By Susan Finch
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 4,836 workers were killed on the job in 2015. Among those, 17 percent included fatal injuries involving contractors. Further, the census found that among the 937 fatal work industries in private construction in 2015 represented the highest total since 2008.
Reducing workplace injuries and fatalities starts with proactive prevention and a culture of safety. It’s not enough to simply advise workers on safety expectations and policies and then hope for the best. It takes careful planning and systematic training to reduce workplace injuries and prevent them from rising. Get started by looking for dangerous habits in the workplace. Here’s what to look for.
Scrutinize Safety Program Violations
A solid safety program that is proactively executed can make dangerous habits stand-out in the workplace. The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers several programs and plans ranging from emergency evacuation to general safety and health programs that increase productivity and reduce costs including worker's compensation premiums.
Create guidelines for how workplace safety should be addressed including how equipment should be used. When everyone is working in tandem to follow the program, it’s easier to spot anyone not following procedures. To get started, OSHA recommends program awareness training, hazard identifications and controls, and training employees on their on-site roles.
Rely on Affordable Surveillance
Not every construction site requires high-end and costly equipment to ensure safety procedures are being followed and that workers are in compliance with laws. Instead, a self-installation surveillance systemlike those offered by Lorex allows users to easily monitor workplaces.
Crew bosses and managers can check on progress from their smartphones or tablets to spot complacent, dangerous behavior and address it immediately. Accessing recordings of the footage can also come in handy to enforce the rules and use as an example during training.
Create a Bonus System
Getting complacent workers to fall in line with new safety procedures and policies isn’t always as easy as a verbal reminder. Incentivize construction workers to stop dangerous habits and fall in line with a bonus system to reward safe behavior.
A bonus system recognizes workers for following safety rules without being reminded or reprimanded. However, the bonus should never be withheld from an employee who reports a workplace injury or safety issues or the system could have the opposite effect.
Create a Culture of Safety
Workplace safety and injury prevention starts from the bottom down with supervisors leading the way. Commit to making workplace safety a core value to keep construction sites safe. Create meetings and check-ins around workplace safety where management is actively engaged and present in the discussions. Acknowledging workers with a record for following safety rules and proactive preventing injuries for the entire crew can also help promote a culture of safety.
Look for Warning Signs
Simply staying alert for warning signs can help combat workplace dangers and keep crews safer. Workers who rush through routine tasks and are easily frustrated may be more prone to take short-cuts or forgo safety procedures in favor of getting the job done. Invite other workers to report non-compliance in an anonymous and encouraging way to keep tabs on what’s happening directly on the site.
Dangerous workplace habits don't just cause lifelong injury or possible fatalities, they also negatively impact your bottom line. Commit to your new safety plan and goals to reduce worker's compensation premiums, loss of productivity and construction site damage.
Susan Finch is a freelance writer living in Atlanta, and loves helping businesses improve their bottom line with compelling copy that sparks action. When she's not writing, she's traveling with her family and plotting her next creative pursuit.