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How to Encourage Safe Behaviors Among Your Construction Workers

A Guest Blog Post from Valerie Cox, a contributing author for Riedel-Wilks.

Working in construction definitely has its perks; however, it’s not quite as safe a workplace as an office job. Workers are exposed to sharp objects and potential risks from rickety scaffolding, machinery malfunction, structural collapses and falling objects every day.

With that said, a safe construction site is within grasp with proper caution and proper communication. And as long as you take the time to prepare your workers, you can have keep them safe and have them employing in safe behaviors on the job site.

Ensure Everyone Wears Protective Gear
Wearing the correct protective gear could mean the difference between a minor occurrence and life-threatening injury. Make sure the proper protective gear for a job is provided at all times - helmets, safety goggles, high visibility jackets and knee pads are a good start.

One of the best ways to encourage workers to use these items at all times is simply taking care of them. Keep them in pristine condition and replace them if they start to show signs of wear and tear.

Maintain Scaffolding and Other Equipment
At a construction site, a slight lapse in concentration can cause a sudden injury. A large percentage of injuries at a construction site occur on scaffolding. Make sure your scaffolding is sturdy enough to handle the weight of workers as well as building materials being moved around. Check it regularly for any damages and make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

Equipment that malfunctions can cause potentially serious injuries. You need to ensure equipment is serviced accordingly and that it is safe for the workers. It is both your responsibility and the workers’ to identify defective equipment and have it repaired.

Consider Extended Safety Training
Every construction worker goes through some form of safety training, even if it’s not the most formal process. However, it’s easy to dismiss certain safety procedures once a worker has gained experience and feels confident in their abilities.

However, that hubris can sometimes lead to an accident. By extending the training you provide your workers and having small recap lessons, you keep that information fresh in your workers’ minds and reinforce the importance of safety on the job site.

Secondary training in first aid and how to handle life-threatening situations are also great ideas. They can reinforce your commitment to their safety and inspire a culture of safe practices on your job site.

Encourage Communication and Teamwork
Communication is vital when heavy machinery and sharp tools are involved. Encouraging proper communication is vital to a safe construction site. Direct verbal communication is obvious, but it’s also a smart idea to have alternate forms of communication in place that can relay information from a distance. Signs work as well as hand gestures; noises like whistling work better than words from long distances.

Make sure no workers work alone. It’s important to always have someone nearby who can communicate in case something goes wrong. This can be the difference between a minor issue becoming a dangerous one.

Staying safe on a construction site should be the priority of everyone involved. Working with heavy machinery and on scaffolding is nothing to scoff at and people can get hurt if precautions aren’t taken. However, with attention to detail and proper communication, you can keep your workers safe and have a job site to be proud of.

Valerie Cox is a contributing author for Riedel-Wilks.

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