Did you know that 20% of all private industry worker deaths happen in the construction industry? At Refine Construction, safety is a serious priority for us and we ensure that we keep all of our policies current to ensure that our teams remain as safe as possible in the workplace. The pandemic has changed the world of construction when it comes to safety, with a new wave of health and safety issues of which we all must now work towards. Focus should be on the safety of construction workers as well as the public who are close to the construction site.
In 2021, the emphasis in safety is looking to continue, and below, we’ve got some of the topics that are trending in the construction world when it comes to safety. Let’s take a look.
A New Culture For Health And Safety
The pandemic has turned the world upside down, but it’s not actually a bad thing when it comes to safety in the construction arena. COVID-19 has changed the way that the construction workers in the industry stay safe on a work site. Companies are taking a bigger responsibility for the health of their workers – as they should be! By providing the right equipment, enabling tracing and testing to be on site and implementing training to practice social distancing, companies are taking a bigger hand in their employee outcomes. Most workers are now required to wear masks and avoid sharing tools with one another, promoting safety throughout the construction company from management down.
Employee Training Opportunities
Employers are focusing on the mental health of their employees, too, especially those who are seeking help for anxiety and depression. A construction worker that is distracted from their work because of a worry for their safety is not a worker who is going to be functional. With employers offering meditation, gym and class memberships for yoga and stress-busting, employees are able to focus better in the workplace. There are more education and training opportunities in workplace safety on offer now, and this more frequent training is going to help workers in construction more than any other sector.
Education is a must in the construction sector, as there are new tools and new methods of working emerging all the time. If employers are aware of these changes, they can implement the best possible practice for their staff in the workplace. Employees need to know how to use new equipment, when to use it and all the associated dangers, and employers offering training will be able to help. Communication is a necessity, too, and workers are being encouraged to ask for training and what they need to be more effective employees. Reinforcing communication in the workplace will ensure that employees feel that they can communicate any injuries: information is power!
Personal Hygiene Measures
As you know, handwashing and sanitizing is important for all working in any industry, but in construction your employees are in a public-facing role and they are dealing with a range of people and workers on a site all day. Washing hands frequently is effective in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Workers should use soap, running water and more for a minimum of 20 seconds at a time to continue to keep up with their hand hygiene. This can be difficult to do in the field on a construction site, so using an alcohol-based sanitizer is a good substitute and as an employer, you can ensure that your staff are fully equipped this way. Encouraging masks on site is important, and not just for those drilling and sanding. Masks will prevent the spread of bacteria, and you can ensure that you budget for this.
Equipment & Environmental Hygiene
COVID-19 can live on hard surfaces such as plastic and steel for days, which is a good reason to routinely disinfect all surfaces in your workplace. Equipment, cars and big equipment like cranes, etc, all need to be cleaned properly so that you can keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum. As well as equipment in the field, you should ensure that all business technology from tablets and radios to remote controls and tablets are all disinfected.
Hiring a company who uses an EPA-approved disinfectant that is proven to be effective against COVID-19 is important, and research is important here. Any alcohol solutions should have a minimum of 70% alcohol included to be effective, and make sure that either you or the cleaning company are wearing disposable gloves while you use these materials!
As a construction business, you may already be familiar with the use of PPE, but this year you will see way more of an emphasis on it. Masks will be mandatory across most job sites, and helmets and gloves will no longer be shared. Each construction worker will need to have their own set so as to minimize sharing with others. Personalized PPE will be in high demand and this will keep individuals in the workplace safe.
This is not a new trend in the workplace, but it’s one that needs some careful consideration. Your work environment should be a safe place and there should be stringent measures in place for hazards to be reported. Employees will be expected to identify and report any on-site hazards and in the spirit of preventing accidents, supervisors and workers should be informed about all accident potentials at work.
Fall Protection Measures
Almost all construction businesses have to have fall prevention measures in place to be able to remain compliant. If you don’t have these in place, you need to work on that ASAP! Fall protection includes guardrails, safety nets, barricades, covers to reduce falls and cleaning up spills as soon as they happen all matter. Keeping a clean, clear workplace will all help toward construction safety.
Construction is just one industry affected by COVID-19, and it’s one that has to be prioritized. We need to continue developing and at Refine Construction, safety is of high importance to us for both the public and for our employees.