Easy OHS

Construction Safety Management

Friday, May 29, 2009

Construction safety management is a difficult and often dangerous affair.  Over the years we have made a number of observations about key aspects of running a safe and productive construction site.  Here are some of the rules that you should keep in mind....

1)  Attitude:  The attitude of the project manager, the construction manager, the safety officer and leading hands are paramount in ensuring a safe place of work.  Set the safety benchmark high right from the start of the job and keep it there.

2)  A professional induction process:  Make sure that you have a professional safety induction process and that it runs like a well oiled machine.  If the safety induction is a joke, that is the first impression the workers will get, and that impression will endure.

3)  Establish traffic and safe access/egress early:  Designate various work areas and ensure that they are well fenced, barricaded and sign posted.  If the worksite is uncontrolled accidents will follow soon after. 

4)  Drugs and Alcohol: Have a rigorous regime for random, and blanket drug and alcohol testing.  There are no second chances when it comes to heavy machinery.  Someone intoxicated on a worksite is like having an eight year old walking around with a loaded shotgun.

5)  Pre-start:  The project, construction and safety officer should plan the next days activities and announcements the evening before the pre-start.  Clear, concise instructions and relevant safety issues should be part of all pre-start meetings. 

6)  Safe Work Procedures:  Ensure you have developed good safe work procedures in consultation with your team. If you involve workers, leading hands and other key persons in developing or reviewing procedures it will provide a level of ownership.  For high risk construction work, procedures should be reviewed and signed onto DAILY.  Have a box at the worksite where the procedures and kept for easy referral and checking if needed.

7)  Cranes and Lifting:  Diligently enforce no go zones under suspended loads and warnings that a lift is in progress. Ensure that the communications system between the crane operator and his dogman are durable high quality radios and not a $20 set of walkie talkies from the local super store. 

8) Stores and PPE:  A good storeman is worth his weight in gold.  Ensure that he has a neat, clean storage area and that there is plenty of PPE available for the job.  Also ensure he has the tools to manage chemicals and dangerous goods that are on site. 

9) Waste disposal: If you don't supply enough bins and if they are not well labelled (ie: steel only, general waste) you will have a mess very quickly.  A messy worksite leads to accidents and by having bins available and 20 minutes each day at the end of a job to clean up you can save time and reduce accident potential.

10) Reward effort:  When the team has pride in their worksite and job, it will reflect by a neat, clean, well controlled and safe worksite.  If you can get to this point, it is nice to let the team know you are proud of their efforts.  Have a BBQ or a special lunch ordered and make a point of letting people know.  It will pay dividends.  

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