Four Tips for New Employee Safety on Construction Sites
January 30, 2018
Construction is often cited as one of the most dangerous industries in the country. According to the Reports of Fatalities and Catastrophes Archive from the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 200 construction workers died on the job in less than four months in 2017. A great deal of these injuries were the result of on-site hazards related to heavy machinery, scaffolding and contact with equipment that often requires extensive safety training.
Unfortunately, employees who are still acclimating to the job site and project-specific safety procedures are more likely to be injured at work. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of the injuries and illnesses experienced within the construction industry occurred within the worker’s first year of employment.
To help reduce the increased risk of injury for recently-hired or less experienced employees, construction companies can consider implementing the below strategies to ensure their workers and jobsites are as safe as possible.
- Colored hard hats: While different colored hard hats are traditionally utilized to identify various project teams such as road crews or supervisors, it is also a good practice for site safety that new or temporary employees wear specific colored hard hats. This allows these workers to be easily identified by all team members who can then pay special attention to their whereabouts, ensure they are following proper safety guidelines and help to monitor their responsibilities.
- Mentor programs: One of the most efficient ways to instill workplace safety habits in new employees is through mentorship programs. Pairing new workers with those who have superb safety practices can help to teach the recently-hired employees about the proper policies and procedures, while also allowing them to benefit from the knowledge of an experienced colleague. For employees new to the construction sector, this mentor/mentee relationship can be especially helpful.
- Diverse training: Because individuals naturally absorb information at different paces and through various learning methods, a comprehensive safety training program should incorporate a variety of teaching tactics. For example, classroom instruction combined with real-life practice or simulated training software can be utilized.
- Stop-work procedures: Stop work orders are designed to suspend operations when there is a perceived threat on the jobsite. All employees should be taught to recognize when an unsafe behavior or dangerous condition is identified and should be encouraged to speak up when such behavior or condition presents itself. For stop-work procedures to be beneficial, it is up to management to promote the program and make sure employees know it can be used without repercussions.
By implementing the above guidelines, construction companies can be rest assured that they are taking the appropriate steps to ensure their less experienced workers, along with more tenured employees, fully understand all project safety measures and know how to transfer this knowledge into actionable precautions. Consulting your insurance broker as a trusted partner can also help to identify solutions that are tailored to your specific operational risks, helping to reduce the probability of an accident.
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