Every year, more than 4.1 million American workers suffer a serious job-related injury or illness. These incidents hurt not only the employees involved, but their employers as well. In 2013, employers lost nearly $62 billion as a result of workplace accidents that caused employees to miss six or more days. These sobering statistics highlight the necessity of developing an accident prevention program for your construction site.
Accidents can be Costly for Contractors
Injuries aside, the cost of lost workdays can be significant. In fact, more money is often spent on indirect or hidden costs rather than direct costs. Employee injury can lead to lost work days, decreased productivity and depleted morale. You may also be forced to hire or retrain other individuals to temporarily fill in.
4 Common types of Workplace Accidents
- Trips and Falls
- Machinery/Vehicle Accidents
- Falling Objects
Building a Safer Work Environment
In construction, safety is a team effort. Together, your team must identify, evaluate and manage every possible job site risk. This cooperative effort must include everyone from the owner on down to the apprentices.
Accident prevention programs are an effective way to:
- Transform workplace culture
- Reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities
- Lower insurance costs
- Improve morale and communication
- Enhance company image and reputation
4 Construction Site Accident Prevention Tips
1) Management Commitment
If your management team makes a commitment to safety, it will trickle down to everyone at the job site. Your commitment the must be backed by organizational policies, procedures, incentives and disciplinary actions that encourage safe work.
- Set objectives, such as five fewer injuries in 2018
- Hold management accountable for your company’s safety record
- Establish a system where employees can report unsafe conditions
- Allocate financial, material and personal resources to accident prevention
- Set a good example
2) Safety Communications
Communication is crucial to building a safer workplace, because your employees cannot follow policies they don’t know about. For example, if you don’t instruct your foreman on what to do when someone falls off a ladder, no one else will know either. By informing employees about how to deal with dangerous situations, you will improve your employees’ chances of remaining happy and healthy.
3) Hazard Assessment and Control
Next, you will need to assess existing and potential workplace hazards. Your hazard control program should accomplish these three objectives:
- Identify hazards that exist
- Learn how to correct those hazards
- Plot steps to prevent their recurrence
4) Safety & Health Training
Training employees how to do their job properly is not only good for them, it’s good for you too.
One popular strategy is to set up a safety and health committee. This group would be responsible for reviewing and setting company-wide policies. Many contractors today hold training programs to instruct employees on how to improve safety. Committee members may also make sure safety signage is posted properly and that every employee knows what to do in the event of an accident.
In the construction business, accident prevention is just as important as any other job function. Not only will it improve productivity and employee longevity, it could also lower your workers’ compensation costs.