A comprehensive focus on workplace safety can have an immense effect on a company. In the construction industry, a lack of a sound strategy and risk management plan could leave workers exposed and lead to higher insurance claims and costs.
While this specific job has its fair share of hazards, one of the most serious is that of reversing vehicles. Both employees on the ground and those operating the machinery may be at risk, and the number of people, size of equipment and other factors all increase the danger on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important that this topic is addressed when discussing safety.
NIOSH offers new document to provide assistance
In order to help with this important goal, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health recently released a new document outlining the common threats and risk management methods. These resources can be perfect complements to a construction firm's existing safety procedures.
For starters, NIOSH stressed the importance of creating standard operating procedures for the workplace. These will take into account employee safety, and offer solutions to minimize the number of workers near vehicles and equipment at all times during the day. There are also other steps employers can take to ensure safety, such as better designed work sites, improved supervision and safer work practices, among others.
In addition, some responsibility falls on the vehicle operators. For example, a routine inspection should be performed each day to check for working alarms, mirrors, windows and more. All issues must be reported immediately so they can be fixed. Plus, communication with those on the ground has to be constant.
Improve employee training, awareness
When it comes to protecting the health and safety of construction workers, few elements are as vital as training and awareness. Staff members must be aware of the hazards they face on a daily basis, and they must know how to identify them before they turn into a dangerous situation.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, safety when working around backing construction vehicles depends on spotters. These are employees on the ground in direct communication with the operators, providing real-time feedback about conditions and other workers' locations. To improve safety, spotters and operators must have agreed on hand signals. They must not have any other jobs during this time, and they should also be wearing the proper clothing. No matter what, the vehicle should stop if sight of the spotter is lost.
A focus on safety, such as the new resource from NIOSH, can provide construction firms an avenue to improve risk management and prevent accidents on the job.