Project managers and stakeholders carry a lot of responsibility when it comes to construction projects — keeping on budget, staying on schedule, finding talent, and the list goes on. A safe and healthy workforce is the glue that holds construction projects together, but finding the time and resources to provide training and day-to-day safety oversight can be challenging.
Failing to implement full-time safety oversight can have serious repercussions. Here are some reasons to consider appointing a full-time safety oversight worker or consultant so your core team can focus on their primary responsibilities.
#1. To manage risk on your construction site
Between falls, trench collapses, electric shocks, heat exhaustion, and the rest of the seemingly never-ending list of construction site hazards, it can be hard for your team and leadership to keep stock of all the dangers around you. And without recognizing and managing hazards, serious accidents and injuries are more likely to happen.
Managing jobsite risks is a safety oversight professional’s primary responsibility. Here are just a couple of things safety oversight personnel can take off your plate to make your workplace safer.
Educate employees on appropriate safety measures
Administering safety training is paramount for keeping your workforce out of danger. And the more engaging the safety training program is, the fewer accidents you’re likely to see. Someone with full-time responsibilities can dedicate their time to administering OSHA-required safety training and developing a comprehensive educational program which can include things like:
- Daily toolbox talks
- OSHA 30-hour or 40-hour HAZWOPER training
- Hands-on site-specific training
- Behavior-based safety requirements
|Free resource: Toolbox Talks (For When They Start to Get Boring)|
Set positive expectations and keep a watchful eye on workers
Safety is never guaranteed on risky jobsites. Even when you check all the OSHA compliance boxes, accidents can still happen on your watch. According to a study from the Associated General Contractors of America:
- Most deaths on construction sites occur between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM, with fatalities peaking around noon.
- Nearly 75% of fatalities occur Mondays through Thursdays.
Full-time safety oversight can help you avoid these workplace fatalities and other injuries by setting good examples for safe work practices, pointing out mistakes, and enforcing safety expectations daily.
#2. To save time and money
The success of a construction project generally depends on how closely you can stick to a budget and timeline. Safety personnel can help you achieve both of those goals.
Employee injuries, especially serious ones, can halt jobsite operations for minutes, hours, or even days. Every minute counts, and every injury stacks up your time lost. In 2018, the construction industry had 199,100 recordable illnesses and injuries. Of those cases, 77,500 resulted in days away from work. No one can afford to lose that kind of time (or labor).
With full-time safety oversight, you can prevent these accidents from happening in the first place via risk analyses, training, and constant worker communication. And if illnesses and injuries do happen despite your best efforts, safety professionals can help you expedite incident reporting so you can get your site back up and running swiftly.
Avoid OSHA fines
It’s not just time that injuries can cost you. Construction companies are high on OSHA’s radar during peak construction season and, when warranted, hit companies with fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your safety oversight team will help you ensure you can pass a planned or surprise OSHA inspection.
|Recommended reading: The Top OSHA Fines of Q1 2019 [Construct Dive]|
#3. To become a better leader
Hiring safety oversight personnel is an easy way to communicate to employees that you take their health and safety seriously (and have their backs). But there are plenty of other ways that safety oversight personnel can enable you to become a better leader throughout the course of a project.
OSHA compliance isn’t just about avoiding fines (and not making headlines). Following regulations helps protect your most valuable asset — your workers. Taking this responsibility seriously by employing someone who ensures compliance sends a positive message to your workforce, stakeholders, and regulators.
Experienced safety oversight personnel have seen it all, from cardboard cuts to heat stroke and falls. So never underestimate what you can learn from them through their experiences. Plus, their knowledge enables safety workers to anticipate issues that might never cross your mind, making your projects go smoother.
Effective safety program management includes a fair amount of paperwork. Hiring a safety professional to oversee your project offloads this work and allows you to focus on leading your project. And with the data they collect from employee surveys, safety check-ins, and more, you’ll have plenty of information to provide to key stakeholders.
Our safety oversight professionals have worked on dozens of projects across the country. Want to learn more about how they can help your project run smoother? Contact us today.