Simple Ways to Improve Construction Site Safety

Construction site safety is an all-important facet of the construction industry. It is important to ensure the safety of the workers and staff on the construction team, whether it is building a new structure or demolishing an old one. It is crucial that they are protected from hazardous and toxic wastes. Construction site safety also involves taking steps to prevent accidents, injuries, and falls.

Although construction sites can be dangerous places, and statistics certainly prove that, taking meticulous and disciplined steps to ensure safety can prevent a lot of problems that are common now.

Even if a construction worker is not exposed directly to any hazardous waste, he could be exposed to it indirectly as part of his job. Any danger to the worker would depend on the duration and extent of the exposure to the hazardous material.

The kinds of dangers and illnesses and injuries that workers are exposed to on construction sites would differ from industry to industry. For example, brick masons could be prone to developing cement dermatitis and postural changes due to the heavy loads they carry (as do stonemasons).

Electricians could be exposed to solder fumes which contain heavy metals or asbestos dust. Insulation workers could be exposed to asbestos and other synthetic fibers that are harmful. Roofers can be exposed to roofing tar and excess heat.

There are different hazards for which construction site safety must be taken seriously. There are chemical hazards and physical hazards. Chemical hazards occur due to inhalation of vapors, gases, fumes, etc. Examples of this are bronchitis, asbestosis, silicosis, etc. It can also occur when chemicals get into contact with the skin, as in contact dermatitis and skin allergies. Those exposed to liquids and solvents could get neurological disorders. This is especially common among painters. Physical hazards could be due to heavy loads, noise, extreme cold or heat or barometric pressures. There can also be exposure to UV rays and radiation from welding. Strains, sprains, musculoskeletal disorders, etc., are common physical side effects. Falls, injuries and accidents are also common in construction sites.

In summation, here are a number of ways in which safety can be enhanced in construction sites, including the following:

  • Wearing well-designed protective clothing.
  • Wearing suitable footwear that can protect against unstable footing or slips.
  • Safe scaffolding.
  • Proper ventilation in sites. These would have to be mobile so that they could be taken anywhere, such as dust collectors mounted on trucks with their own power source, filters and fans. Measures such as these can reduce the exposure to toxic fumes and other hazardous gases.
  • Using material that absorbs sounds or reflects it will help to prevent noise-induced hearing damage.
  • Exposure to extremes of heat can be avoided by working at night, taking frequent breaks, drinking plenty of water, wearing sunscreen and sun-protective clothing, etc.
  • Emergency drills, first aid provision, and standby medical teams on site can help to provide immediate aid in the event of an accident and potentially reduce fatalities.

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.