When it comes to construction work, the most important tool is safety.
This is what Hickory Construction believes, an East Tennessee-based general contractor who recently celebrated 40 years in commercial and residential building. Their motto is “building trust on performance,” and a significant part of their performance is ensuring safety.
This month, the construction industry celebrates National Safety Month, taking place every June. Hickory and other builders use this time to reflect on company policies aimed at protecting their workers.
“We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary which is something we’re proud of,” said John McMillan, company vice president and chair of Hickory’s Safety Committee. “But we’re also proud of our safety record as we create safe working environments for our team. Safety is our priority.”
Construction work is often considered a dangerous industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that one in ten construction workers are injured each year. While this is a somber figure statistics are improving.
OSHA has noted that employers have had dramatic improvement on workplace safety. Worker deaths in America are down on average by over 86 percent from 1970 to 2015. Worker injuries and illnesses are down from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.0 per 100 in 2015.
While safety should be a main priority for employers, Hickory Construction points out ways team members within an organization can also work to ensure safety in the workplace and provides a few tips on how individuals can all have a hand in safer workplaces:
Learn about all potential hazards in your workplace.
Employers have the responsibility to protect workers against health and safety hazards at work, but the best way to protect yourself is to recognize and prevent hazards from happening. Pay attention to things around you and always be on the lookout for potential hazards.
Make sure you understand safety procedures.
One of the best ways to stay safe is to understand and be aware of safety measures and procedures your organization has in place. For example, employers are required to protect workers from falling objects by requiring hard hats be worn during certain projects. It’s important to know when specific safety procedures are required.
Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an essential way to prevent injuries. Be aware of instances where PPE is necessary. Items like eye protection, gloves, footwear and hardhats can keep serious injuries from happening.
Think before you act.
Simple actions like keeping hallways or stairways clear of trip hazards can make a big difference, or looking both ways before pulling into traffic.
Report safety hazards on the construction site or in the work place.
If you do see something that is unsafe or hazardous, be sure to report it. It can prevent potential injuries.
Report accidents, near misses and any other safety-related incidents so that corrective action can be taken.
Have you had a close call in the workplace? Don’t hesitate to report it. It can prevent it from happening again—and possibly with a worse outcome.
Participate in safety training, meetings, safety committees and other safety-related activities.
Education is a key element in safety. If your workplace offers training and meetings on safety, make sure you attend.
Cooperate in accident investigations so that causes can be found and further accidents prevented.
If an accident does happen in the workplace, it’s helpful to cooperate in the investigation to keep similar accidents from happening in the future.
Remember that safety is never “someone else’s job.”
If everyone takes safety seriously in the workplace, it will create a safer work environment for everyone.
Following these and other safety protocols will help team members enjoy fewer injuries, according to Pinnell.