How To Keep New Construction Workers Safe

The construction industry is growing rapidly. Because of worker shortages, you need to retain the workers you do hire. Nevertheless, new employees in construction are three times more likely to suffer an injury that causes them to lose work than their co-workers who have been working a year or more. The tone for the entire employment relationship is set during the first 90 days, which is why integrating new recruits into your safety culture is so important.

What Do Construction Injuries Cost You?

According to Safety and Health Magazine, a medically consulted work-related injury costs about $32,000. This includes administrative expenses and medical expenses, as well as the costs to you, the employer, from losing an able-bodied worker. To offset the cost of each injury, your other employees each have to produce an additional $1,000 in goods or services.

Injuries to your workers also cost you in other ways. Frequent worksite injuries can affect morale among remaining employees. Workers who feel that they are not safe in their current position may start looking for work elsewhere. If you cannot retain employees, you have to keep hiring replacements, absorbing the costs of onboarding every time.

What Can You Do To Keep New Workers Safe?

New hires in construction are more vulnerable to injury due to a lack of experience and training. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep them safe, especially during the critical initial 90-day period.

1. Set Reasonable Expectations

Safety onboarding should begin at the start of the application process. Provide job descriptions that are detailed and realistic about the physical demands the job requires. During the interview, ask specific questions of applicants about how they understood and participated in workplace safety in prior roles.

2. Provide Comprehensive Training

The training that you provide to new hires should follow a well-organized and detailed curriculum. It is not enough to explain what the safety rules are and why they are important. Employees who understand the rationale behind safety procedures are more likely to follow them.

3. Use Mentorship

Team up new recruits with more experienced employees who serve as mentors. The job of the mentors is to show the new recruits how to do the work while observing safety rules and to provide feedback when the mentees do well or when they violate safety protocols. A mentor may also be able to intervene and prevent an injury when a mentee makes a mistake.

4. Start Small

Look for lower-risk jobs that you can assign to new recruits during the initial 90 days. As they learn the safety protocols, they can gradually start to take on higher-risk assignments. It may help to create a tiered system of organizing jobs so that a new hire that reaches a certain benchmark in a low-risk position can move on to one with moderate risk.

5. Provide Positive Reinforcement

Research shows that workers are more likely to repeat desired behaviors if they receive praise for them. By contrast, constantly punishing unwanted behaviors can be disheartening. Look for opportunities to provide your new recruits positive reinforcement, and instruct trainers, supervisors, and mentors to do the same.

Award-Winning Construction Safety Experts

In addition to providing safety training and certifications, we also provide safety consulting. Contact us at (919) 463-0669 for more information about our services.


According to the Hearing Health Foundation, occupational hearing loss is a significant problem in the United States. Over 20,000 workplace hearing loss cases occur each year. About one-quarter, 24%, of hearing loss in the U.S. is attributed to workplace exposure. The annual cost to society is around $26 billion. OSHA requires employers to reduce the risk of damage to employees’ hearing from exposure to noise levels. Here are some key points to controlling noise levels in the workplace.

Know Your Noise Levels

OSHA requires a hearing conservation program when noise levels go over 85 decibels for 8 hours. You need to determine your workplace threshold to know what you need to do to combat that. Eighty-five decibels is considered loud. It’s the equivalent of heavy traffic or the sound of a blender. If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone about 2 feet away, that is considered hazardous noise. Many machines in the office and the workplace create that level of noise, but there are industries more prone to hazardous noise levels.  Measure the noise levels with a Noise Level Meter or use an app on your phone that measures decibels.

Train and Inform Employees

Employees need to be aware of occupational hearing loss to prevent it and protect against it. Employers may not be able to reduce the source of the noise, but there are ways to reduce noise exposure. Employees can reduce their noise exposure:

  •   Take a break from the noise and reduce time in noisy areas.
  •   Put barriers or increase distance between the source of the noise and the employee.
  •   Wear hearing protection in noisy areas. Make sure all employees know how to insert foam plugs correctly.
  •   Provide proper protection equipment that is in good working condition.

Set Up a System to Prevent Occupational Hearing Loss

Occupational hearing loss costs businesses and employees. Workers with hearing loss typically have a lower income. Hearing loss impacts safety, not only on the job but at home. Employers are responsible for medical costs when hearing loss occurs in the workplace. According to the CDC, with prevention strategies and technologies, occupational hearing loss is highly preventable.

  •   Monitor workers’ hearing levels by requiring an annual evaluation to know if their hearing is affected.
  •   Track noise levels in the workplace on a regular basis. When it’s over 85 decibels,
  •   Invest in equipment that is quieter.
  •   Limit a person’s exposure to loud areas.
  •   Follow all OSHA guidelines.
  •   Evaluate hearing protection for effectiveness.
  •   Maintain records of your efforts to control noise levels and to prevent hearing loss.
  •   Evaluate the success of your program to improve your efforts.

Protect Your Workforce

Occupational hearing loss is hardly ever reversible. It will be a permanent condition, which will have a profound impact for the rest of the employee’s life. Employers are responsible for providing a safe environment. Construction Safety Experts offers safety consulting services if you aren’t sure where to start or just want to improve your program. We can help you implement a program that reduces the risk of occupational hearing loss in your business. Give us a call at (919) 463-0669 today!

7 Topics To Address At Construction Safety Meetings

Safety meetings are essential for any construction company. By discussing the various potential hazards at job sites, you can reduce the chances of nonfatal and fatal injuries.

Of course, you do not have time during safety meetings to discuss every possible danger. You should instead focus on the most common causes of accidents and how to prevent them. Here are seven topics you should emphasize during construction safety training.

1. Fall Hazards

Falls are the most common cause of death at construction sites. During safety meetings, you should discuss ways to prevent both falls from a height and falls that do not involve a change in elevation. This is particularly important for employees who frequently work on ladders or scaffolds.

2. Trip and Slip Hazards

Slips and trips are common at construction sites, as well. While these incidents are not usually fatal, they can cause painful strains and sprains. They are particularly common in icy or poorly organized areas. Be sure to talk about ways to limit falls on all types of surfaces, including stairwells.

3. Electrocution Hazards

While electrocution fatalities in the construction industry have decreased in recent years, they can still occur. In fact, most electrocution deaths at worksites still take place at construction sites. During safety meetings, be sure your workers understand proper tagout and lockout procedures. They should also understand the dangers of contacting live electrical equipment, including exposed cords and overhead powerlines.

4. Caught-Between Hazards

Construction workers can easily get pinched, crushed or squeezed between multiple objects. Caught-between hazards include potentially fatal incidents such as being buried in a trench, to relatively minor accidents such as getting a hand caught in a machine. Even the latter ordeal can still be quite painful, so you should train your workers to identify and limit potential causes of caught-between accidents.

5. Struck-by Hazards

A struck-by injury occurs when a worker is hit by a falling object or by a moving piece of equipment or vehicle. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that struck-by incidents are the second-most common cause of death and the most common cause of nonfatal injury at construction sites.

While many people face struck-by hazards at work, the risk is particularly great for those in the construction industry. According to the NIOSH, construction workers are involved in more fatal struck-by incidents than those in other industries are. Construction workers are also twice as likely to suffer a nonfatal struck-by injury.

Workers can be hit by objects that are swinging, falling, rolling or flying toward them. Each safety meeting should discuss the hazards that fit into each of these categories. You should also instruct employees to safely secure all materials, and to only operate equipment on which they have been trained.

6. Material Handling

Heavy loads and materials can cause injuries in other ways, as well. Improperly carrying, pushing or pulling large boxes can also lead to spinal injuries. Workers should learn about proper lifting strategies and ergonomics. They also should understand that it is acceptable to ask another worker for help, or to use a dolly or cart when necessary.

7. Personal Protective Equipment

Construction workers need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at job sites. Unfortunately, it is easy for them to forget their goggles or hard hats, especially when they are busy or in a rush. Remind them which PPE is required for certain tasks, and emphasize why this equipment is important. Workers need to understand that PPE may be their last chance to avoid injury.

Develop a Safety Culture

Holding proper safety meetings is just one part of establishing a safety culture within your construction company. The professionals at Construction Safety Experts can keep your workers safe and reduce construction hazards. Whether you need employee training, onsite safety professionals or consultations, contact Construction Safety Experts at (919) 463-0669 today.

Ladder Inspections and Checklists for Ladder Safety

Ladders are one of the most common tools used both at home and professionally. Yet, there are still thousands of ladder accidents every year. Ensure ladder safety through regular inspections and by following approved safety guidelines. There’s more to it than you may know. So, where should you begin?

Ladder Safety Checklist

There are some universal basic points you should go over when you are inspecting your ladder before use. Keep this checklist handy so you don’t forget any of the steps. These points of simple observation could save you from a dangerous fall.

  •   Read the stickers. The manufacturer tag will contain important information like the duty rating, maximum working length, and year of manufacture.
  •   Look at the feet of your ladder. Are they level and on stable ground?
  •   Check for damage on the side rails and all of the steps. Look for rust, corrosion, dents, or debris. Substances like mud or oil could cause a slip.
  •   Fasten everything securely before climbing. Make sure rung locks and spreader bars are in place and engaged.
  •   Use the 4-1 rule for placement. Every 4 ft of height requires one foot of distance from the vertical surface.

If you discover any problems after going through the checklist, do not use the ladder without addressing the issue. For example, wipe off any mud or move the ladder to stabilize the feet. Place as many times as you need to before going up.

Guidelines for Inspecting Ladders

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets national workplace safety standards. They recommend inspecting a ladder before each use. At the minimum, a ladder should be inspected before every shift.

You should document every ladder inspection you complete. You can track the health of your ladder, ensure compliance with safety guidelines, and be prepared in the event of an accident. There are device applications and templates available for such documentation.

Defective Ladders

If you find a ladder to be defective, do not use it. Assess the damage and ascertain whether it is repairable. Once you have fixed it to the best of your ability, redo the inspection to make sure it is ready to go.

If repairs are not possible, the ladder is no longer usable. Remove the ladder from the workplace and dispose of it properly. 

Ladder Safety Education

It is vital to keep your team trained on ladder safety so that everybody is using ladders responsibly each time. Give them the tools for success and keep your workplace safe. If everybody knows what the best practice is, they can help keep each other accountable, as well.

Ladder safety is nothing to skimp on, so bring in the experts if you’re new to these standards. Whether you have a ladder for cleaning your gutters or run a team of employees who use ladders on the job, the right training is key. Contact Construction Safety Experts at (919) 463-0669 so we can provide you with comprehensive training and help your team prevent accidents.

Construction Safety Helmets vs. Hard Hats: A New Approach

For many people across the country, a hard hat is the most recognized symbol for construction workers. Putting on a hard hat is universal for entering a construction zone, whether as a tradesman or as a visitor. The safety yellow hard hat is iconic.

Now technology may make the hard hat obsolete. The latest upgrade for workers is a move toward safety helmets. However, this new approach may be facing some resistance.

The Hard Hat

World War I introduced America to the safety features of wearing protective headgear. In 1919, after returning from the war, Lt. Edward W. Bullard saw the opportunity to develop a safety hat for peacetime workers at home.

Bullard constructed the original hard hat with leather and canvas and revolutionized the safety industry. First adopted by miners, hard hats quickly spread to other industries. By 1952, fabrication switched to plastic. Since the early 2000s, all hard hat compositions have been strictly polyethylene.

The Safety Helmet

Meanwhile, safety helmets were being developed for other activities. By the early 1970’s bicyclists realized that the major cause of fatal accidents was head injuries. They began to look for helmets for safety.

Their innovations led to adding EPS foam liners to more traditional helmets for added impact protection. As years went by, inventors added venting and outer shells, and the use of these helmets expanded to other sports like skiing and rock climbing. Today sports helmets are ubiquitous.

The Construction Safety Helmet

The new construction safety helmets offer more protection than traditional hard hats. They combine the technology of both hard hats and sports helmets. Since weight is not a consideration as it is in sports, construction helmets pair a sturdy outer shell with a foam insert to offer superior protection.

Safety helmets not only shield workers from falling objects but also offer increased protection from impacts to the back and side of the head. The addition of secure chinstraps increases safety during falls by keeping helmets in place.

Pros and Cons of the New Construction Safety Helmets

Each new technology has its pros and cons, and construction safety helmets are no exception.

Pros of Construction Safety Helmets:

  • They provide increased safety, particularly from side and back impacts
  • Using the chinstrap ensures they will not fall off during a fall
  • They can be effective for up to 10 years

Cons of Construction Safety Helmets:

  • They may be heavier than a traditional hard hat
  • They can be expensive, with average models costing more than $125
  • The cultural shift away from the iconic hard hat may be difficult 

The Biggest Challenge

While the protection offered by a construction safety helmet is clearly superior, the biggest challenge to widespread adoption appears to be the reluctance of the industry to relinquish the iconic image of the safety yellow hard hat. It is proving difficult to change our collective image of the quintessential construction professional, complete with a hard hat.

As more and more safety helmets appear on job sites, and more workers are better protected, the shift to construction safety helmets will happen. In the meantime, job sites may see a mix of both hard hats and safety helmets as workers, and society, make the shift. Lead the way into the future by being an early adopter and switch yourself and your crew to construction safety helmets today. 

Contact us online or call our experts directly at (919) 463-0669 for more information on safety helmets! 


Workplace Safety: Hearing Protection

Every company’s goal should be to create a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. One way to do that is to provide hearing protection. Here is why it is essential and the types available.

Why Is It Important to Wear Hearing Protection?

First, here are some statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] regarding workplace hearing loss.

  •   Hearing loss is one of the most common illnesses on the job.
  •   Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to dangerous noise yearly.
  •   Occupational hearing loss is preventable.

What is “dangerous noise”? According to OSHA, any sound over 85 decibels requires hearing protection to avoid hearing loss. To better understand how loud that would be, here are examples of everyday sounds.

  •   Whisper – 30 dB
  •   Normal conversation – 60 dB
  •   Lawnmower – 80-85 dB
  •   Motorcycle – 95 dB
  •   Shouting or barking in the ear – 110 dB
  •   Firecracker – 140-150 dB

Any noise over 120 dB can cause immediate damage to your hearing. Once hearing loss has occurred, it does not come back. Even if the sound isn’t that loud, prolonged noise exposure can still cause problems, so it is crucial to wear hearing protection in the workplace.

What Types of Hearing Protection Are Available?

There are several choices when considering hearing protection. Choose one that is comfortable to wear and protects you from noise. Here are some common ones.

Expandable Earplugs

You can find this type of foam earplug in grocery stores and drugstores. This earplug style is easy to insert. Roll the earplug between your fingers until it is thin. Pull the top of your ear up and back to insert it into your ear canal. Then, hold the earplug in place until it expands. When sound is muffled, you have a good fit.

Pre-molded Earplugs

These earplugs are also inserted into your ear canal, but they are already shaped. Depending on the size of your ear, these might not be as comfortable as the moldable type. Another option is to have an audiologist make you custom-molded earplugs.


Earmuffs have two hard cups with soft cushions on top held together with a headband. They completely cover your ears and are good at blocking out damaging sound. This is a good option if you do not like the feel of the earplugs.

Should Hearing Protection Be In Your Safety Plan?

Every business should have a safety plan that includes hearing protection. Contact Construction Safety Experts online or call us at (919) 463-0669 to create a customized safety program for your business.


The Significance of Ex Mod for Your Safety Program

Your company’s Experience Modification or Ex Mod affects the rates the company will have to pay for Workers Compensation insurance. If you’re a safety professional, Ex Mod also provides an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of what you do.

Know What Safety Is Worth

Ex Mod is the ratio of actual workers compensation losses your company has experienced versus the losses that your company would be expected to have. If it’s higher than normal, insurance rates can be increased by additional surcharges. If it’s lower, they can be reduced by credits that offset some of the company’s premiums. The calculation takes several factors into account, but the main ones are the amount, frequency and severity of workers compensation claims. Since the number of significant incidents affects your company’s Ex Mod, your efforts to increase safety can also affect it. The things you do every day can reduce your company’s workers compensation claims and improve your Ex Mod for years to come. This is powerful proof of the financial benefit of strong safety procedures.

Show What Safety Is Worth

Your company’s management would love to reduce their insurance costs. Reducing the Ex Mod is a concrete way to do that. Since the frequency and seriousness of workplace incidents is a major contributor to Ex Mod, your role as a safety specialist lets you make a clear impact on costs. Communicating this to corporate leadership can enhance your standing and advance your career. Accurately track reductions in incidents, and show how they are related to improved safety procedures and training. By doing so, you can demonstrate how your job contributes to the company’s success.

Persuade Management to Boost Safety and Savings

One way to improve your Ex Mod is to prevent incidents, but another way is to limit the seriousness of the incidents that do occur. While you can’t eliminate all risk, there may be some measures you can take to reduce the severity of the incident and thus the overall size of the workers comp claim. Some of these options will require spending money, and all will require support from management.  This could be as simple as developing a policy to be more proactive in dealing with even minor injuries. It could also entail more substantial commitments, like investing in specialized safety training or implementing solutions that make it easier to oversee the progress of existing workers comp claims. The good news is that the clear link between Ex Mod and insurance costs can make it easier for you to make the case that improved safety is worth the investment.

For more information on better safety procedures and training that could improve your safety program while bringing down insurance costs, contact Construction Safety Experts online, or call (919) 463-0669 today!

Topics You Should Be Addressing in Safety Meetings

In every construction project, safety is paramount. Meetings discussing precautionary measures and accident prevention policies can play an important role in keeping workers safe. Here are some key topics to address in meetings.

OSHA Rules

The first safety meeting on a project should include a thorough primer on applicable OSHA regulations. It is advisable to revisit the topic of compliance at subsequent meetings. It is a good practice to include practical on-the-job examples of what people need to do to comply with regulatory safety standards when carrying out certain tasks.

Electrical Safety

Workers need to be able to recognize electrical hazards on a jobsite. Generators used to power equipment and the possibility of coming into contact with live lines could present a risk of catastrophic or fatal injury. During meetings, it may make sense to do a walkthrough of a site to identify specific hazards and give workers explicit instructions on how to avoid injuries.

Personal Protective Equipment

Contracting companies have to establish internal policies about the use of personal protective equipment. Workers should not need to make on-the-spot decisions about whether they need to use a particular item of PPE for a specific task. Instead, company policies mandating the use of PPE for completing various duties or walking through designated areas should eliminate decision-making concerning safety gear.

Beyond simply creating PPE policies, it is vital that contracting companies implement protocols for enforcing them. Project managers and foremen need to lead by example and use appropriate equipment consistently. These team leaders need to intervene when they observe that workers are not following mandates.

First-Aid Resources

Everyone on a site has to know where emergency first aid equipment is located. It is also advisable to go over what items a kit includes. A project manager should assign responsibility to a senior staff member for ensuring that kits are in correct locations and contain all essential items.

Situational Awareness

When talking to workers about safety, it is crucial to review the potential dangers of distraction on a jobsite. Workers have to be alert to their surroundings when they are in an area where heavy equipment is in use and structures in progress are unstable. Talk to workers about the possible ramifications of seemingly harmless horseplay in addition to the safety risks of cellphones on an active site.

Fall Prevention

Completing any type of work at a height puts workers at risk of falling. Even highly experienced workers are vulnerable to this especially common occupational injury. Make sure that your meeting topic includes scaffolding safety basics.

Show your workers that their safety is your priority by providing comprehensive training in project meetings. Get in touch with the safety professionals at Construction Safety Experts online or by calling us at (919) 463-0669, for help creating a training initiative that effectively mitigates risk and empowers workers to be more vigilant about their own safety.

Recognize and Resolve Hazardous Situations Faster

When it comes to safety at a construction site, most people agree with the old cliche. Prevention is better than cure. This requires recognizing potential hazards as quickly as possible before it claims casualties or human lives. For many companies, this is often easier said than done. Smaller companies, especially, have developed a bad rep for high rates of safety issues. So, how can companies of all sizes create safer construction sites?

1. Review Company Practices

Does your company have an established process for handling hazards? Are worksite supervisors and project managers following these processes when workers or passersby notice potential hazards? Here are some important steps to take while reviewing the process:

  • Estimate how often you complete hazard management activities.
  • Identify the potential victims of hazards and create a response plan for each group.
  • Determine the best frequency for routine inspections and who should complete them.

2. Encourage Hazard Reporting

Do you know one of the top reasons workers choose not to report hazards, even when they see them? Management doesn’t listen and doesn’t do anything about it. In some cases, workers fear losing their jobs.

Encourage workers to report all hazards they encounter, even when they’re not sure it’s a problem. Treat each report seriously and follow up with workers to let them know you investigated. Involve workers as often as possible in the resolution process to increase buy-in and compliance.

3. Investigate Hazard Sources

Is there a specific incident that reoccurs on your construction sites? Do workers seem to get injured in a particular area or while carrying out a specific task? Get to the root of the problem by observing the process and talking to the people involved. Reassure them that the goal is not to punish them but to investigate and resolve the hazard.

4. Document All Safety Issues

Most companies only document accidents when they occur. However, you should also document reported hazards and how appointed persons resolved the issue. Showing a consistent commitment to safety can protect the company should allegations of negligence arise. However, if there is negligence, this paperwork can also point you to the people who dropped the ball.

5. Leverage Technology

Whenever possible, rely on technology to assist you. Site inspectors can use digitized checklists on tablets or even on their phones. Workers can submit photos and descriptions of hazards via apps or even basic email. Technology also makes it easier to collect and analyze data, so you can continue to make safety improvements at your worksite.

Trust The Safety Experts

At Construction Safety Experts, we work with companies to provide construction safety training. We also provide on-site safety professionals who can ensure the continued safety of your workers and reduce the risk of accidents and liabilities.

Contact us online or call (919) 463-0669  today to discuss your options and get a free quote!

What Happens During and After a Construction Site Accident Investigation?

Construction work is inherently hazardous, and accidents occur in and around sites all the time. To minimize the number of injuries, state and federal governments have introduced safety guidelines.

However, accidents happen, and once the injured person has been treated, an investigation is conducted in an effort to prevent future injuries.

Here is an overview of what to expect when a site accident investigation is needed. 

Steps in the Investigation Process

The first step in the investigation is to secure the area and call the designated investigator. What follows next is:

  • If the injured person is able, speak with him or her, as well as any potential witnesses.
  • Use notes, photos, videos or some combination of each to document the scene.
  • Create your report, listing the determining cause.
  • Make recommendations for preventive measures.

Once the report is complete and recommendations are put into action, the final step is to follow up and ensure they remain in action.

Things You Will Find in the Investigation Report

First, anyone involved in the accident, including witnesses, and the investigation team will be named. The investigator is typically the supervisor on duty at the time of the accident, but safety experts may be called in as well.

Second, every object on the scene is thoroughly investigated and included. This means any equipment or piece of property within the near vicinity of the accident is evaluated and documented in detail.

The pertinent information to collect is situational and therefore, varies; however, here are a few characteristics about the accident you may find:

  • Details about the injury, including where the body was injured and to what severity.
  • Details about the actions that led to the accident.
  • A narrative of the accident compiled from witness testimony.
  • Timestamps, including the worker’s shift information and whether or not he or she was supervised at the time.
  • A description of the worker, physical and tenure in the company.

Attention to detail is crucial during documentation and will be reflected in the final report.

The Final Steps

The last phase of an accident investigation is determining the cause and documenting corrective actions. Causal factors are meant to be thorough and descriptive. If the employee did not follow safety procedures, the report should detail why not.

If he or she was following the procedure, what element of it contributed to the accident? This evaluation leads to corrective action, which can entail anything from new training methods to the elimination of the procedure entirely. Every corrective measure should have a supervisor assigned to ensure its implementation.

Keep an investigation kit on-site at all times, and include everything you might need in the event of an accident.

Want To Ensure A Safe Work Site? Hire The Experts. 

When it comes to workplace safety – especially on a construction site, it’s best to not take any chances. Hiring a safety expert consulting company will get you and your team to where they need to be.

For more information on best practices to keep your team safe on the site, contact Construction Safety Experts online, or call us directly at (919) 463-0669 today!