13 Steps to Improve Construction Safety

Unfortunately, construction worker injuries and fatalities are still a major problem. One in five worker deaths last year were in construction. The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America collaborated with the Carolinas Associated General Contractors to release a 13-step plan aimed at reducing construction worker injuries and fatalities. Both groups claim that an influx of new and inexperienced workers is contributing to an increase in construction injuries and deaths.

According to the AGC of America, the 13-step plan is as follows:

  1. Establish a “buddy system” for all new hires.
  • After a trial period, ensure both sponsor and supervisor sign off that the new hire is ready to work safely without a buddy before new hire works alone.
  1. Hold safety orientation sessions for all new hires, including temporary workers.
  • These orientation sessions should be separate from the general administrative orientation.
  1. Ensure managers and supervisors have the appropriate leadership and effective communication skills to instill safety culture and concepts into the workforce.
  • Continuing leadership education should be an essential element in all leadership positions.
  1. Institute two separate pre-task hazard analysis training programs.
  • One pre-task hazard analysis should be for the crew and one specifically designed for supervisors.
  1. Hold monthly “Lunch and Learn” safety training programs.
  • These informal sessions should be short presentations from peers, not supervisors.
  1. Require all foremen and/or superintendents to attend leadership in safety excellence certification courses.
  • Foremen and superintendents must be able to communicate effectively to help keep workers safe.
  1. Hold targeted safety training to address all safety incidents.
  • Identify safety incidents and address specific safety hazards.
  1. Make sure all training and materials are in the language of the entire workforce.
  • Many workforces include workers with limited English skills.
  1. Train your trainers.
  • Training the trainers will help improve the effectiveness of provided safety training.
  1. Create worker task-specific pocket safety guidelines for every task they are assigned.
  • These safety guidelines must be on the workers’ person at all times.
  1. Establish craft-specific safety mentoring programs.
  • These mentoring programs build safe practices in an informal setting.
  1. Issue easy-to-read badges to all workers indicating their level of training.
  • These badges will allow supervisors to assign tasks appropriate for the workers’ experience and certification level.
  1. Authorize all workers to issue “Stop Work Cards” to address job risks.
  • Inform workers that they can issue without repercussions a “Stop Work Card” to halt construction activity temporarily if they identify a legitimate safety hazard.

For more information, you can download the full plan here.

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Nathan Muller

Senior Technical Writer | Rigidlifelines.com
Nathan Muller is the Senior Technical Writer for Spanco and Rigid Lifelines. Nathan has nearly four years of experience in technical communications and copyediting. He graduated from Bob Jones University with a B.A. in English and a minor in Professional Writing. He is also a member of the Society of Technical Communication.