No matter how well a construction job is executed, being able to complete a project safely is what ultimately matters most. Having a thorough construction safety plan in place will give your team the direction to protect everyone on the job site and reassure the client that your company is capable of limiting hazards and responding to emergencies.
According to NIH, injury rates in construction are 71% higher than injury rates across all industries on average. Construction can be much riskier than other types of work, so teams must create thorough construction safety plans and provide training for operating heavy equipment to ensure the wellbeing of all employees.
What Is A Construction Safety Plan?
Writing a safety plan involves planning, but once it’s put together, your team will have a solid plan should any emergencies arise. Simply following an outline or template can help you speed up the process. Here are a few elements that are usually included in safety plans:
- Policy or goals statement
- List of responsible persons
- Safety and emergency contact information
- Description of site condition and location
- Description of the project scope
- Hazard Identification
- Hazard controls and safe practices
After adding these elements to your safety plan, incorporate the tips below to help you craft a complete blueprint for keeping your workers and community safe.
1. Allow Flexibility And Adaptability
Safety plans should be flexible and adaptable so teams can use them across multiple projects. Since construction is a dynamic industry with high volatility in terms of hazards and working conditions, it is even more crucial to have a safety plan that adapts to every type of project.
For example, a general safety plan usually includes details of who to contact and what actions to take during an accident. On the other hand, in a site-specific safety plan, safety protocols are individualized and catered directly to each specific construction project.
2. Require Personal Protective Equipment
To show clients that your company is fully committed to the safety of all employees, make sure to include a list of personal protective equipment (PPE) issued to each employee in your safety plan. Some examples of PPE include hard hats, eyewear, face masks, and earmuffs. Emphasize that each employee is responsible for and well-trained in the proper use and care of his or her safety equipment.
3. Detail Construction Site Rules
For instance, a common safety hazard on construction sites is smoking in undesignated areas. Even though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no regulations that specifically address smoking areas on construction sites, ensuring a hazard-free workplace should still be the utmost priority of all employers.
4. Clarify Roles of Each Employee
Every employee plays an important part in the success of a safety plan. Therefore, all construction workers and subcontractors should have a clear understanding of their job descriptions and responsibilities before the start of a project.
In a safety plan, employers should also document the proper steps of actions each employee should take in the event of an emergency, and ensure that each employee is familiar with their duties.
5. Establish Protocols To Mitigate Risk
One of the main purposes of a safety plan is to demonstrate the company’s protocols for risk management and workplace safety. Employers should include guidelines and protocols in their plans such as operating procedures for heavy equipment and excavation safety measures to avoid accidents.
When risks become a reality, not only can construction projects become delayed, but employees can suffer from detrimental injuries. To avoid these disasters, make sure to implement safety protocols across all sites.
6. Take Weather Conditions Into Account
Since the majority of construction projects are outdoors, weather conditions are another element to take into account when creating your plan. Since the weather can not be controlled or manipulated, ensure that each construction site has a preparedness plan for hazardous weather conditions, from severe cold to extreme heat.
Start by evaluating site-specific risks in the case of a severe weather event. Then, customize your safety plan according to the types of extreme weather you may encounter in your area.
7. List Emergency Contact Information
A well-designed construction safety plan ensures that all personnel on-site can take quick and effective action to resolve any emergency. One of the best ways to reduce emergency response time is by designating one or more emergency contact persons in the safety plan.
This list of emergency contacts should include both internal and external contacts. Not only site supervisors and property managers, but also emergency support services such as the fire department, paramedics, and the police.
Site-Specific Construction Safety Plan Template
A well-designed safety plan is indispensable in construction projects to safeguard the well-being of all employees and community members. An effective plan allows employers to identify hazards, take preventative measures, and acquire appropriate PPE before the outset of a project. Here is a simple template to help you get started:
Regardless of the size of a construction project, your company should always implement a site-specific safety plan to prepare for unforeseen events. Once a safety plan is established, both you and your employees can carry out job activities knowing that your interests are being protected.