As contractors take on their daily duties — from procuring materials to renting equipment to overseeing supply shipments, hiring subcontractors, and more — there’s always one thing festering in the back of their minds: worker safety.
Worker safety is a well-worn topic in the construction industry, but that doesn’t take away from its immediate relevance in the shadow of a shrinking pool of skilled laborers and a problematic shortage of new hires entering the workforce. Keeping your workers safe is integral to finishing projects on-time and maximizing your profitability. When your employees are sidelined by avoidable injuries, it only hurts your bottom line. One way to minimize the number of injuries taking place on your project sites is to become more vocal about safety. Even if your workers roll their eyes at the idea of another toolbox talk covering project site safety, practice makes perfect and repetition leads to results.
In this two-part series, the Chattanooga contractor attorneys at Cotney Construction Law will discuss strategies contractors can employ to vocalize their concerns about safety and leave a lasting impression on their workforce.
Encourage Workers to Seek Help
If you want to be more vocal about safety on the project site, you must first encourage all of your workers to speak up about their personal experiences. Workers may fail to report an injury if they feel like they will be viewed as weak for not coping independently, so it’s imperative to express the importance of reporting any incident, especially those involving head injuries. The phenomenon of unreported injuries in construction most closely mirrors unreported injuries in sports.
For example, players who bounce back after taking a crushing hit in a football game are viewed as tough because they ignored the pain to continue their work on the field. On the other hand, a player who is removed from play after such a hit may be deemed less resilient or even weak by comparison. Over time, it has been proven that the players who take more hits without being treated for a possible injury are more likely to develop serious health issues later in life. Similarly, players who don’t allow themselves to recover fully are often limited by their injury and can’t perform at the highest possible level. On the project site, it’s dangerous to allow your employees to embrace this type of philosophy.
Display Safety Posters
There are many safety posters that can be displayed to remind workers about the many dangers inherent to the project site. These include:
- Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law
- Personal Protective Equipment Instructional Chart
- Fall Prevention
- Fall Prevention: 2019 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction
- Heat Illness: Stopping for Water Keeps You Going
- Process Safety Management Depends on You!
You can find these posters on a variety of websites including the official Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) site and other third-party sites. If a particular problem is transpiring on your project sites, seek out the right poster to help inform your employees about how to stay safe.
For more information about how you can be more vocal about safety on the project site, read part two.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.