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Safety Week 2016:Tips for preventing danger on your construction site

May 3, 2016

Safety programs help reduce job site injuries and increase workforce productivity.

National Customer Solutions Director, North America Commercial Insurance, Zurich North America

Eric Lambert is National Customer Solutions Director for Zurich’s North America Commercial Insurance... About this expert

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One in five worker deaths in 2014 was in construction.

Every day, construction workers are exposed to on-the-job hazards. That is why it is so important for companies involved in the construction industry to focus on job site safety.

Hazards are so prevalent within the industry that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has identified construction’s “Fatal Four” — falls, electrocutions, being struck by an object and getting caught in or between an object — as the leading causes of death among construction workers. In fact, 58.1 percent of construction worker deaths can be attributed to the “Fatal Four.”

While these statistics are troubling, there has been significant improvement in safety throughout the construction industry. Over the last four decades, construction professionals have been working to identify hazards and reduce job site risks. A recent OSHA report indicated that workplace fatalities, including construction job sites, have been reduced by more than 66 percent.

Programs to help make the job site safer include:

Onboarding and continuous training programs – Establishing an orientation program, setting up a buddy/mentoring program and ensuring that workers and supervisors receive ongoing training.

Pre-task plans – Whether you call it a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Job Safety Analysis (JSA), making sure you have a program assessing all new operations in the field, that the hazards are reviewed with the crew and controls are put in place to eliminate or reduce those hazards.

Equipment training – Focusing on the proper use of tools and safety equipment, stressing the need to use caution whether operating heavy-duty machinery, small power tools or other equipment.

Slip, trip and fall safety – Identifying fall hazards from elevation or the same level on the job site, as well as training on fall prevention prior to fall arrest. If the use of fall arrest equipment is necessary, ensure training is in place to limit on-the job-injuries.

Substance abuse management – Educating your employees on the hazards of substance abuse, implementing testing programs and providing affected employees access to substance abuse prevention programs.

Soft tissue injury prevention assessments – Reviewing work sites and job tasks to determine if risks are present for injuries and productivity losses; recommending improvements to work flow that can help reduce stress on the body.

On-site stretching – Reducing strains and sprains by employing programs that help employees attain a higher degree of flexibility.

 

The implementation of job site safety begins long before the first spade of dirt is turned over at a work site. Developing safety protocols requires the commitment of contractors, workers and owners working together in the pre-planning phase of a project to identify risk exposures and safety issues. Working with your insurer’s Risk Management and Absence, Health and Productivity Services teams can also help identify industry trends in your loss experience and recommend safety programs to help limit job site injuries.

Safety is an investment that pays off big. Focusing on job site safety not only benefits your bottom line in the form of improved productivity and return on investment, it can also improve project quality and positively impact your company’s reputation.

The information in this publication was compiled from sources believed to be reliable for informational purposes only. All information herein should serve as a guideline, which you can use to create your own policies and procedures. Any and all information contained herein is not intended to constitute advice (particularly not legal advice). Accordingly, persons requiring advice should consult with independent advisers when developing programs and policies. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information or any results and further assume no liability in connection with the publication and sample policies and procedures, including any information, methods or safety suggestions contained herein. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of this information, whether to reflect new information, future developments, events or circumstances or otherwise. The subject matter of this publication is not tied to any specific insurance product nor will adopting these policies and procedures ensure coverage under any insurance policy. Risk engineering services are provided by The Zurich Services Corporation.

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