safe from harm starts with a culture that supports safety-first operations. It’s critical that your workers take safety seriously. If anyone on your project acts in an unsafe manner, they put others at risk as well as themselves. The following steps will help you promote a strong safety culture throughout your company.
- Verify training requirements are met. Safety training requirements can vary based on the project scope, location, environmental hazards present and trades working on site. Ensure all workers—both permanent and temporary—have site-specific safety training or complete a safety orientation on day one.
- Communicate issues and expectations. While this may begin with the site orientation, communication should be ongoing. Alert workers to site concerns and hazards, especially when conditions have changed. Include all workers in toolbox talks and safety discussions.
- Make safety an ongoing priority. While safety metrics report what’s already happened, proactive measures need to be part of daily activities and ongoing management. Learn from past safety incidents to see how you can avoid future problems and be sure to inform workers of any safety violations or injuries that have occurred.
- Consider OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 training and certification. While these certifications may not be a requirement for your project, they reinforce safe practices and help workers identify, avoid and correct on-the-job hazards. PeopleReady Skilled Trades offers OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 training to our tradespeople at no cost.
Construction workers are exposed to many hazards in the course of their jobs. Some conditions can and should be eliminated. However, others are occupational hazards that must be managed and communicated to everyone stepping on site. Below are some common hazards that should be kept top of mind at all times.
- Start with proper housekeeping. Don’t let your site turn into an obstacle course. Ensure walkways are clear and that there is minimal debris. And attend to other trip hazards like hoses, cords, wires, cables and gaps in walkways.
- Minimize slip hazards. Address conditions like mud, water, ice, grease, gravel and other loose materials that could cause workers to slip and fall. It’s especially critical to keep stairways and surfaces at heights clean.
- Protect the workers above. Tradespeople working on roofs and other elevated surfaces face additional dangers. Depending on the situation, fall arrest systems and guardrails may be required. At a minimum, controlled access and warning line systems should be in place—with the warning lines at least six feet from the roof edge.
- Warn workers of electric hazards. Working with and around electricity must be taken seriously, as electrocution is one of the top causes of injuries and fatalities in construction. Notify tradespeople and other workers of issues such as overhead and underground power lines, arc flash hazards and basic electrical safety concerns.
- Reduce dangers from vehicles and heavy equipment. Job sites are alive with moving vehicles and equipment that can cause serious or fatal struck-by incidents. If heavy equipment or vehicles are in use on the jobsite, ensure workers are aware of safety policies around heavy equipment operation and that operators have the necessary certification.
Tools and Techniques
When the pace picks up on a project, construction safety can fall to the wayside. So, it’s critical to make sure workers have the right tools and equipment, and that they always follow appropriate protocols.
- Standard PPE is non-negotiable. Verify standard construction PPE has been issued and that it’s worn at all times. In particular, ensure hearing and eye protection are worn when needed. Noise from construction equipment can damage hearing over time and thousands of eye injuries could be prevented each year with proper eye protection.
- Prevent or minimize falls with the right equipment. Should workers be wearing personal fall arrest or fall restraint systems? If so, determine which equipment is appropriate, confirm that its condition is checked regularly and verify tradespeople have been trained to use the equipment properly.
- Provide and require dust masks and respirators. Many environmental hazards cannot be eliminated, so it’s crucial to identify the work environment. Toxic gas, asbestos and other airborne hazards may be present. Ensure the correct construction PPE is provided, fit-tested and worn.
- Put a stop to unsafe ladder usage. Ladder falls account for thousands of construction injuries every year.Be sure workers are using the size and type of ladder and that it’s in safe operating condition. And it’s important that workers set and use ladders safely.
- Prevent back injuries. Back injuries account for many injuries in construction every year, and they can lead to debilitating pain and lost time and wages. Most back injuries can be prevented by lifting safely, so discuss safe lifting techniques like proper form and buddy lifting.
Partner with PeopleReady Skilled Trades
If you’re looking for quality tradespeople who take safety seriously, PeopleReady Skilled Trades can help. Since 1987, PeopleReady Skilled Trades has provided skilled staffing for construction contractors across all sectors of the construction and renewable energy industries. Learn more about our commitment to safety at skilled.peopleready.com/safety.
Request Safety-focused Tradespeople Today!