With the advent of larger jobs, more stringent requirements from insurance agencies, and tighter schedules, many companies have had to revisit their long-standing safety practices. In addition to having well-trained people, investing in equipment that keeps all crews safe and maintaining that equipment in proper working order is important. This may sound simple, but in the daily whirlwind of activity, it can easily be forgotten.
A key to success when choosing the right equipment for your projects is having a good relationship with your suppliers, since they can provide guidance. Pairing safe operating practices with the equipment is paramount. Daily inspection is crucial – checking your personal fall arrest systems, ensuring the stitching is intact, no cuts or burns are visible, the snap hook works, and more. These inspections may seem minor, but any of these little flaws can lead to serious injuries.
Not only is the safety of your workers important, but the safety of surrounding residents or pedestrians on certain jobsites should be taken into consideration. Using safety equipment such as sidewalk canopies for projects alongside walkways or major intersections can ensure people stay protected. In addition, project deliveries involving large trucks require a trained flagger to ensure both pedestrians and drivers are cautious.
Safety has to start at the top and be communicated throughout the organization. Taking a fresh look at safety – from people to equipment and equipment maintenance – can pay huge dividends in terms of keeping all team members healthy, as well as improving productivity.
To strengthen or revitalize your current safety program, here are a few tips for success:
- Talk with your insurance company and use your resources. With instruction representatives and other professionals available, they can provide the most up-to-date information on the latest equipment safety trends and accident data.
- Be in tune with your clients and what they are looking for on a job-to-job basis. What is important to them as far as your job-specific safety plans and expectations? What will help them make a decision to use you? These are the questions to ask that can help you develop a safety plan that works.
- Create a plan of action to involve your employees and improve your safety conversations. Keeping the communication lines open and listen as much as you teach – the message should go both ways!
James J. Dolente, Jr. is president of Madison Concrete Construction, Mavern, Pa.