12 Steps to a Safer Construction Job Site

Safety Week (May 6 – 10, 2019) reminds us of the importance of bringing continued awareness and focus to the risks associated with the construction industry — and taking proactive measures to help combat these risks and make the construction industry safer. This same focus should be carried out throughout the year, making safety our everyday goal.

In a high-hazard industry like construction, safety is an investment that provides real benefits. A safe work environment helps keep skilled employees on the job and projects on track by reducing accidents that result in injuries and schedule delays, while also reducing the risks of litigation and regulatory action. A strong safety record enhances a company’s reputation, makes it more competitive and helps to manage insurance costs over time.

Below are 12 steps that construction companies can take to help make their job sites safer, keep projects on track and manage insurance costs.

  1. Start at the top
    Senior executives need to lead by example, taking an active role in the implementation and execution of a safety culture.
  2. Make safety committees and safety managers a part of the job
    By including craft laborers who work on site, managers can get a much better idea of how safety procedures are being implemented.
  3. Recognize success, but hold everyone accountable
    Without accountability, employees may be tempted to cut corners in an effort to save time and money.
  4. Plan safety into the project
    Because every project is built on paper first, safety begins with pre-planning.
  5. Prequalify subcontractors for safety
    The pre-qualification of sub-contractors should not stop with safety history and performance.
  6. Train workers for safety
    Specific training should be provided to each project and challenges of communicating to a diverse workforce should be considered.
  7. Focus on fall management
    A successful fall management program provides a uniform set of procedures for all workers.
  8. Combat substance abuse
    Individual workers have a role to play in ensuring their own safety and that of their co-workers
  9. Evaluate each project phase for safety
    A job safety task analysis should be performed to make sure that the appropriate work and safety equipment is on hand.
  10. Make safety an everyday topic
    Review the hazards and safety controls and make sure that all safety concerns are addressed.
  11. Review accidents and near misses
    Project executives should participate in claims review meetings with insurers to get first-hand information.
  12. Work with your insurer and risk management experts
    Proactive companies take a collaborative approach to safety with risk management experts.

When a construction company succeeds in building a strong culture of safety, it becomes a core value for every employee. A strong safety culture burnishes the company’s reputation, which is one of the most valuable assets for any business, and plays an essential role in its long-term success. At the end of the day, every company wants every worker to go home safe at night. The ultimate goal should be zero injuries.

To learn more about building a proactive safety culture in the construction industry and additional detail on each of these steps, download our whitepaper, 12 Steps to a Safer Job Site: Building a Proactive Safety Culture in the Construction Industry.

George Cesarini is Senior Vice President, Chubb Construction Group.

For more construction safety resources, visit chubb.com/us/safetyweek.

The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.