Nothing should be more important to a construction firm than safety. And companies that embrace an active safety culture reap a number of rewards! Proper safety measures help dodge accidents, and help employees feel secure in their work. Furthermore, companies that prioritize safety usually see bottom-line benefits as well, by avoiding costly insurance and inspection penalties and minimizing construction time lost. When treated as an integral part of the business plan—concrete principles applied every day—the effects of a safety culture can be transformative.
Part of the big picture of building a safety culture is meeting the requirements of known and respected third-party organizations to verify that your sites are compliant with their standards. Certifications can help signal that you take safety seriously. The more you know about each certification process, the faster you can move through it and start enjoying the benefits.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the United States Department of Labor, works to reduce workplace accidents and improve safety standards in every field. Their Outreach Training Program helps employers better educate and prepare their workforce to meet OSHA’s safety standards. Though not a certification in and of itself, it is a relatively straightforward education on common construction hazards such as falling hazards, electrical hazards, and hazards caused by rolling or moving objects. Additionally, it is a good groundwork to make it easier to pass some of the other certification programs below. The Outreach Training Program offers 10-hour courses for entry-level workers to cover the basics, along with a 30-hour course intended for managers and overseers who need to take a more direct hand in safety preparation. See the OSHA website for more pertinent details.
The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) runs the Construction Health and Safety Technicians (CHST) certification. Unlike OSHA’s Outreach Program, CHST credentials do meet national certification standards. Many construction jobs recommend or require BCSP certification. Applying for the program requires an accredited degree and experience in construction safety. After they approve your application, you can take the CHST test at any local Pearson test center. If you don’t pass the first time, don’t worry! You can repeat the test every six weeks as necessary. You will need to re-certify every five years, and requires both an annual fee and compiling sufficient certification points.
The National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) provides professional certification and training for all manner of work sites. Its credentials are similar to the BCSP—providing quality third-party confirmation of valuable safety experience—and provides similar benefits. NASP’s Certified Safety Manager: Construction (CSMS) course details how to prepare and respond to a wide array of safety issues, such as how to properly document potential hazards, conduct safety inspections, and investigate and document workplace accidents. CSM Construction credentials require completion of two courses—the Safety Manager/Trainer Certification course and the Certified Safety Auditor course—constituting about 25 hours of class time.
NEBOSH, the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health, provides international safety certifications in the U.K. They were previously responsible for the National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety; however, as of March 2021, that program was replaced with the Health and Safety Management for Construction, which now provides equivalent certification. The certification covers a broad array of safety issues, including excavation, fire, and demolition hazards as well as more common hazards such as falls and electrical threats. The course requires at least 68 hours of classroom time and at least 40 hours of study time.
Construction in Ireland falls under the purveyance of SOLAS Learning Works, established in 2013 to oversee the Safe Pass Health and Safety Awareness Training Programme. It’s a one-day safety course designed for construction workers in all aspects of the field, as well as visitors spending time on a construction site and peripheral employees such as security. It covers general safety and common hazards, and is often mandatory in order to be present on a construction site. Construction firms are expected to cover the costs of Safe Pass training, and certification must be renewed every four years.
The international version of NEBOSH’s Health and Safety Management for Construction is a replacement for the previous International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety, just as the U.K. version is for its own previous national certification. It is designed around practical knowledge, covering basic safety issues encountered on construction sites worldwide. It also adheres to ILO’s industry best practices. As with the UK version, the course has no prerequisite, and entails a minimum of 68 teaching hours and 40 private study hours. A 48-hour open-book examination is required to pass.
Establishing and maintaining credentials is an important part of construction safety management. But it can be challenging to keep track of the details amid a hectic schedule! Digital solutions, which can effectively manage the required information and make it accessible to everyone who needs it, can free up considerable man hours from administrative duty, while still ensure the health and safety of everyone on your sites.
That’s where Salus comes in. With digital forms, shared calendars and alerts, and certificate management features, Salus’s construction safety software can help you keep all of your important documentation in one place, as well as ensure that all safety protocols are consistently adhered to on-site. Best of all, its accessibility and swift updates lets you keep your team abreast of new developments easily. Contact Salus today to book a demo, and let us show what our product can do for you!