Just landed a new project that will bring in some good cash. You and your team may be itching to start, so much so that all regard for safety is taken lightly! However, no matter how big or small the project is, safety should be the number one priority on the construction grounds. As the saying goes, safety saves lives, and jersey barriers save lives.
As a team leader or even a person in charge of a project, it falls within your responsibility to ensure that safety protocols and regulations are being adhered to at all times. This is to ensure that the workplace remains safe and hopefully, no accidents, small or big, occur.
The importance of workplace safety, especially when it comes to construction grounds, cannot be stressed enough. Preventing accidents and protecting the lives of your workers are some of the key reasons why workplace safety has to be taken very seriously.
Whilst each individual has a responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them, workplace safety begins at the very top. Building a habit of placing importance on safety is the key to creating a safe workplace environment.
Being unable to ensure and instil the importance of safety amongst your team is a mark of poor leadership since their lives are held responsible to themselves. When accidents occur, team leaders will most definitely be questioned regarding safety regulations and if they were adhered to as well.
Furthermore, the government has refocused its attention on workplace-related fatalities and injuries, with more scrutiny and checks being held in place. This impacts the construction industry to a high degree considering that construction is widely known to be a major contributor to workplace-related accidents and injuries.
Safety is a widely known term and most understand what constitutes workplace safety at a basic level. However, workplace safety reaches far beyond just having the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the right job.
Even so, PPE standards are often not held to a desirable degree of standard. Having proper PPE for the job entails ensuring that a piece of protective equipment is not only suited for a task but is in good condition as well.
Keeping up to date with the latest PPE available as well as maintaining their quality can make the difference between life and death. This means that regular checks and updates have to be done across different levels — from an individual level and even up to routine checks by the company.
Team leaders and project managers have a responsibility in instilling this mindset of having the right and the best PPE during construction work to minimise and mitigate the risk of injuries and prevent fatalities from occurring.
However, coming back to the earlier point, workplace safety goes beyond just having the right PPE standards. From the standpoint of a team leader or project head, workplace safety also entails having the right protocols and regulations set in place to ensure safe working conditions and to deal with safety-related incidents as well. This requires a deeper understanding of what is workplace safety as you begin to deal with policies and contingencies that are constantly changing.
There is a multitude of reasons why workplace safety when it comes to construction is of utmost importance.
The first and most obvious one is that ensuring an adequate level of safety can make a difference between life and death. Construction-related incidents are the largest contributing factor to fatalities and severe accidents. Incidents that occur within the construction ground are more often than not serious incidents due to the nature of the work environment and tools surrounding workers.
However, what many may not see are the snowballing effects that incidents have on construction companies. These types of incidents that lead to serious injuries or even fatalities do cause a huge problem with manpower. Construction is a laborious job often requiring many different workers equipped with certain types of skills. Workplace-related incidents can leave you short in many departments, be it due to fatality or long-term injuries. This will directly result in increased cost due to having to find replacements, which takes time and effort.
Furthermore, increased expenses may come from increased insurance rates. Insurance companies rely on a risk-based approach when it comes to construction companies. Higher-risk companies, often due to past incidents or breaches of regulations, incur higher annual insurance costs due to the higher probability that an incident would occur.
Workplace incidents have a highly causal relationship with a company’s reputation due to the high amount of workplace incidents reported annually. Companies with previous histories of repeated incidents that occur especially due to a lack of regard for safety regulations will have tainted reputations.
This will then lead to a lower probability of landing projects, especially if a project entails jobs that require additional safety requirements such as welding jobs and high-rise construction jobs.
Incidents result in additional money being spent, often to cover medical bills or even compensation in the case of fatalities. This will most definitely have an impact on a company’s wage structure when large incidents occur. Your workers bear the brunt of this restructuring, with delayed pay being a common solution.
This goes beyond just wages as well. Delayed pay will also result in lower morale and some may even switch companies due to the disregard for employee wellbeing, which would only work to further worsen manpower issues.
Workplace safety on construction grounds has to be taken with greater importance due to the snowballing and detrimental effects it can have on numerous parties. This means that educating personnel involved within the construction industry regarding workplace safety has to be given greater priority and attention. Understanding the need for putting importance on safety is the key to building a safe working environment where every worker or manager has safety at the back of their minds, at all times.