10 Critical Steps for Construction Firms to Improve Workplace Safety

October 27, 20158:19 am837 views

A growing influx of new and inexperienced workers is contributing to an increase in the number of construction fatalities worldwide, thus creating higher need for workplace safety.

The safety recommendations below include requiring every worker on a project to complete a safety orientation session, providing workers with easy-to-read ID tags that identify their level of safety training, while allowing workers the right on “Stop Work” cards they can issue to halt activity on a project when they spot safety hazards.

Other measures include holding monthly employee-led safety training lunch and learn sessions and providing specific training in response to all safety incidents that occur on a job site. One reason for the increase in construction fatalities is that many firms are struggling to find enough qualified workers to fill available positions amid growing demand for construction services.

The 10 critical steps to be taken by managers of construction firms to improve workplace safety are:

  1. Establish a buddy system for all new hires

During orientation session, assign experienced workers to serve as a new hire’s safety sponsor. After 30 days the sponsor and supervisor evaluate new hire’s application of training and understanding of how to perform assigned tasks safely.

  1. Need to hold safety orientation sessions for all new hires

The safety orientation session requires that every new hire – whether full time, permanent, part time, temporary, and/or labour-firm staff, to complete a safety orientation system before being allowed to work on a project. This orientation should be separate and independent from the general administrative orientation. The orientation should include interactive hazard recognition and group discussion on controls.

  1. Ongoing Training

Regular training programs helps to ensure managers and supervisors have the appropriate leadership and effective communication skills critical to instil safety culture and concepts into the workforce.

All personnel in supervisory or managerial positions shall complete initial management training so they can learn effective leadership and communication skills. This training and continuing leadership education should be an essential element of individual development plans for those in leadership position.

  1. You should create two separate pre-task hazard analysis training programs

Training programs – one for the crew and one specifically designed for 1st line supervision. These programs will train supervisors to effectively fulfil their obligation and help workers operate safely.

  1. Hold monthly “Lunch and Learn” safety training programs

You can organise monthly safety lunch and learn initiatives to include 30-minute presentation from safety experts and workers can learn from their peers during such collaborative sessions.

See: Construction boom affecting worker safety

  1. All Foremen and/or Superintendents to attend Leadership in Safety Excellence certification Courses

Project leaders such as foremen and superintendents are critical to the success of the day-to-day performance and implementation of a company’s safety program. Providing these leaders with the necessary skills to effectively communicate the mission is the key to success.


  1. Hold Targeted Safety Training to Address All Safety Incidents

Identify safety hazards, incidents and details to quickly follow up by communicating targeted messages designed to address specific safety hazards involved to avoid similar future incidents. The message can be communicated in bulletins, e-mail, team meetings, formal training, or other appropriate forums.

  1. You need to make sure that all training materials are in the language of the entire workforce

Workforces may include workers with limited English skills. Offer safety training in English and other languages as the need arises, to ensure clear understanding by all workers.

  1. Train Your Trainers

Training others requires effective communication and training skills. You can provide “train the trainer” instruction to all personnel responsible for training others. Training the trainer will improve the effectiveness of the safety training provided.

Retaining “science of teaching” consultants to train the trainers on basic instructional skills and/or retained to develop a program implemented in-house can greatly improve the train the trainer programs.

  1. Authorize all workers to issue “Stop Work Cards” to address safety risk

You must issue every worker with a “Stop Work Card” and instruct them that they can use their cards to temporarily halt construction activity on a project if they identify a legitimate safety hazard. Make it clear to all workers that there are no repercussions for using the “Stop Work Cards.”

News source: agc.org

Also read: Companies urged to take ownership of workplace safety

Image credits: flickr.com and wikimedia.org

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