Of the worker fatalities in 2017, 21 percent occurred in construction according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA says the key to saving more lives is to eliminate what it calls the "Fatal Four." These comprise almost 60 percent of fatalities in 2017.
Fortunately, the industry can reduce that with education and the right tools. Here are the four best ways to increase safety and reduce construction site injuries.
1. Make Safety the No. 1 Priority
Management can incorporate safety on the work site to create a safety-first culture. Start simply by posting safety rules in high traffic areas. Work toward holding an informal safety talk and discussion at the start of each workday. During this talk, managers cover different safety rules and share information about safer processes, equipment, and tools.
A helpful resource for these talks is OSHA's 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards violated in 2018. Each one contains a link to a related topic page for more information on how to protect workers.
Companies that have year-long streaks without a workplace incident regularly hold safety training. They also post a dedicated safety manager on site. If this isn't possible, assign someone on site to oversee health and safety.
2. Encourage Speaking Up
Workers are one of the best resources for preventing construction site injuries. They are the ones in the field who can see potential problems. According to Crucial Conversations Lead to Improved Safety, authors Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny conducted a survey on workplace threats. The survey reveals that 93 percent of the respondents say their workplace is at risk from a safety issue that no one will talk about.
Management can avert this by encouraging employees to speak up when they see something. Give them a way to report problems without fear of retaliation. Moreover, OSHA reports that managers sidestep providing feedback to avoid confrontations. Feedback on performance is crucial to improving safety. Training is available to help managers do it in a constructive, positive way.
3. Invest in High-quality Safety Gear
Safety as a No. 1 priority requires supplying employees with high-quality personal protective equipment (PPE). Yes, it tends to cost more., but proper gear leads to fewer construction site injuries, which saves money. Part of the savings can go into PPE.
The companies with the lowest rate of safety incidents have two other things in common besides providing regular safety training. They emphasize the importance of high-quality PPE and educating employees on which PPE is required for each task.
4. Add Construction Site Security
One option for construction site security to help reduce theft is remote video surveillance. Not only can it help deter thrift, remote video surveillance can also spot potential safety problems.
Live video monitoring technology eliminates the need for on-site security guards patrolling at night. Taking security guards out of the equation helps decrease construction site injuries. What's more, the technology costs a fraction of what it would cost to hire security guards.