Construction is a risky industry. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contractors and supervisors of construction work consistently rank among the top 10 most dangerous professions (i.e., they have high annual fatality rates compared to other professions). By implementing thorough safety practices within your company, you can keep your employees safe and prevent the costs associated with accidents. Aside from the human cost, accidents cause your company to lose time, they cause you to spend extra money hiring and training replacement workers, and they cause you to spend extra money replacing and repairing damaged materials.
If your company primarily performs construction work, then your hiring client will likely ask you to become certified with ISNetworld® or CSS Certification for construction workers is most common in the US, although other countries may have this requirement as well. Keep reading to learn about the dangers of construction work, and the safety programs you may need for your certification process.
Risks of Construction Work
According to data from OSHA, construction accidents typically fall into one of four categories. These are known as the “Construction Focus Four” hazards:
- Caught-in or caught-between: This type of accident occurs when an employee is caught in a piece of machinery or heavy equipment, or when an employee is pinned between a piece of heavy equipment/machinery and another machine, tool, vehicle, or environmental fixture.
- Electrocution: The construction site is flowing with electricity — from lighting fixtures to power tools. Without proper handling of electrical equipment, employees are at risk of electrocution.
- Falls: Many construction projects require working in high places — whether this is via ladders, scaffolding, or another apparatus. Falls are the most common cause of injury on construction sites.
- Struck-by: This final type of accident can occur in four different ways: struck-by flying objects, struck-by falling objects, struck-by swinging objects and struck-by rolling objects. A flying object can be a misfire from a nail gun or a piece of a saw’s blade that chips off during use. Falling and swinging objects typically come from overhead work and suspended loads. Lastly, rolling objects can include vehicles and heavy equipment.
It’s important to note that OSHA’s Construction Focus Four doesn’t include transportation incidents. This is a separate category, but transportation incidents account for a significant number of fatalities and deaths in the construction industry.
Safety Programs for Construction Workers
There are many safety programs that you can adapt to your company to protect your employees while working on construction sites. At Industrial Compliance & Safety, we will look at the specifications of your hiring client, the nature of your work, and the regulations of OSHA to write a series of custom safety programs for your company to get you compliant with ISNetworld®, CSS, or other safety company. Here are some of the most common safety programs required within the construction industry:
- Fall Protection and Prevention
- Scaffolding Safety
- Trenching and Shoring Safety
- Demolition Safety
- Material Handling
Do I Need New Construction Safety Programs?
If you’ve never been certified (with ISNetworld®, Avetta®, or a similar pre-qualification service), then you might not have a formal compilation of safety programs for your company. You may have an informal checklist for training new employees, or you might train your contractors on the job, as they work with new materials and tools. If this is the case, then you should really consider writing safety programs for your company.
Written safety programs ensure that every employee is working on-site with the same base of information. This way, every employee knows how to handle materials and tools safely, and they know how to monitor their environment to prevent accidents. On the other hand, disorganized safety training leads to inattentive employee behavior...which eventually leads to workplace accidents.
If you are already certified and have safety programs, then you will be notified if one of your clients requests a new or updated safety program. However, you don’t need to wait for your client to take action before revamping your safety training. It is always a good idea to re-evaluate your safety programs after a workplace accident or near-miss. Additionally, it is a good idea to refresh your employees’ memories and offer retraining for various safety practices every 6 months - year.