Improve Compliance at Construction Sites

Best and Easy Ways to Improve Compliance at Construction Sites

Improve Compliance at Construction Sites. Work-related injuries and fatalities on a construction site are a real and imminent danger. According to some OSHA reports, around 10% of all employees in this field suffer a construction site injury every year. The list of potential injuries (even common ones) is quite long, as well. For instance:

  • Falling
  • Overexerting themselves
  • Transportation accidents
  • Bodily reactions
  • Contact with dangerous equipment or objects

A thing worth mentioning is that this is the fourth-highest industry when it comes to the number of fatalities. With 9.7 fatalities for 100,000 employees, the situation is more than serious.

Now, there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of a workplace injury on a construction site. This is just the nature of the industry. What you can do, however, is reduce the risk quite considerably by improving the compliance at your construction sites. Here are several things you can do to make all of this happen.

Educate All Workers about the Potential Risks

First of all, you need to start by educating your workers about all the potential risks. This means that your training process needs to be well planned out. Still, it takes more than that, and the process starts with hiring. There are some people who are more prone to reckless behavior and who are more likely to be irresponsible in the workplace. A careful vetting process saves you from a world of trouble.

Remember that when it comes to handling heavy machinery, the option of outsourcing/hiring goes far beyond just getting some help. You get people who are already trained to operate the machinery, people who fall under someone else’s jurisdiction, and an operator/equipment set who are already insured.

Meetings and orientation courses need to be held on a weekly basis. You’re doing this just in case someone wasn’t there the last time, as well as to remind people just how important this is. After all, if you’re taking them away from work to talk about safety, it’s clearly worth the downtime (in productivity).

Improve the Project Management

The main reason why accidents happen is due to poor management, which causes a number of other logistical issues. For instance, imagine a scenario where you’re one piece of PPE short (a helmet for instance), so the foreman lets a worker on site because they’re already behind on schedule. What happens if there’s an accident on that very day?

Chasing a schedule makes contractors overwork people, the tension is high, and there are a lot of other factors present that make the risk higher. With better construction management, you’ll have a better logistical structure, which will make all of these risks a lot lower. Forecasts will be more accurate, everything will be there in time, and there’ll be more room for potential error, seeing as how even the worst-case scenario is planned out.

Rushing to meet the deadlines, and anxiety caused by being behind on the project are huge problems. The key thing about avoiding hazards lies in more than just knowledge. One has to be mindful, which is a lot harder to achieve when you’re behind on the schedule. Instead of trying to help people regain their focus with some external motivation, why not just provide them with a system that will keep them on track? This way, you’ve resolved the root of the problem.

Remind Them on a Regular Basis

Supervisors need to go around the construction site and make sure to remind everyone just how important safety is. The first thing they can do is notice an unsafe behavior pattern and point it out right away. They don’t have to sanction it every time, but there needs to be a bit more strictness and authority in their approach. Otherwise, they risk it all not being taken seriously.

You also want to make these reminders a tad more automatic by posting signs everywhere around the place. You see, it’s not always the lack of responsibility. A lapse of attention can happen to everyone, and if you walk next to a hazard on a daily basis, it simply starts looking less and less dangerous by default. Having a sign with a danger symbol there can be pretty effective in resolving this issue.

We’ve already talked about education, but it’s important we mention one more thing. You need to remind them of what you’ve covered so far. So, having a repeat lecture might be the optimal course of action. Sure, it takes time from their regular work, but you stand to gain much more.

Try to Make Them More Engaged

Intrinsic motivation is often hard to achieve even when the end goal is their own safety. Why? Well because of the positivity bias that makes everyone inclined to think that it’s not going to happen to them. So, they tend to ignore OSHA requirements, forget to strap their helmet, or just ignore what seems to be an obvious hazard.

So, how do you make them more engaged? The first thing you can do is try to be more graphic, and… well, there’s no nice way to say this – try to make them genuinely scared of a worksite accident. You want to let them know just how many injuries there are in their line of work. You also want to show them just how bad things work out.

Still, fear is not the only motivator. Why not look for a way to motivate them to pay attention by incentivizing their constructive ideas? For instance, you could introduce a near-miss system. Here, if a person in the workplace notices a potentially hazardous situation and points it out, they’re up for a small monthly bonus. It may sound trivial, but you would be surprised at the results.

Make Them Feel Free to Talk

While incentivizing people to talk is a good thing, you also need to make an environment in which communication flows as naturally as possible. You want them to respect you, but you don’t want them to be afraid of coming up to you with a complaint. Even if you have to dismiss it, make sure to let them know that their concerns were heard and even give them a reason why something can’t be done.

Second, make sure that you establish a clear chain of communication. While every worker should have your contact in the case of an emergency, the majority of issues can be resolved by their own supervisor. They need to know who to contact with each of these issues.

It’s also good to open multiple channels of communication. Some people prefer writing an email, while others want to walk up to their foreman and verbally express their concern. It’s generally a good practice to allow for all of these mediums but make sure that the report of such complaints is made in a standard format. This way, you’re limiting your own liability and securing yourself in a scenario where something goes wrong.

In Conclusion

In the end, improving compliance at construction sites is your top priority. A workplace injury can put you seriously behind and cause you to pay a massive compensation fine. In the worst case, it can cause a workplace fatality, which is something that no project or deadline is worth. In other words, you have both a financial and a moral incentive to make this right. Use this opportunity to the best of your abilities.

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