Occupational health and safety incidents are costly, inconvenient and counter-productive on any work site but particularly so for construction sites because they usually have to abide by very strict deadlines. Companies that neglect OH&S are also liable for huge fines, which can sometimes be bankrupting to a business.
The best construction site OHS risk management plans identify existing known hazards, measure and rank themand outline simple and practical control measures.
These are the most important aspects of developing and implementing a safety plan on a building site:
Communication: Communication between workers and employers needs to be two-way. Employers need to effectively communicate to workers regarding hazards, risks associated with the hazards and the control measures in place to overcome hazards. Written and verbal communication to employees should be comprehensive and in a language they understand, especially if they are migrant workers whose first language isn’t necessarily English.
Because workers are on ground level, and are continuously coming into contact with various hazards they can provide valuable information and guidance to employers with regards to safety measures. Also because they are the ones encountering safety precautions, they are the best to use to evaluate safety systems set in place. Employers need to listen to workers and consult with them on safety issues. Information should be provided to workers regarding new safety issues that may arise.
Reporting Incidents and Near Misses: The importance of near miss reporting, as well as the important role supervisors play in encouraging workers to report near misses, is something that most companies understand, but most struggle with implementing this in practice. Reporting near misses engages the workforce in safety problem solving. Because workers are the ones on the ground, daily dealing with workplace issues it is best to consult them about safety issues.
This will also reinforce a worker’s self-esteem and confidence in their employer, resulting in job satisfaction. Communication on a site is one of the best ways to educate and inform workers about safety and relay worker concerns to management so that they can be addressed. Reporting near misses enables companies to actively address any hazards before a tragic or even more costly incident occurs. By so doing companies can address safety issues that are particularly problematic.
Ensure all Employees are Trained: The White Card is the general construction safety certificate which is mandatory for work in the construction sector and is an important part combatting high injury and fatality rates. This training is aimed at teaching workers the hazards and control measures common in the construction sector.
Because this White Card Training is a basic safety training course, covering the most common hazards on the construction site, employees will have to also undergo site specific training, designed and provided by the employer. Site specific training will incorporate all the hazards unique to the site as well as the specific control measures designed to handle these handles. This training also includes important information such as emergency escape routes and emergency procedures.