Implementing An Effective Worksite Safety Program

The entire North American construction industry has taken large and active steps in the last decade to promote safety on worksites. Following best practices while working on a project is a concept that requires proper implementation in order to be successful. A program that is not well-planned and consistently reinforced with workers will have a nominal impact on safety. Implementing an effective worksite safety program requires several steps.

Design is the first step in any worksite safety program. Design means taking the time to create an overall plan that affects every worker. This should include training and the proper tools. The other part of design involves careful consideration of the individual areas of a worksite that present the largest amount of danger for workers. This often results in specific choices for equipment and practices that will reduce the chance of an injury. Some solutions include using temporary curtain walls on new building exteriors or pump jack scaffolds in tight spaces. Planning the equipment and practices that are used on a worksite will lower injuries.

A crucial step after design is implementation. Implementing a worksite safety program requires clearing time in employee schedules for training and ensuring that the right equipment is available before a project starts. Part of implementation also involves taking steps to follow some of the simplest and most widely used safety practices in the industry. Equipment must be maintained so that it is safe. The area should have ample signage indicating dangerous areas and required safety practices. Small details like replacing missing ladder labels and stocking extra eye protection contribute to safety as well. Implementation of the safety plan must be an ongoing process that evolves with the business, the current project and the workers.

Anyone operating within the worksite will need training and education about the safety plan. Workers should receive an initial orientation about the overall safety plan and individual expectations. Orientations occur once when first implementing plans or when hiring new workers. Employees normally receive regular refresher trainings after an orientation once every year or every few months. The purpose is to provide information about how to work safely and how to use equipment. The training should also cover emergency procedures. Shorter safety meetings are appropriate when starting different phases of a project that require extra precautions or changes in procedures.

The final step in any effective worksite safety plan is developing a culture of safety that goes beyond trainings and equipment use. A culture of safety is a sense among team members that everyone must avoid bad work habits. An effective safety culture causes workers to follow best practices because they want to and not because they were told to. The best ways to encourage this type of culture on a worksite is to lead by example by making certain that key managers and leaders are following good safety habits. Small incentives or rewards also help to drive workers to pay more attention to safety at all times.

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