Overlooked Jobsite Safety: It's Time to Stop and Think Things Through!
If you get a little too comfortable with your jobsite safety, follow these three tips.
No matter what line of work you’re in, there are a few basic principles of safety that always seems to get overlooked. It’s never on purpose. People don’t wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll create a dangerous safety hazard for my crew to deal with today.” Unless you’re a villain from some superhero movie, then your job is to hatch evil plans all day. We get it.
Chances are that safety managers and supervisors think they’re taking every safety precaution they can. There’s a problem with this kind of thinking. The second you feel like all the bases are covered is the exact moment when things get messy.
Here are a few tips to remember every time you get a little too comfortable on the jobsite.
1. Evaluate Your Jobsite Often
Jobsites are never static. That means that yesterday’s jobsite doesn’t need the same safety precautions that today’s site will, or even tomorrow’s. Heck, some days the jobsite may look completely different after lunch than it did first thing in the morning. If you want your crew to be safe, you have to account for these changes – sometimes on an hourly basis.
Want a few examples?
Think about a construction site – the foundation and subfloor is laid, the wall studs are up, and you’re just laying the joists for the second floor. Well, it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the second floor just added a few more safety concerns to the list. Now, you need to worry about opening in the floors and walls, because falling to a lower level is probably not on your workers’ to-do list. Hopefully, you planned for this and have fall protection procedures in place. Or man, that’s just gonna cost you time and money to think about now.
Still not convinced? Ok. What about the electrician that just ran some wire while the drywall crew was on lunch? Now it’s live. Do you have a plan for communicating that to the rest of the workers?
This is why it’s important to regularly evaluate your site for safety risks. Each stage of a project is going to have unique risks that you need to account for. It’s never set-it-and-forget-it. And, you gotta make sure there’s a plan for how that information is going to be documented and communicated to your workers, guests, and subcontractors.
2. Address the Hazards You See
Here’s where I’m going to tell you that you need to have a plan addressing hazards you spot during your site assessments. You’re probably thinking that’s common sense. Well, the reason why it’s so overlooked goes back to the fact that jobsites are always changing. Even if you are the safety king or queen of your industry, there’s always something that can be missed.
The easiest way to make sure that nothing gets missed is to have documented procedures. Whether you eliminate risks completely (which isn’t always practical), you use engineering controls to protect workers, or you provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) – you need to have a plan.
By having clear and documented steps to follow when addressing hazards you can feel pretty good about your jobsite safety.
3. Stay Up-to-Date on Regulation Changes
This is where a lot of safety programs fall short. And it’s not only compliance issues and fines that you need to worry about. If you don’t know the recent safety changes in your industry, you’re risking much, much more. Over the past few years there have been several updates that impact worker safety and employer responsibility. So, keep your eyes peeled and your head on a swivel when it comes to researching safety information that relates to your industry.
Here are just a few recent regulation updates:
- Silica – OSHA rolled out a final rule on respirable crystalline silica in 2016. The rule will better protect workers from some of the dangerous particles they encounter everyday. It addressed the common industries that respirable silica is found: Construction, General Industry, and Maritime.
- Confined Space – We know confined spaces can be one of the deadliest places a worker can encounter. It’s even deadlier when workers aren’t protected with the right safety equipment. Make sure you're up to speed on the recent updates that joined the construction standard 29 CFR Subpart AA 1926.1200 with the existing general industry standard 29 CFR 1910.146.
- Walking Working Surfaces – In early 2017, OSHA made changes to CFR 1910 Subpart D that helps create consistency across both general and construction industry. The updates include changes to rules concerning rope descent systems, ladders, stairways, dockboards, scaffolding, training, and inspection.
So, let’s just say you aren’t an evil villain scheming to take over the world. These are some handy tips to remember when it comes to job site safety. Am I right?
The thing to remember is that no matter what the jobsite is – factory, construction site, refinery, or mechanic shop – it’s rarely static. And those daily or hourly changes can create unique safety risks. Just take a minute and think things through. Assess and reassess the risks, address the hazards, document, communicate and just stay informed. And ask for help when you get lost. That’s all there is to it.
More from AD Safety Network
- When should you consider using custom molded earplugs?
- At what height do falls become deadly?
- Who should be responsible for rescuing fallen workers?
- What kind of training do loading dock workers need?
- How often should I inspect a loading dock?
- How is wind chill calculated?
- What is the difference between occupational safety and process safety?
- Why should rubber insulating gloves be tested?
- What happens if I tie off at the foot level with a personal SRL?
- Why is testing with a NAIL4PET accredited lab important?
- What kind of face protection do I need when using a chainsaw?
- What is the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica?
- What is silica and why is it hazardous?
- What is 'Table 1' and why is it so important?
- Video Q&A - What is a safety policy?
- What kind of fire extinguisher is best for your work site?
- How do I choose the right respirator and mask for working with silica?
- Can I wear fall protection equipment over my rainwear or winter gear?
- When do I need a cage ladder?
- What types of gloves protect your hands from hazardous chemicals?
- How come I still got hurt while wearing flame-resistant clothing?
- What dangers do workers face when working outside in the winter?
- How do I win over my most reluctant employees?
- What kinds of jobs should use disposable safety gloves?
- Is it true that safety shouldn't be a top priority?
- When are employers allowed to conduct drug and alcohol tests on their employees?
- How can I get employees more involved in the risk assessment plan?
- What are some of the indirect costs of workplace accidents?
- How often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected?
- What is the best way to store rubber safety gloves?
- How much voltage protection is needed for safety gloves used in electrical work?
- What is the difference between a safety valve and a release valve?
- When do workers have the right to refuse to work?
- What is the most overlooked item when designing Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures?
- What are some of the misconceptions about heat stress and what should we do to address them?
- What tools should I tether when working at heights?
- What types of gas should I watch out for when working in a confined space?
- How do you create a culture of safety in your workplace?
- What is the difference between industrial safety and industrial hygiene?
- Is it important to get PPE assessments by trained professionals?
- What is a fault tree analysis?
- What kind of respirator cartridge should I use?
- What are the safety benefits of a whistleblower program?
- What type of safety record-keeping and recording should we be doing?
- What makes a hi-vis safety vest ANSI compliant?
- Why is it important to have air sampling done to determine my PELs?
- What is the life expectancy of fall protection equipment?
- What are some basic fall protection rules that each of my workers need to understand?
- How much clearance do I need to safely use a Leading Edge SRL?
- What is the difference between an acute hazard and a chronic hazard?
- What’s the difference between a bump test, a calibration check, and a full calibration?
- Is there any legislation regulating lone worker safety I should know about before hiring?
- What kind of fire extinguisher and accessories should be kept on hand on a factory floor?
- What can companies do to reduce their lost time injury frequency rates?
- Video Q&A - What's your safety network like?
- Video Q&A - What are the 3 levels of safety?
- Video Q&A - How do you treat a near miss?
- Does body weight affect falls differently?
- What ages are most affected by falls?
- Why do workers take risks?
- What Is the Difference Between OHSAS 18001 and 18002?
- What is the difference between lost time injury and medical treatment case?
- What is the difference between occupational health and safety and workplace health and safety?
- What is the difference between occupational health and occupational safety?
- What is the difference between a lost time injury and a disabling injury?