If you’re in an industry where safety is an important concern, a safety checklist becomes a must. However, it’s something that can literally save lives when it comes to the construction industry.
Construction jobs tend to be very dangerous in nature to say the least. There are many hazards at a construction site that can very well lead to a disaster, and are hence best avoided.
It’s the contractor’s job to make sure potential risk factors are averted and a safe working environment is maintained, both before starting as well as during the work.
Importance of a Safety Checklist
A safety checklist can go a long way in improving the level of safety at the worksite, as well as reducing the chances of potential accidents. Ideally, the contractor should come up with one before even starting the work, in order to make sure they don’t miss identifying any of the potential risks.
This especially includes the risks that they may already be aware of, those that are believed to be common factors leading to accidents at other construction sites. Furthermore, a safety checklist can also be a great way to make sure that you, as a contractor, are complying with Work Health and Safety Regulations.
Let’s take a quick look at just some of the many important reasons why a safety checklist is an absolute must.
We have already talked about this above so we won’t go into details here. However, if you have been in the construction industry from even a short time, you definitely know the threats everyone working at a construction site is faced with.
The use of equipment such as cranes, saws and many other similar ones turns out to be a cause of many potential risks. A good safety checklist can help avoid these risks to a great extent, given that it’s ensured everyone follows it on a daily basis.
While it’s definitely not the primary reason to have a safety checklist, having one does reduce the overall costs of the project quite a bit. As accidents are very common at construction sites, it also means spending a heavy amount just on the recovery of workers as well as the damaged caused to the worksite. On top of that, the potential delays on the project that may result from a severe injury can also be harmful for your budget.
Lower Insurance Costs
This is kind of a hidden benefit of having safety checklists. While it may not seem a direct benefit, construction companies with a very good safety track record can get considerably lower insurance costs than others without an impressive safety track record. That undoubtedly is a vital parameter that you want to take into consideration when you are in charge of a construction project.
Fewer Legal Disputes
As a continuation of the previous point, a solid safety checklist can save you from a lot of trouble when it comes to construction disputes. Having a detailed list with the various significant safety parameters ensures there will be no unpredicted disagreements over safety issues. Furthermore, in that manner you can be sure that you have done your best for the safety of your team. This is something indispensable for anyone who is working in construction and can be appreciated by those who work with you.
And a Couple of Challenges
When it comes to safety checklists, there is no doubt that project managers should be all for it. Nevertheless, there are a few challenges that have to be taken into account while building your checklist. We have listed the most crucial of them below:
Paperwork can be a serious pain when we are talking about safety checklist. There are so many different aspects that have to be considered and eventually covered in written form. This can take a lot of time and undermine the progress of your project.
From a theoretical point of view, keeping track of every single dangerous that may pop up on site is more than necessary. However, this always isn’t easy. There are simply too many different parameters that should be taken into account. Especially when we are talking about a new type of project in an unfamiliar area.
Convince People To Be Careful
By now, let’s suppose that you have managed to overcome the aforementioned obstacles. Here is the last and probably higher. Making your team actually taking the safety checklist seriously can be harder than you think. There are many workers, especially the more experienced ones, who develop through the years an illusion of full safety due to their great experience. In cases like that, it can take great effort to convince your team that regardless of their skills and knowledge they have always to take safety measures very seriously.
Things to Include
You should ideally not only come up with as many things as possible in your safety checklist even before you start the work, but also keep adding to it as you come across newer threats. It’s an ongoing procedure and it can always become better on the way. That being said, here are some of the common and essential things to be included:
- Site inspections to look out for small structures that weren’t a part of your plan, and other similar things that may need your attention.
- Making the employees aware of the potential hazards and risks before starting the work, so that they can avoid them if the situation arises.
- Placing a fence around the site in order to keep the outsiders from entering the site without permission, and exposing themselves to the risks they may not be aware of.
- Providing all the workers with the required protective equipment as well as making sure it’s being used by them properly.
- Making sure first aid facilities are always available at the site.
- Placing construction signs around the site to make the public aware of the hazards and risks they may be exposed to if come in close proximity of the site.
It’s evident that safety checklists have tremendous importance for every construction project. Putting them together can tough and it requires a lot of attention and experience. There surely is a learning curve in the whole process and that is why you have to invest a lot of time in inspecting the construction site and in talking openly with your team about the daily dangers that it may face. In that way, you can be confident that you did your best in creating a safety checklist that save lives.
About the author:
Anastasios Koutsogiannis is working as marketing coordinator in GenieBelt, a construction management and mobile tool.