It’s no surprise that construction is a dangerous industry. Tens of thousands of construction workers are injured on the job each year, and according to OSHA, one in five job-related deaths in 2017 were in construction (roughly 1,000 per year). Those in construction management know that taking precautions to ensure safety is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also mandated by law via The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
The first thing you can do to minimize the risk of injury or death is by following all OSHA regulations. This might be easier said than done, though. Nearly 40% of construction worker deaths occur from fall-related accidents each year. Despite this alarming statistic, fall protection continues to top OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations list. Even knowing the risks of various construction violations, they continue to happen.
How do we change this? It starts with training, adequate resources, and construction time management.
Education and Training Continued education and proper training are critical to ensuring that your workforce understands the risks and proper procedures for their job responsibilities. When hiring subcontractors, make sure they’re up to date on training and can prove it. If someone demonstrates a lack of safety education, don’t wait until an annual training session comes around. Schedule training sooner and include anyone that would like a refresher.
All the training in the world won’t help if your workforce doesn’t have the resources and equipment needed to implement what they’ve learned. Make sure your workforce has easy access to safety gear, such as harnesses, hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, respirators, and masks. Provide safe, maintained equipment that is suitable for the size of the job that your workers are performing. This includes items like manual tools, power tools, ladders and scaffolding, and both light and heavy machinery.
Managing Timelines When people are in a rush to complete a job, they may be more likely to cut corners, including safety procedures. Managing construction workers and subcontractors can be tough when timelines are tight, but it’s your duty to make sure your team is following all safety rules and regulations. Constant oversight and nagging might not be your idea of a great day on the job, so consider using construction time management software to minimize putting your team in the risky position of being in a rush.
Dealing with Sickness and Stress Injuries Beyond the daily dangers of working in construction, those in labor-management need to be aware of typical illnesses such as colds and the flu, food sickness, rashes, and more. One person with a contagious illness can get others on your team ill, which can grind your project to a halt. Don’t force anyone to come in if sick, and if someone is sick on the job, consider sending the person home. Employees who aren’t feeling well are also more likely to make mistakes, which could cause more issues than the temporary reduction in your labor force.
Repetitive stress injuries can become a problem over time. Roofers, plumbers, electricians, and nearly every other laborer on a job site can attest to the fact that their work is often done in less-than-ergonomic positions. Encouraging frequent stretching as part of a routine before beginning the day can have a sizable, positive impact. Forcing people to work through pain will have short-term returns but may result in extended time off and a worker’s compensation claim in the future.
Mental Health on a Jobsite One aspect of managing the health of your construction workers that is often overlooked is mental health. In a male-dominated industry, mental health may not be openly talked about but it should be. According to research, construction workers are 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Construction is a high-stress job where employees work long hours and work through the pain to provide for their families. We recently provided some strategies that can help your workers become more efficient, and some of the tips can have a positive impact on efficiency as well!
Finally: Do your Subcontractors have Insurance? Even after training and following proper safety precautions, subcontractors can still get injured on a job. General Liability insurance is not only important for you and your business, but also for any subcontractor you hire on your jobsite as well. If you go to hire a subcontractor and they do not have their own personal liability insurance, you could still be liable if they fall or injure themselves on your jobsite. So before you hire anyone, make sure that they have the proper protections in place, and if they don’t, you may want to either hire someone else or just have that person get their own insurance before they complete any work.
As you can see, the reasons to focus on construction worker health range from ethics to increased productivity to legal ramifications, but it’s certainly the right thing to do. Many of these tips involve simple adjustments to support the health and safety of you and the people you employ. If you’re a builder looking to grow your business and you also need a budget management software to help improve your construction time management, contact Snap.Build® today to learn more about how we can help you efficiently manage project timelines!