Construction is a risk-filled industry and safety should always be a priority. And while many employees are taking personal accountability for their trades and their own (and others’) safety, responsibility rests on employers to ensure their workers remain safe while on the job site. Construction safety training is a critically important first step to get you there.
Incidents on construction sites can have a huge impact, not only in terms of lost production and costs but, crucially, lives lost. On-the-job accidents and illnesses affect thousands of American construction workers each year. This costs employers in various ways, sick leave and disability wages, lower production because of the loss of worker skills, having to hire replacement workers, insurance, and workers’ compensation claims.
Implementing construction safety training can considerably reduce those costs and set your firm apart from competitors. All this while staying OSHA compliant and meeting business goals.
That said, here are the top five reasons employers should offer safety training for their construction workforce.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ( administered by the Department of Labor) came into effect to respond to the growing number of serious injuries and deaths occurring in the workplace and to set a standard for workplace safety.
Some states may have their own safety standards. These may differ from federal OSHA regulations but must be as effective as federal standards. If your business is in a state that has its own safety regulations, you must comply with them. If not, you must demonstrate compliance with federal OSHA laws.
OSHA Outreach 10-hour and 30-hour training courses are an effective way to create a solid baseline. OSHA’s 10-hour training focus on basic safety and health information aimed at entry-level workers in the construction sector. It covers serious workplace hazards, workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file an OSHA complaint. This training is mandatory in certain states, cities, and local jurisdictions.
OSHA’s 30-hour training is appropriate for supervisors and workers with some safety responsibilities. While OSHA considers outreach training voluntary, both these courses help firms meet these important training requirements, with many construction companies considering it an essential part of their safety program.
In the event of an accident, and you are found to be in violation of applicable safety rules, OSHA will come knocking, so brace yourself for hefty penalties, fines, and other costs. Remember though, occupational health and safety regulations aren’t just there to censure and generate income via penalties and fines—they’re there to set standards and ensure accountability that keeps people safe.
Construction safety training means taking a proactive approach. It is only logical to give all employees extra safety instruction, as the cause of most accidents is often the failure to recognize safety hazards. As employees are trained and retrained, specific safety instructions can help them identify potential safety risks quicker.
OSHA directives outline collecting information about likely hazards. This includes conducting workplace inspections, interrogating accidents to determine causes, looking for patterns and connections, and instituting corrective actions. Focus areas can take in using safety gear every day in every instance, maintaining equipment, storing supplies properly, posting warning signs, adhering to site-specific safety protocols, conducting on-site safety inspections, as well as providing regular breaks in the workday, and, of course, providing regular training.
Workplace accidents cost American businesses more than one billion dollars a week, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety says. Construction injuries make up a large portion of these costs. Moreover, accidents cost companies over $1000 per worker and up to $41,000 in medical care and physical therapy, as well as losing over 70 million work hours!
By staying OSHA compliant, your company will not have to pay fines and risk reputational damage. You may have fewer workers’ compensation claims, lower costs for rehabilitation programs for injured workers, reduced costs to replace or repair machinery or property, and lower administrative costs due to having to complete paperwork after accidents.
In addition, your company will be able to fulfill its commitments to its customers and will probably increase productivity and revenue due to fewer work stoppages due to accidents. In short, construction safety training can positively impact your company’s finances.
Construction safety training shows that your company values your employees and is willing to invest in them. This automatically drives up motivation levels and fosters loyalty.
Ongoing skills-specific and site-specific safety training establishes a culture of learning, linking it not only to project outcomes but also to their company’s brand. Training increases employee skills and their contributions to the company. Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and are likely to stay longer.
What is a safety culture? When the entire team, from managers to masons is committed to preventing injuries and deaths on the job site, you have the foundation of a strong safety culture.
Building on that base is an understanding of why accidents happen, and a considered, comprehensive plan to prevent and eliminate the causes. Providing regular and applicable training sessions will reinforce safety best practices. Moreover, you ensure that all team members understand how to prepare for and respond to safety issues.
The next step is to ensure all safety training documentation is easily accessible for all employees. Having the best training material is useless if workers cannot access it. Lead by example. When management is excited about safety, this will rub off on employees. In contrast, when workers see management paying lip service to safety guidelines or see training as an afterthought, your workforce will mirror this negative attitude.
Company-wide buy-in of safety training is key. When workers are involved, they will feel their input is valued and this can further help build a stronger safety culture on job sites. Ongoing training shows your employees that worker and workplace safety is a top priority.
Making safety a core value—so ingrained across your company that it’s a default consideration of daily operations—builds the advantages automatically. In addition to the improved health and safety of your employees, it enhances your reputation among prospective and existing clients.
A powerful addition to your company’s commitment to safety culture is to invest in construction safety technology. This includes features that automate and simplify your schedule, handling details like inspections and training courses while saving time and manual labor.
That’s where Salus comes in, empowering you to smartly manage the full spectrum of safety aspects across your entire operation from one platform. A comprehensive software package that provides the tools to ensure you’re meeting your health and safety obligations on your worksite adequately.
Our solutions include features such as digital forms, automated task checklists, as well as compliance management apps to provide schedules and reminders, and corrective actions for transparency and accountability. Salus’ solutions even offer a subcontractor portal to automate key management functions, further reinforcing your construction safety plan.
If you want to consistently ensure a safe and healthy construction environment for your company, Salus is just the ticket for the job. Contact Salus today to book a demo!