Safety Essentials for Active Construction Sites

In an ever-changing construction site, there are many variables to consider as far as safety management issues go. There are many risks inherent to the industry of construction, and these are difficult to manage, since the work itself is so fluid. The construction industry is considered one of the most dangerous in which to work. In the last several decades, several regulations have become standard for these sites, making them safer than ever. The generalized risk is not only to the workers, but to passersby as well as people within the general area of the site (in the case of environmental pollution).

Machinery

Heavy equipment is the lifeblood of most active construction sites. However, these machines can and do malfunction, which can cause injuries or fatalities. The first line of defense against injuries caused by equipment is clearly maintenance and training. Both of these in conjunction can go a long way to prevent heavy equipment failure.

Signage

Believe it or not, one of this biggest reminders of safety comes in the form of a warning sign. While there are those who will ignore signs posted around construction sites (these are the same people who need the “Coffee is hot” printed on cups), for the vast number of individuals, signage is followed.

Proper safety clothing and accessories

Wearing the proper clothing, as well as head, foot, eye, lung and ear protection has increased and is mandatory on most construction sites to meet regulations set forth by OSHA. In fact, regulations require that employers pay for all PPE (personal protection equipment) when needed on any construction job.

Barriers

The proper fencing keeps the public out of dangerous sites. Many construction accidents involving the public occur when untrained people are on a site and cause an event or chain of events that cascades into a disaster. Fences are also used in the case of a drainage ditch or silt collection pit to prevent accidental drowning in deeper water.

The general public is usually unaware of the guidelines needed to ensure construction site safety. However, reports of suspected and blatant violations can go a long way toward continuing to improve safety on construction sites and to protect the workers, neighbors and the environmental landscape around the active construction site. These reports can be made to the management of the company first. IF these reports do not improve the situation, a complaint can be filed with either the City or County or with OSHA.

Construction Site Safety Checklist

“What to wear” checklist:

• Wear Safety Glasses or Face Shields, whichever suits better, to protect your eyes from harmful exposures like dust, chemicals, flying particles, smokes and what not – especially if your job involves welding, cutting, grinding, nailing, concreting and chemical-related works.

• Use proper boots – insulated, water and skid proof – whatever protects you best. The right footwear protects you from skidding, crushing your feet, and being electrocuted.

• Gloves are essential to safely deal with sharp objects and toxic substances. Put on those that are fit and right – welding gloves for welding, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, and insulated gloves and sleeves should work exposes you to electrical hazards.

• Injury to the head is one of the most dangerous fatalities and one must wear a proper hard hat to avoid it. Do a regular check for dents or deterioration and replace it as soon as you find any.

Scaffolding checklist:

• Do a daily check on scaffolding to ensure its steady and solid with high weight capacity. Report to seniors and get it corrected if its damaged or weakened in any way.

• Never use uneven surface and unsteady objects – loose bricks, barrels or concrete boxes – as base for scaffolding.

• Avoid using scaffolding in bad weather: be it rain, snow or hailstorm.

Electric safety checklist:

• Check all electrical tools and equipment regularly for defects and wear and tear. Replace the ones that are faulty in any way.

• Only qualified and designated operators must have access to electrical equipment.

• Keep construction materials, workers and equipment at least 10-feet away from electrical power lines.

• Use double insulated electrical equipment. Ground them if they are not. Refrain from using Multiple plug adapters; it’s dangerous!

Hazard communication:

• Workers must be notified about dangerous areas and stuffs by marking them as such – put up posters, signage and barricades whatever is required. Heavy electric equipment, suspended loads, toxic chemicals, wet and slippery patches etc. are few such hazards that must be marked.

Crane, hoist and rigging equipment safety checklist:

• Barricade/swing areas within the crane’s swing radius.

• See to it that load and speed limit is never exceed.

• Conduct daily safety and maintenance inspection for crane machinery and other rigging equipment before they are put to use.

• Only properly trained and qualified operators should have access to cranes, hoisting and rigging equipment.

• Keep these machines well away from electric equipment and power lines.

There is another checklist I have saved for the last: verifying that every entrant to the site – worker or visitor – carries a valid CSCS Card. This is a great way to cut down on fatalities especially those resulting from lack of knowledge or attention. Have workers without proper CSCS Cards? Get them proper cards by booking a CSCS Test online.

Why Should You Hire A Construction Consultant?

As you are probably aware of, construction is a long and complex process with the difficulty level and risk of failure increasing as the job gets bigger. As the construction manager, it is your responsibility to oversee every aspect of the project from planning to eventual turnover, and to ensure that the project goes smoothly. Your job is a particularly crucial one, and even small mistakes can be costly.

A construction consultant can be crucial to your operations, providing essential services that will make the project go smoothly and reduce costly mistakes. Among some of the services that construction consultants are routinely expected to provide are:

• Project planning

• Quality management

• Construction safety

A commercial construction project of any size will require thorough planning. By having a solid plan in place, you will greatly increase the likelihood of getting the results you want while reducing the risk of costly errors or safety issues. It would be helpful to hire a construction consultant at the very start of the planning process. Most such professionals are trained engineers, and they will be able to help you come up with a construction plan that meets your specifications and fits into your budget. This is an especially important concern, since most construction projects have very strict budget constraints.

Aside from budget concerns, quality is another important factor. As the construction manager, you will have to ensure the integrity and durability of the structure. It is especially important to pinpoint problem areas as early in the construction project as possible, as they can be costly and even life-threatening when left undetected. A construction consultant can be helpful throughout every stage of the construction process, identifying potential problem areas and suggesting possible solutions.

Safety assurance is another area where construction consultants can be invaluable. In any construction project, there is always a high degree of risk which again increases with the size and complexity of the project. By working with a construction consultant experienced in the various aspects of risk management, you will help ensure the safety of the construction personnel and everyone involved in the project.

A construction consultant is a highly specialized professional who is well-versed with various aspects of the construction business. Although the costs of hiring such a professional may seem superfluous and unnecessary if you already have a considerable number of projects under your belt, don’t neglect the benefits that such a professional can provide.

7 Ways Construction Firms Can Hire and Retain Quality Tradesmen

Whether you are a construction recruitment agency or a construction firm itself looking to hire the best of talent industry has to offer, here are a few important tips to help you in this quest.

Hire in the off season:

Conventional wisdom has it that you must never go grocery shopping while you are hungry. You tend to buy whatever you get at the earliest and that’s almost never a good bargain. The same is true for hiring tradesmen when you need them.

So the best time to look for a tradesman is when you don’t require one. It will help you scan wide range of talents, be more selective, and acquire the kind of worker you exactly want. As an added piece of advice, aim for the off-season when many construction workers are out of work and you might get a bargain.

Pay the market rate:

When you pay peanuts, you get only monkey! Firms who pay below-market wages not only have the least-qualified and least-productive employees, but they are also the ones always in need of new workers. Why? Because competitive tradesmen will leave you the moment they get more lucrative opportunities. Do I need to tell you what a dent it makes to overall productivity?

Provide a safe work environment:

Don’t underestimate the value of a safe and healthy workplace in retaining workforce. Too many workers falling sick on site might force others to look for a safer option. A major accident on site and the resultant bad press might turn away potential hires.

Develop a great work culture:

There is something more than a good salary a qualified and talented tradesman look forward to. Bonuses, paid leaves, company outings, work-life balance, and retirement programs are some of the perks that entice the best of talents. The more people want to work for your company, the easier it will be to attract (and retain) quality people.

Invest in your workforce:

I haven’t met a tradesman who doesn’t like adding on new skills or getting a pat on the back for a job well done. So it’s a good idea to invest in your workforce. When you provide them a chance to learn, grow and develop they can help your company do the same. Training improves the efficiency of the workers and quality of the output. This is also a great way to identify the people with potential to take on bigger roles within the company.

Be in step with time and technology:

Embracing technology not only makes the company more efficient and productive but it also attracts younger and tech-savvy workforce. You can also publicize it as your USP to entice people buying your product or services.

Character can pay more dividend than the skill-set of a hire:

Characters can’t be built, skills can be. People with character can make the most of the training you give them. Such workers are more likely to stick with you in bad times as compared to those with only skills and potential.

Tips for New Residential Construction

The process to entitle lots can take more than five years and is expensive. The cost of parcel maps for five lots or less is $100,000. Tract maps for more than five lots can cost more than $500,000. The number of lots and the potential size are determined by biology, health-department regulations, slope, and the zoning and general plan. Included in the cost are engineering, processing, and regulatory fees and various reports and studies.

Reports and studies include conditions of approval costs, storm-water treatment, anthropology and archeology, soils, biology, noise, and traffic. When a map is approved and recorded, there are additional fees that include, but are not limited to the following:

• Potential greenhouse gas studies

• Retention and drainage basins

• On- and off-site mitigation land

• School fees

• Parks and recreation fees

• Physical secondary access

• Fire fees

• Annual bonding fees.

Politics comes into play when obtaining the required approvals from county boards, city councils, and planning commissions. The level of public opposition or support affects hearings completion. They can be completed in as little as four months, or take years and cost over a million dollars. Property owners have three courses of action to take into consideration.

1. Entitlement and sale of the property ‘as is’ – This option brings the lowest price, but costs the least and requires the shortest time for property disposal. Under rare circumstances, the land is worth more when it is unentitled.

2. Enter into a long-term agreement – The agreement is made with a home builder who incurs the expenses of processing a tract map. This option is the most utilized. The process could take up to five years. The buyer is required to release nonrefundable deposits periodically to the seller after approving their contingencies. Escrow closing typically occurs after tentative or final map approval.

3. The owner incurs the entitlement costs – Much of the process is like option two. The difference is the owner has full control of the mapping process and bears all expenses.

The ramifications of each choice should be weighed carefully before making a decision. Owners, who have chosen not to seek advice, have made the decision to process a map and found out later the number of lots was not financially feasible. A competent engineer can determine the optimal number of lots that can be obtained and approved. Smart growth design principals call for buildings with a variety of materials, texture, and color and individuality; well-defined open space; a building and street relationship; mixed uses; and high-density development. Contractors, who specialize in residential subdivisions, can give realistic cost estimations.

The process of entitling residential property to higher densities is costly, complex, and cumbersome. Many factors must be taken into consideration. The leading concerns that communities have about increased density are the quality of life and increased costs.

There is a need for new affordable housing to reduce recent overpayment and overcrowding. There is also a need for high-density housing that supports economic recovery, accommodates new workers and their loved ones, and economizes the costs of infrastructure. It is quite a balancing act. Open spaces need to be conserved and the distance between new jobs and new homes reduced.