Written safety programs are the foundation of a comprehensive safety program for employers in the construction industry.
Specialized trade contractors, general trade contractors and construction managers should all have effective safety programs in place to control the many hazards employees face during a construction project.
All companies want to keep their workers safe and prevent accidents and incidents. Many contractors are required to submit a copy of their construction safety program, along with job-specific proposals, before working for municipalities, schools, government agencies or large companies. In some cases, written safety programs are also required by OSHA standards.
What is included in a construction safety program?
A typical construction safety program should be comprehensive, address the hazards workers may encounter during normal activities and identify potential emergencies. Ideally, the program begins with a safety policy statement from a senior executive of the company, clearly stating the expectations of and support for the safety program. The safety program also includes specific modules that address various aspects of the work or specific hazards the workers may encounter. Most companies will have a general safety program for the general types of hazards, and then develop site-specific safety programs to address the anticipated hazards on a specific job site.
How do I implement a safety program?
A needs assessment based on potential hazards is the first step in determining what programs must be developed. Next, the safety director or safety consultant should write the programs. Before writing the programs, it is important to obtain input and feedback from the workers who will actually be doing the jobs covered by the program. It is also important to schedule training for workers in the requirements of the program, and to provide reinforcement of those requirements through daily job briefings and weekly safety meetings. In addition, regularly follow up and audit the activities in the workplace to ensure that the programs are being followed and to learn how the programs may be able to be improved.
What are the benefits of a safety program?
There are many benefits of having a written, comprehensive construction safety program. They include
- Improved safe work performance, with better efficiency and productivity
- Lower direct and indirect costs associated with injuries
- Access to more bid opportunities
- Better control of safety of your subcontractors
- Improved ability to keep the project on schedule