Safety During a Major Construction or Renovation Project: Project managers have to stay on top of a lot of different moving parts during the course of a construction or renovation project. No matter what, safety always has to be the number one priority. Here are six things that you can do to promote to project safety.
1. That All Workers Wear the Right Protective Equipment
In order to comply with all applicable federal and local regulations governing your workers’ activities, you have to take responsibility for ensuring that everyone wears essential protective equipment. Gloves, steel-toed boots, masks, and goggles can help to significantly reduce job site injuries. If you observe that somebody isn’t wearing the right gear when they’re doing something dangerous like sawing or soldering, you have to tell them to stop. Don’t take the attitude that everyone is responsible for their own safety when it comes to personal protective equipment. Requiring that your workers protect themselves will help to safeguard them from serious injury, and it can help minimize your company’s risk exposure to liability or workers compensation claims.
2. Mark All Hazardous and Restricted Areas Clearly
If access to certain parts of your Jobsite will be restricted to limited personnel, you need to make sure that they’re marked and blocked off accordingly. If your project’s scope of work any pipework, for example, you’ll need to have all affected areas clearly sectioned off so that people won’t enter the area. Use a brightly colored and conspicuous line break barricade tape that will caution people against walking in an area with exposed piping.
3. Ensure That Your Project is Adequately Staffed With Trained Workers
Much like rushing workers, understaffing can lead to unsafe working conditions. You need to have enough workers onsite to accomplish the task at hand, and it’s important that they have a clear understanding of their individual job duties. Your staff should all be trained in accordance with all applicable OSHA regulations, and they should have a firm grasp of how to avoid safety hazards while performing their assigned tasks.
4. Share Responsibility for Safety
Delegate authority to one of your foremen or most experienced workers to monitor safe working conditions. You should train them about what to watch for, how to respond when a worker is doing something unsafely, and how to go about addressing dangerous conditions such as improper storage of materials or unsafe use of equipment.
5. Don’t Rush Your Project
When your project falls behind schedule for whatever reason, don’t try to compensate by pushing your workforce too hard. Of course, take action against unnecessarily slow or distracted work or imbalanced distribution of labor. However, don’t instruct people to complete tasks faster than they would ordinarily. Rushed work typically leads to poor quality work that may ultimately need to be corrected, taking up even more time that you don’t have. Moreover, rushing is more likely to cause unsafe conditions and accidents. When people feel hurried, they’ll pay less attention to performing tasks safely. For example, they’ll forget to wear personal protective equipment, they won’t ask for help when they need it, and they won’t lift or transport materials safely. If you need to work harder to meet a deadline, bring in additional workers or resources, but don’t stretch the workers or resources that you have too thin.
6. Have a Comprehensive Emergency Plan in Place
Before your project even begins, you should have a preparedness plan for sudden emergencies such as hurricanes, heavy winds, or flash flooding. Your plan should include provisions for how to secure materials, moving materials offsite if necessary, and fortifying unfinished areas to mitigate damage. In addition, you should have clear guidelines about when workers can safely return to a Jobsite after an emergency has passed. Your preparedness plan should be incorporated into your job contract as an exhibit, as emergencies could affect your project’s completion timeline.
Managing a major project requires taking on a lot of responsibility. You should have well-established safety policies as well as a clear plan of action for addressing unsafe conditions. You can’t control everything that happens on a Jobsite during every second of a workday, but you can help ensure that you’ve given your team the resources that they need to be as safe as possible.