On-site job safety not only protects workers and the companies they work for, but when done efficiently, it can also be a huge cost saver and give everyone’s productivity a boost. On-the-job accidents, employees taking leave due to injuries, and worksite fines can all have a negative impact on a project’s budget and timeline.
This is why safety and productivity often go hand-in-hand, and educating your team about safety and ensuring a safe work environment can significantly increase each member’s productivity. Here are some on-site safety measures each team should take and the positive effect they can have to increase productivity for homebuilders.
Performing A Thorough Induction
Never skip performing an induction for each site you are working on. Each site changes day by day and different tasks need to be performed at different times. You must cover all important safety factors for a site, like where to park, where to check-in for work, how to handle equipment and materials, and what issues there might be with hazardous waste, electrical, and water.
Covering all these topics is essential and it’s important to stress safety first. When the entire team has a clear understanding of how the site is going to operate, it’s easier to work your way through the different stages of a build. Confusion, misunderstandings, and unclear instructions can slow down even the smallest tasks, and these delays can compound into much bigger problems.
Having Strong On-Site Security
On-site security can save you in many ways. For example, you won’t have people wandering onto the site while you're not working and you won’t have equipment and materials stolen during off-hours. Using simple fencing and some security cameras, or even hiring a security guard is all money well spent.
Having a shed or utility trailer that you can lock your tools up in is an advisable way to keep tools from attracting thieves, too. You may even be responsible for injuries that occur by someone intending to steal from you if your site isn't secure. It’s important to maximize efficiency and safety while the team is on-site, but it’s also essential to protect the site when nobody is there.
Mike Holmes’ Tip
The Make It Right crew works on multiple jobs at the same time, so it is very important to us that when we leave a job site, it is secure. Recently, we have been installing smart locks on all of our sites. We give each person entering our site their own unique access code, so we know when they are entering and leaving our site. I would even recommend homeowners installing smart locks on their front doors for added security, and to monitor kids, baby sitters, dogwalkers etc coming and going.
Using Protective Gear At All Times
Requiring protective gear at all times is a given from a safety standpoint, but it can also have a huge impact in terms of productivity. Be it a hard hat in areas with the potential for overhead damage or steel-toe shoes where heavy drops are probable, every area on a site requires some form of protective equipment. Not all protective equipment is right in every area though, and using the wrong equipment can slow down an employee.
If you are in the cab of a bobcat, you wouldn't immediately need goggles or steel-toe shoes. If you are on scaffolding or the roof, you need a harness and safety line, but that wouldn't be necessary for the guy in the basement installing the sewer line. Making clear what equipment is required in each area by using proper training and signage can make the most of everyone’s time on the site.
Going Through Proper Safety Training
Be sure that every member of your team goes through a well-designed training program and knows how to use all equipment for their area correctly. For example, if you have someone that will be doing a lot of work on a ladder, make sure they understand how to properly place the ladder with the bottom out far enough to cover the height they are reaching. The members using power tools need to check cords daily, as they can become damaged and cause electrical shocks or even fires. It’s also essential to keep an eye out for signs of burnout.
Ensuring that all workers on the site know how to inspect and use their equipment properly is a must. These safety measures may take a bit longer to get started; however, when these measures are taken, you can save costs in injuries and increase productivity as things will run better through the day. By inspecting equipment and creating an effective safety training program, you can prevent issues and disruptions before they actually occur.
Keeping The Site Clean
Understanding that all construction sites will get debris around is no excuse for leaving it uncleaned. Once you have finished with a particular job on the site, you need to clean the area before moving on to the next project. Uncleaned items may cause tripping or cuts, and even puncture wounds in some more serious cases. These injuries can actually end up being severe and are entirely unnecessary, as a bit of cleaning between job tasks can go a long way toward preventing them.
There should be a designated area for scrap debris, and it should be moved there as soon as possible. Take special care in keeping areas of access and escape clear of debris. Outside of the dangers of scattered debris, making employees navigate around debris can cause frustration and ultimately slow them down.
Visitors must be required to follow all safety protocols of the site. It is very urgent that you not be lax in this area, even if it is someone familiar with the site, like the property owner. Having a clear and established protocol for visitors on the site can protect their safety and the safety of all workers. It can also ensure ongoing projects run smoothly without unnecessary interruptions.
Visitors can easily distract a team from their task at hand, and making sure everyone is on the same page can reduce these distractions. Ensuring that all visitors are supervised at all times and are guided to the appropriate areas of a site ultimately protects everyone’s well-being and allows the project to keep moving forward.
Safety and Productivity Go Hand in Hand
It’s all too easy to forget the cost of an unsafe site until it’s too late. It’s often the little things that are overlooked or ignored. These little things are also some of the most costly when added up though. It can only take a few of what seems like minor injuries on a site to throw the entire project off schedule and off-budget. Understanding how safety and productivity are related can maximize efficiency and profitability for all your projects.