7 Construction Site Strategies for Disaster Preparedness

Being ready to handle a sudden emergency such as a natural disaster or severe weather event is essential for effective risk management in the construction industry.

In fact, contracting companies need well thought out policies aimed at maintaining safety on active job sites in an emergency situation. Here are seven highly effective strategies from construction experts who do site safety right. 

1. Create a Site-Specific Emergency Plan

Even projects with a relatively small scope of work should have an emergency preparedness plan in place before work begins. The plan should be like the playbook for what needs to happen, so that people don’t have to make on-the-spot decisions when an emergency is developing or already underway.

2. Identify What Events Will Halt Work 

Uncertainty about whether it is necessary to implement an emergency action plan could delay crucial safety measures significantly. Also, it’s important that clients be clear about when work cannot proceed to avert contractual disputes. Make sure that agreements stipulate when it is necessary to suspend work due to an emergency.

3. Train Workers 

Your team needs thorough training on how to handle emergency conditions. Even highly experienced workers may benefit. 

4. Be Aware of Cranes’ Wind Ratings

Sites that utilize cranes have to prioritize emergency protocols. Project managers and crane operators may have to work quickly in order to disassemble or reinforce a crane. It is imperative to be absolutely certain of a crane’s wind rating so that the team responsible for managing a crane will know when it must spring into action.

5. Have a Way to Secure Materials Ready to Go

A comprehensive emergency plan should have a procedure for securing any loose building materials onsite. This may require using reinforced containers, tying materials down with straps or temporarily relocating certain items.

6. Remove Hazards

A jobsite could contain numerous hazards that could pose a serious fire threat if left unattended during an active emergency. Project managers and safety supervisors need to evaluate how to move items that cannot be safely secured such as fuel containers or combustible materials.

7. Assure That Sites Are Safe for Re-entry

Before crews attempt to resume work, safety managers have to verify that a jobsite is safe. They may need to test unfinished structures for stability or inspect whether there is a risk of falling debris.

The Value of Experience 

Being proactive about emergencies can prevent serious injury and protect you against unnecessary losses.

Contact Construction Safety Experts for help to create and utilize strategic emergency preparedness initiatives at your next jobsite. One of our knowledgeable representatives can give you information about customized consulting and training – Call (919) 463-0669 today!   

Recognizing Signs of Heat Exhaustion On The Construction Job Site

For outdoor workers in the construction industry, the warm months can be the most challenging times of the year. High temperatures and increased humidity can make the environment unbearable if an employee is not hydrated or protected from the sun.

Heat exhaustion is one of the most common medical conditions for supervisors and workers on a construction crew, and prevention is the best weapon you can have against it. However, that’s not always possible. Here are some tips for both recognizing and preventing heat exhaustion.

The Types of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is caused by lack of water and salt in the body and occurs when people are heavily sweating in conditions of extreme heat, without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion covers a broad range of medical conditions, but the three most common are:

  • Heat Cramps: After prolonged exposure to the heat and sun, you can develop excruciating pain in your legs, arms or lower back. Heat cramps are muscle spasms that can last for several minutes if you’re not immediately hydrated and allowed to rest. 
  • Heat Rash: An irritating rash can develop when your skin’s sweat ducts become clogged and trap perspiration under your sin. Heat rash can cause an itching or stinging sensation and red bumps to form.
  • Heatstroke: The most severe and deadly type of heat exhaustion is heatstroke. It occurs more often to workers exposed to the sun for long periods without rest. Symptoms include a fever over 104°F, a lack of sweat and hot, dry skin. Heatstroke can cause organ failure or death if you’re unable to get cool and seek shelter.

The Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a terrifying condition that affects thousands of outdoor workers every year, but it’s preventable. Workers and supervisors should be on the lookout for any of these signs of exhaustion:

  • Headache
  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Weak pulse
  • Moist, cool skin
  • Fatigue

Some workers may not feel symptoms for several hours, while others may exhibit signs all at once in a brief period.

The Treatment for Heat Exhaustion

If you notice signs of exhaustion from a coworker, OSHA recommends that you should immediately move them to an air-conditioned room or sheltered area, and try cooling techniques. Give them cool drinking water, loosen their clothing and lay them down with their legs elevated. Ice and fans can help cool them off quickly if they’re available. Place ice or cold packs on their head, armpits, groin, neck and head. If symptoms do not improve after 60 minutes, call a doctor for professional treatment.

Contact the Safety Experts

When you need premium construction safety training and consulting, you can rely on the expertise of Construction Safety Experts. We offer basic and advanced safety services customized to meet your company’s specific safety needs. Our experienced safety professionals will evaluate your current safety program and provide consultation to enable your organization to achieve the next level of safety.

Contact us online, or call our team directly at (919) 463-0669 today!

How To Repair A Broken Workplace Safety Culture

It should go without saying that in the construction industry, companies need safety to be a fixture in their core mission and values. When the emphasis on safety has devolved, it can have a negative effect on the company’s culture as a whole. And this is not a good thing.

If you feel that your company’s safety culture has been impacted in a negative way, and are not quite sure where to go from here, don’t stress. Our team of safety experts has put together this overview of how you can begin the stages of repairing it. Some calculated adjustments will make it possible to re-instill safety as a primary directive across every tier of a company’s structure. 

Start the Change With Leadership

Managers and supervisors must set the right example for employees. They need to demonstrate thorough compliance with all key initiatives. They must also be prepared to offer one-on-one counseling for personnel who are not following policies on a consistent basis.  

Reevaluate Training

The foundation of a company culture that values safety starts with training. If training is limited to the onboarding process, policies may not have a receptive audience. It is hard for people to appreciate the significance of what they are learning if it does not have a practical context. 

Continuing training about accident prevention and avoiding hazards throughout the course of people’s employment will give meaning to what they learn. Employees will have regular reminders about why policies are indispensable. Also, they will have the background to form thoughtful and important questions about their individual responsibilities. Likewise, they can share their input about how policies work in practice and what companies can do to improve them.

Facilitate Communication

Employees need to feel as though their feedback about procedures is both welcome and valuable. Every aspect of maintaining a safe workplace rests on employee engagement in the process. Their voices should be prominent in meetings and training. In addition, there have to be reporting systems in place that employees can use to call attention to issues and also document incidents. People have to know exactly who they should reach out to when they have any questions or concerns.

Insist on Accountability

Everyone on a team must be clear about who is responsible for specific issues. To some extent, a problem with safety is everyone’s problem. However, there should never be any confusion about who has to maintain preventative safeguards or remediate hazards. Every individual employee’s job description needs to clearly outline what people must do in their job roles to reinforce a safe and productive working environment.

In Need of Safety Culture Repair? Work With The Best! 

Every type of business enterprise can benefit from the insight and experience of consultants who can offer customized solutions to make workplaces safer. Consulting services from Construction Safety Experts can help your company devise a plan to rebuild and sustain a company culture that emphasizes safety.

Contact us online or call our team directly at (919) 463-0669 today! 

 

Effective Ways To Prepare for an OSHA Visit: From the Professionals

Preparing for an OSHA visit is one of the most important and stressful events for any business. Companies often scramble to get information together at the last minute, which never works out well. Additionally, a surprise visit may result in citations for not having essential policies and procedures in place.  

You can reduce stress on everyone by doing some pre-planning and regularly monitoring your company’s OSHA guidelines. These are some simple yet important steps to follow to ensure you are ready when a compliance officer appears at your workplace.

1. Assign a Greeter

Always have a point person (and some backups) who knows OSHA standards in detail and can answer safety program questions on the spot. This individual will be the contact person who introduces the investigator to other company employees as requested.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Safety Program That Meets Requirements

All companies need an effective OSHA approved safety compliance program. These are the key areas that need to be covered:

  • Management oversight and compliance
  • Worker participation goals
  • Hazard identification and assessment tools
  • Hazard prevention and control procedures
  • Education and training modules
  • Program evaluation methods and improvement objectives
  • Communication practices for multi-employer worksites

These core elements are used to track progress and make safety program adjustments.

3. Conduct Regular Audits and Utilize Proper Record Keeping

Clear and concise record keeping is a hallmark of a well-organized safety program. Conduct regular program audits to identify issues and rectify these problems promptly. Keeping paperwork in order makes OSHA inspections a much easier process.

4. Conduct Regular Employee Safety Training

Safety training and ongoing reviews are essential to keep workers informed of practices and changes in policies and procedures. Allow time to answer employee questions. Investigators may ask employees about procedures and compliance documentation. Make certain that employees are ready for these interactions. 

5. Keep Documentation Accessible for Review

Keep documentation logs in easily accessible places. The greeter should know where all of the documentation is located. Multiple employees should be apprised of the locations of Safety Data Sheets and other pertinent records, so they know how to address investigator questions.  

6. Plan Direct Routes for OSHA Safety Inspections

If a compliance officer wants to visit a particular area of a worksite, use a direct route. It is better to avoid winding an investigator through additional workplace areas that could expose you to safety citations.

Ensure You’re Ready With Leading Professionals 

Construction Safety Experts is your team for professional project safety consulting and training. We’ve been in business since 1996, developing and implementing safety cultures in various organizations. We offer basic and advanced safety services customized to meet your company’s specific safety needs. Our experienced safety professionals will evaluate your current safety program and provide consultation to enable your organization to achieve the next level of safety. 

Contact us online or call our team directly at (919) 463-0669, to help you get ready and stay ready for OSHA compliance visits, today! 

5 Essentials of Construction Management Safety Audits

When it comes to the construction business, physical danger is always nearby. Essential to making sure workers remain safe is periodic safety audits. These must be handled correctly or serious flaws are likely to go unchecked.

With that being said, consistency is key and following protocols is of the most vital importance. So, if you’re on a management team a reminder of best practices is always a great way to maintain this – and ensure that you’re audits clear with smooth sailing. 

Here are five practices that can improve the effectiveness and overall success of construction site safety audits.

1. Audit Regularly

Perform at least two safety audits per year. Supervisors and managers have a tendency to become lax when they know one isn’t forthcoming. Consider mixing up when inspections occur. Recognize that safety audits are separate from facility inspections. Both are necessary when it comes to assuring compliance with safety guidelines.

2. Stay Objective

As a construction business owner, it can be difficult to accept that your workers are engaging in unsafe practices. One way of eliminating this stumbling block is by hiring outside consultants to handle your audit.

If you elect to take care of the matter in-house, form a team with three to five individuals solidly versed in workplace safety standards and that you know will provide an honest assessment. Check that those tasked with auditing your operation are well-informed regarding relevant OSHA regulations. 

3. Prepare Beforehand

Inform managers that paperwork must be gathered ahead of safety audits. Individuals conducting checks should become familiar with previous reviews and recommended corrective actions. Refresh your team on laws that must be observed and provide instruction regarding the scope of your inspection. These measures can greatly improve efficiency and overall effectiveness.

4. Analyze Thoroughly

Your safety audit is only as good as the report that your inspection generates. Make certain that every aspect of your operation is examined and incorporated into your final analysis. Take note of whether best practices are being observed, as well as whether documentation confirming safety compliance exists. Identify whether past employee training has been effective. Report summaries should offer clear suggestions for specific and feasible adjustments.

5. Use Technology

The construction industry is blessed with software that makes safety audits far easier. One of the best programs is EHS Auditing from Dakota Software. Using it makes identifying worker compliance much simpler. Built-in checklists help assure that nothing is overlooked, comparison with previous audits is a breeze and generating corrective action plans becomes a snap. 

Partner Up With The Best, To Ensure A Safe Workplace 

Conducting a construction site safety audit requires serious effort and expertise. Improperly performing a safety check may cause serious violations to be missed. If you would rather avoid the burden of executing one or desire a second opinion, hire Construction Safety Experts to manage a review on your behalf.

Our safety experts provide a comprehensive audit of your health and safety programs, training, record keeping and accountability systems to help identify deficiencies before actual inspection. Services include mock OSHA surveys, work-site evaluations, job hazard analysis and accident investigation. Contact us online or call us directly at (919) 463-0669 for a consultation today!

7 Tips to Keep Your Employees Engaged in Safety Best Practices

Safety training may not always capture your workers’ attention like it should. Nevertheless, it’s critical that safety training is effective and resonates with employees. 

As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure this happens. It’s not always an easy task making sure your employees are staying engaged and up-to-date with safety procedures. That’s why we recommend taking on different approaches. 

Running out of ideas to create engagement? No problem. Our team of safety experts put together a list of things you can do to make your training sessions more engaging for your workers.

  1. Use Visual Aids

Everyone has a slightly different working style, and some people work best with visual aids. Using charts or pictures, and even bringing equipment into a training event can help your team absorb information better.

  1. Make the Training a Dialog

Inviting participation is an excellent way to keep people tuned in. Ask people why something presents a safety concern or what would be a good way to make something safer.

  1. Give People the Opportunity to Ask Questions

One of the best ways to include key information is to give everyone the chance to ask questions. One person may have a really good question that will give everyone a better understanding of a training topic. Also, questions can clarify some of the more difficult subject matters that you’re covering, and assure that everyone is on the same page.

  1. Deter Distractions

Ask everyone to silence their phones. Delegate responsibility to one person for responding to jobsite emergencies and let everyone else give the training their undivided attention.

  1. Provide a Break Time

It can be difficult to pay attention to even the most engrossing subject matter for hours on end. Schedule a break every 90 minutes or so, so that people can regroup and give a training session the attention that it deserves.

  1. Use Practical On-the-Job Scenarios

Talking about accident prevention in abstract terms may simply not register well with a lot of your team members. Talk to your team about specific tasks or even specific projects. Substantive examples will help them visualize what you’re trying to convey and put it into practice later. 

  1. Reinforce the Importance of Safety Training Topics in Your Regular Meetings

Your workers will value knowing that their safety is more important to you than anything else happening on a jobsite. Safety training shouldn’t be a sporadic type of meeting or something that people get oriented to during their on-boarding. Instead, safety training works best as a regular feature of your staff meetings. Even just reviewing topics that you’ve already covered in a brief synopsis at job meetings will help make the material stick.

Hire A Safety Training Company 

Construction Safety Experts can help your company make training sessions more engaging and productive. Workers will be well-equipped to apply what they’ve learned in their day-to-day job duties. Contact us today for information on our safety talks or to tap into other existing resources we have available – call (919) 463-0669 or visit safety-xperts.com today! 

OSHA Trends for 2021: What Construction Companies Need To Know

If you’re in the construction industry, it should come to no surprise that technology is enhancing the way construction site safety is performed – and it will continue to do so in 2021.

With some smart new advances in Personal Protective Equipment and heightened compliance standards, the industry is taking on COVID-19 and other occupational health and safety concerns in essential ways. 

So, whether you’re in management, or like to keep up with the latest safety trends, here are four important tools for improved construction site safety this year. 

1. PPE Adaptations

New types of personal protective equipment (PPE) are available to meet the personal preferences of construction workers. Here are a few of the new and innovative items:

  •         Reusable and see-through N95 masks to promote better facial communication
  •         3D-printed masks for a better fit
  •         Respirators that accommodate beards
  •         Gloves that fit well and offer comfortable wear

The pandemic is raising awareness about the need for updated PPE designs and functions.

2. Telemedicine Protocols

Telemedicine offers a unique way to diagnose and prescribe treatment for on-the-job injuries. Safety officers use a hand-held device to connect to a medical professional who assesses the injury and determines the next steps of care on the spot.

This saves a lot of time, money and resources due to outmoded injury-care workflows.

3. Internet-of-Things (loT) Devices

The internet is changing the landscape of PPE wearable equipment. Internet of Things (IoT) devices provide biometric data via a WiFi connection and record activity rate and measure essential health information, such as heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels.

Safety professionals can monitor vital signs and determine a worker’s health while performing a job. Smart PPE devices can read blood alcohol content, to determine if a worker is complying with worksite safety regulations.

These advances will continue to transform how site safety plans and protocols are developed based on specific job assignments and worker health needs.

4. Safety Plans

While safety plans are always an important aspect of site safety, increased OSHA inspections in 2021 will intensify the need for awareness of proper protocols. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Promote safety culture at job sites
  • Offer regular training
  • Hold daily safety meetings
  • Empower workers to identify site safety issues

Safety professionals should stay informed of updates in OSHA standards as new issues may arise due to virus spread and other concerns throughout the year.

Get Expert Guidance in Safety Training and Risk Management

Construction Safety Experts provides safety training and consultation to clients in the U.S. and across the globe. Our safety professionals will evaluate your program and provide consultation on how to improve your current safety protocols.

We have trained construction safety professionals available for both short- term and long-term assignments.

Contact us online or call our experts directly at (919) 463-0669 for more information about our site-safety services today! 

Why You Or Your Supplier Should Be AISC Certified

In the steel industry, we know that safety and reliability are two of the most important qualities that clients look for in a fabricator. 

What Is AISC Certification?

The American Institute of Steel Construction sets standards for quality and safety for steel fabricators across the country. To become certified with the AISC, a supplier must submit to an audit by the AISC, which looks over the workspace, employee training and other areas of the company in order to determine if they qualify for certification. The official guide for certification standards for steel fabrication is over sixty pages long, and the auditing process is extremely thorough; the process of becoming certified can take up to six months. Aspects of a supplier that are looked at when being audited for certification include:

  • Effective implementation and communication of an emergency plan 
  • Safety training for new hires
  • Proper training for all employees

These are only a couple of the many aspects of your business that the AISC would look at in order to consider you for qualification. Generally, the goal of being audited is to improve productivity, worker safety and quality standards

What Does It Mean For You?

The AISC is a known, industry-recognized standard-maker. The thorough, rigorous process for becoming certified is well-known in the industry. Any potential employee or business partner who knows that you are AISC certified knows that your company has been thoroughly vetted to ensure that its quality is a cut above other steel fabricators. Employees will know that you value worker safety and prioritize effective communication. A potential client will know that your company will produce a high-quality product. 

This is the first and most obvious benefit: having an AISC certification differentiates your company from the competition. This certification makes you more attractive as a business partner, since passing the auditing process means that you have met its lofty quality standards. 

The other benefit is less obvious but more logical: by going through the auditing process, you will improve just about every aspect of your business. It will make you attractive to new employees and partners, but it isn’t just a certificate or another line on a resume. After your company successfully completes the process, it will run smoother, more efficiently and with better safety standards in place. This could improve morale, output and any number of other parts of your business. 

AISC certification is a labor-intensive way to make sure your business is ready to serve new clients for years to come. 

Ready to Incorporate Continuing Education and Certification? 

Construction Safety Experts offers continuing education and assistance with the certification process to steel industry professionals based on the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) certification process. AISC Certification is the most widely lauded, recognized certification program in the structural steel industry.

Contact our AISC Certification experts for assistance with the application process and preparation initial and subsequent audits with our training and mock auditing services – Contact our team online, or call (919) 463-0669 today!  

How to Avoid Accidental Crane Collisions

Cranes are some of the most ubiquitous machines in the construction industry. While their usefulness is unsurpassed, they are responsible for many of the work-related fatalities in the United States. Statistics from OSHA indicate that, in 2018, one in five of such deaths occurred on a construction site. Safety should always be of primary concern, and with proper procedures and training these losses could all but be eliminated.

On September 16, 2020, a crane collision and collapse caused workers to flee for their lives, injuring 22 of them in the process. Luckily there were no fatalities, though the incident highlights the ever-growing need for appropriate safety precautions and education. Our team of construction site safety experts put together a few simple guidelines that can go a long way to helping prevent crane-related injuries and fatalities when it comes to your job site. 

Frequent Inspections

Before starting the day, each crane on the site should be looked over by qualified personnel. This may help find problems before they become serious, such as tangled lines or structural flaws. In addition, cranes should undergo even more scrutiny regularly using a maintenance schedule that will ensure they are kept in proper working order.

Limit Movement

Cranes that operate in tandem on tracks, rails or trolleys should be set up in a way that impact is impossible. Using physical restrictors, such as rubber bumpers, act to prevent movement. Collision avoidance systems utilize sensors to detect movement and proximity, letting the crane operator know an impact is going to occur.

While not a restrictor in the conventional sense, stationing an “umpire” between the cranes will facilitate communication, making sure that they don’t move at the same time.

Tagging Out

One of the best ways to guarantee two cranes won’t be operating at the same time, is to de-energize one. A notification tag lets other employees know that a particular piece of equipment isn’t safe for use, helping to ensure its movement won’t be the cause of an accident.

Work as a Unit

It may seem faster to work alone, but it is much safer (and often easier) to work as a team. Each job site should have a reliable crew to handle cranes. This includes a qualified rigger that can set each load as well as a signalman to help operators guide their cargo into place.

Safety Training for Your Job Site 

It’s not just teamwork on the construction site that helps to keep things running smoothly. At Construction Safety Experts, we know the importance of comprehensive safety training when it comes to you and your employees.

Contact our safety experts today to learn more about how, by working together, we can make crane-related deaths and other construction site fatalities a thing of the past.

 

The Value of a Checklist for Temporary Shutdown Procedures

As recent events have shown, it is an uncertain world that we operate in. As a construction site manager, you know that it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. This can come in the form of extreme weather or a vital worker out on sick leave. There may even be times you will have to shut down an operation for an indefinite period of time.

When this happens, it’s smart to have a checklist that can guide you through the process.

The Benefits of a Concise Plan

While the coronavirus pandemic has most likely added a higher level of unpredictability to your operations, the possibility of a work disruption has always been and always will be part of the job. It’s crucial that all vital steps are taken to safely shutdown a construction site – and a professionally prepared plan has the following benefits:

  • It is ready at all times
  • It can be followed by all key personnel and managers
  • It provides clear guidance
  • It increases safety for workers and the public
  • It ensures nothing is missed

The plan should be prepared with input from multiple viewpoints. A general template should be followed, but the checklist should be updated to reflect each individual work site. The checklist should be made during a quiet, stress-free time that is conducive to clear thinking.

The Elements of a Valuable Checklist

When a work site is shut down on short notice, there is a lot to do. Many items just make life easier for workers and managers, and might even save money. Other tasks are vital to the security and safety of the site.

Here are some of the most important duties that should be performed when leaving a site:

  • Lock up all equipment and materials
  • Set up appropriate barriers and signage
  • Remove important assets and equipment
  • Secure high areas
  • Update employee contact info

The checklist should also include a reminder on such mundane tasks as taking out the trash and turning off fans and space heaters. It’s also important to make sure on-site porta-potties are cleaned and secured to make the return to work more pleasant. The list of things to do is likely to be long, making a comprehensive checklist invaluable.

The Value of Experience

A quality checklist for shutdown procedures takes your safety planning to a new level. To ensure the checklist is complete and tailored to your site, contact Construction Safety Experts by going to our website or calling (919) 463-0669.

We provide advanced safety services to meet your needs in a changing world.