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.

OSHA Covid-19 Updates You Should Be On Top Of

As COVID-19’s presence continues to affect how people live and work, work sites must prepare to adapt as well. Because of this, OSHA has issued policy updates and revisions concerning how businesses should handle COVID-19. This includes audits, inspections and record-keeping.

While some of these updates are contingent on state and local legislation, others apply on a federal level and must be heeded by all businesses.

Relevant Enforceable Standards

Some existing OSHA standards concerning pathogens have a clear connection to COVID-19. These include:

  • 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, concerning Personal Protection Equipment (PPE);
  • Subpart J, on general environmental controls;
  • Subpart Z, on toxic and hazardous substances;
  • 29 CFR 1904, on reporting cases of workplace illnesses.

These standards still need to be observed and upheld by employers, though some specific details have been revised as well.

OSHA Recordkeeping Revisions

Like any illness that an employee may contract, COVID-19 is considered a recordable illness—that is, if the disease was contracted in a work environment, the employer will need to record it, and any time at work missed, in their 300 log. Because of the difficulty in ascertaining evidence on where the employee was exposed, though, OSHA does not mandate that extensive medical investigations are required.

Nonetheless, employers should still conduct inquiries by consulting with employees that have fallen ill and investigate their local work environments.

On-Site Inspections

Since evidence of work-related COVID-19 incidents is not always straightforward to find, preemptive measures to reduce the risk of contracting COVID at work are valuable. Businesses should expect increased in-person inspections from OSHA, making it critical that they observe protocols to create a safe workspace and protect employees. Some actions to take include:

  • Keep employees informed on news from the CDC, WHO and other authorities;
  • Develop a Pandemic Preparedness Plan and provide training to employees;
  • Regularly disinfect the workplace and encourage workers to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid openly coughing or sneezing and respect distance from other workers and customers when possible;
  • Urge employees to stay at home when sick. Employees may see it as risky to lose wages and/or sick days, so permit them to work remotely whenever possible or help cover with paid time off to protect their livelihood.

If you’re looking to keep up with new OSHA updates during the pandemic and to keep your employees safe, turn to Construction Safety Experts for safety consulting and training on health regulations, along with services like auditing, operator training and more.

Contact our experts by calling (866) 483-0669 or via our website here, today! 

How To Run an Effective Construction Safety Committee Meeting

In 2018 alone, more than 21% of all fatalities in the US occurred within the construction industry. Not surprisingly, construction is one of the most dangerous industries for people to work in when it comes to injuries and the risk of death.

This is an important fact that more employers need to tackle head on – and one of the first places to start is with your management team and how they are communicating with their crews. Unfortunately, safety committee meetings often fail to adequately address these issues.

So, if you’re looking for insight on how to run a quality and effective construction safety meeting, our team has provided a few tips that are on the top of our list. Check them out below. 

  1. Show Commitment

Many employees feel that safety committee meetings are just a way for employers to save face or ensure basic compliance. When companies show true commitment to safety for both compliance and selfless reasons, employees might engage more in the process.

  1. Create a Designated Time

Construction is a busy industry that requires hands-on work. Because of this, safety committee meetings often get pushed to the back burner and resurface when everything else gets taken care of.

To show that it is a priority, set a specific time for these meetings and stick to that schedule.

  1. Make It Interactive

Construction is a serious industry, but there are times when employers can inject some topics of general interest into the experience. This is one of them. Employers can use specific themes for the meeting, such as sports or culture.

Elect leadership positions in the committee annually and give everyone the opportunity to participate in some way.

  1. Take Suggestions

Workers are in the best position to make suggestions on issues they want to tackle in the meetings and solutions they think might work. Workers can also vote on the themes you use, refreshments used for the meeting, when it takes place and several other factors.

Why leave everything up to the elected leaders alone when they can get free help?

  1. Bring in the Experts

There are many occupational safety experts who are only too willing to speak with workers and further educate them on how to stay safe. Invite them to the safety meetings to add more credence to the discussions. They are also often in the best position to answer questions both employers and employees might have.

  1. Ensure Followup

Do your safety committee meetings achieve all you set out to do by the end of them? There’s really no way to know without following up on the meeting. Many people joke about follow up meetings for regular meetings, but there is no need for this- especially when it comes to safety. Send out an email or allow people to submit anonymous survey responses.

One Step Further 

Safety on the job requires a team effort. At Construction Safety Experts, we are committed to contributing to these team efforts. Contact us today for information on our free safety talks or to tap into other existing resources we have available – call (866) 463-0669 or visit safety-xperts.com today! 

COVID-19 And Construction: Workplace Health Safety Best Practices

We find ourselves in trying times these days – afterall, who would have thought that we would begin 2020 with a global pandemic? And given the health climate, it is important that everyone does their part, in order to help prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus, best they can.

At a personal level, people are washing hands, wearing face masks and distancing themselves socially. While professionally, many businesses have begun working from home to prevent the spread.

Most construction businesses are continuing to work forward during this time and don’t have the option to practice Safe At Home guidelines, so it is vital that those, especially in management levels, practice safe protocols in order to protect their vendors, clients and employees. Don’t stress; we are here to help.

Here are some key factors to consider if you’re still managing projects.

COVID-19 Basics

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent COVID-19, is to avoid being exposed to this virus and person-to-person contact is the most common way the virus is transmitted.

The virus can be spread through respiratory drops when a person talks, sneezes or coughs. Unfortunately, not everyone who has the virus appears sick, and it can even take 2 to 14 days after exposure to have symptoms. There is no vaccine yet, nor any medication approved to treat COVID-19, so the best way to prepare ourselves, is to look at what we know for certain – the signs. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (or any other contagious illness for that matter) should self-isolate at home in order to best prevent spreading the illness.

Keeping a Construction Work Environment Safe

OSHA recently released “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” to help businesses prevent the spread. Keep in mind, some local communities have separate guidelines and it is up to your business to stay on top of any regulations that are being handed down. If your business is to continue being operational, you should be proactive in mitigating the spread of Coronavirus, by at the very least, doing the following: 

  • Ensure your staff and contractors know to stay home if experiencing symptoms.
  • Ramp up your hygiene procedures. Clean surfaces with a disinfectant that combats the virus after contact – and regularly. 
  • Establish a screening protocol at every work site to make sure that infected personnel don’t enter.
  • Limit people at each work site – avoid large gatherings.
  • Make sure each person at the work site washes their hands often or uses hand sanitizer.
  • Have a daily briefing to go over protocols. Give people time to follow decontamination procedures and make sure that distancing is being followed.
  • Track who comes and goes each day in case someone is symptomatic. You will need to contact everyone who was exposed.
  • Have a plan to shut down a work site if an employee or contractor does become infected. Take steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to prevent a complete shutdown of your business.

Get Help Implementing COVID-19 Procedures For Your Workplace

Learn more about COVID-19 workplace safety when you contact Construction Safety Experts. We are a construction safety training and consulting company that can help you keep your team safe. Contact us online or call our office at (919) 463-0669 today!

Four Major OSHA Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

Anybody who works in an industrial or manufacturing field knows how important OSHA compliance is. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for policing work sites for unsafe practices and any infraction can incur a major fine or even halt operations.

Maintaining perfect compliance is certainly a challenge, but knowledge and planning ahead can help. You need to ensure that you stay clear of any costly OSHA mistakes, including the following four common ones, as you head into 2020.

Lack of Fall Protection or Scaffolding

When you think about the risk of falling or the need for scaffolding, you might imagine a construction site and indeed these standards are important in the construction industry.

When it comes to fall risk, every industry needs to be proactive in preventing any potential accidents and maintaining OSHA standard compliance. If you are working at elevated heights, scaffolding is absolutely imperative to ensure safety and compliance.

Exposure to Respiratory Risk Without Protection

There are many environments where staff are exposed to respiratory risks, but this risk can usually be mitigated by the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). If an employer does not provide PPE, employees may be exposed to such risks and suffer unnecessary injury.

It is vital that respirators be available and worn by staff in any area where there may be airborne hazards.

Insufficient or Improper Hazard Communication

Lack of hazard communication is yet another common OSHA infraction that must be avoided at all costs. Hazards are inevitable in the workplace, but if there is a known risk present, it is absolutely imperative that it be announced and identified properly.

Further, employers must provide clear instructions to employees in order to ensure they are able to avoid the hazard. Failure to comply with this OSHA standard is incredibly dangerous.

Risk of Lockout/Tagout

At some point, the machinery in your workplace will need to be serviced or repaired by a professional. Whether it’s quick routine maintenance or a lengthy repair, you need to ensure that the personnel completing the work is safe while they service the machine.

If a piece of equipment were to power on while it is being serviced, it would likely cause serious injury or even death to the maintenance professional. A lockout or tagout is used to isolate the energy produced by a machine or prevent its operation until the maintenance is complete. 

Failure to utilize this precaution can be a deadly OSHA violation.

If you want to ensure all your bases are covered and you are OSHA compliant, Construction Safety Experts can help. Contact our team of professionals online or call  (866) 463-0669.

Visit safety-xperts.com for a full list of our services and expertise today.