In October of this year, OSHA issued a new Recommended Practices For Safety and Health Programs In Construction. This 40-page guide offers concise guidelines and best practice advice for companies in the construction industry seeking to establish and safety and health program in their business. This publication is best suited for small to medium sized construction companies — businesses of this size frequently lack a formal safety program and are the often times the most vulnerable financially to accidents incurred by workers on the job.
The guide addresses seven key elements to creating a successful safety program. Here’s an overview of what it covers:
- Management leadership — Like with anything in life, when those at the top make safety a priority, the culture that’s created inevitably moves down into all levels of the company. When it’s important to the boss, it becomes important to the workers.
- Worker participation — Involving workers in planning and implementation, and encouraging open communication with the leadership are both important to maintaining a successful safety program.
- Hazard identification and assessment — Locating and assessing safety hazards in the workplace is a must. You can’t address what you haven’t identified as a potential issue.
- Hazard prevention and control — Employees and management should work together to come up with a plan to identify and avoid common workplace hazards. Risks are mitigated using things like engineered solutions, personal protective equipment, etc.
- Education and training — Workers and management should receive training on safety concepts, worker rights to a safe workplace, and how to respond to safety concerns when they’re voiced.
- Program evaluation and improvement — The guide outlines a process of monitoring performance of the safety program to ensure it is being implemented according to plan, including talking with workers and management on how to improve. Strong safety programs should be in a constant state of improvement.
- Communication and coordination for employers on multi-employer work sites — Facilitate active communication of safety hazards as well as expected safety standards and expectations between general and subcontractors working on the same job site. Coordinate efforts to keep all workers safe regardless if workers are working for the general or subcontractors.
Creating and implementing a safety plan can seem daunting. But taking the time to create a plan, provide safety training to workers, and monitor its implementation will help provide the safe working environment your workers deserve in addition to helping to insulate your business from the financial risks associated with injuries on the job.
- OSHA’s quick start resource for getting started creating a safety and health program for your business
- OSHA’s dedicated webpage to support the implementation of safety and health programs for construction companies
- OSHA’s collection of Individual case studies highlighting success stories, best practices, and helpful lessons in setting up safety and health program for your business.
Are you ready to get started with establishing or updating the safety and health program for your construction business? If you’re looking for more detailed information or just have questions about safety training your employees, feel free to give us a call at 864.905.7835.