Safety should be first on the minds of every contracting business. Standards are becoming more stringent and effective every day. Following these OSHA guidelines can not only protect your financial interests and reduce lawsuits, but can protect your workers from serious injury that can result in months or years of rehabilitation. Here’s a look at the best safety practices for offloading construction materials to protect your workers and business from accidents and liability.
Applying Best Safety Practices
The construction and contracting industries often overlook or neglect safety issues when it comes to loading and unloading construction materials. Unlike warehouses, where such processes are a large portion of day-to-day business, on the construction site they are a prelude or afterthought of the daily job and focus is on the use of materials rather than loading and unloading.
It’s important to shift perspective on this. Lumber bundles, windows, roof trusses and other materials weigh hundreds of pounds, and a lot of workplace injuries result from lack of safety procedures in handling them. The more your business pays attention to moving heavy materials, the better protected you and your workers will be.
Some of the best safety practices you can implement to protect your workers include the use of loading docks, specialized equipment such as forklifts and loaders and the proper training in their use, and thorough safety training and education for workers. Constant supervision and updates as well as following OSHA safety measures for such practices will save thousands in legal claims and damages.
Workers need to be thoroughly educated and trained in the risks involved with heavy lifting and awkward materials. The best defense against accidents and injury is knowledge. Common workers comp claims in this area include strains, sprains, bruising and fractures from improper lifting, dropped or spilled materials and supplies that are not properly restrained.
Knowing and respecting the limits of equipment use is vital to safety standards. Employees that are using heavy equipment such as forklifts need to be thoroughly and properly trained and certified. No worker who is not certified should be in the area of the equipment, and proper warning and signage should be posted. Equipment limits should be thoroughly observed according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
Make sure that building materials are always centered on the forklift and kept as far back as possible. The lowest position on the platform should be used while the equipment is moving and loads should be piled and cross-tiered as often as possible.
Never adopt a casual attitude towards moving building materials. The application of best safety practices is vital to mitigating safety risks and protecting both you and your workers from accidents, lawsuits and liability. In addition, make sure that you are carrying the proper contractors insurance policy for when incidents do occur.