Safety on projects is increasingly important for a successfully completed project in financial outcomes, as well as public perception. In addition, it is just the right message to send to all of the team by saying that it is unacceptable for anyone to be injured.
Some time ago, a construction company executive at a meeting of key staff asked 10 people to stand up. He then asked, "Would each of you volunteer to get hurt on our projects this coming year?" He asked, because that is how many were injured in the previous year.
No one volunteered to be hurt.
An effective safety program is behavioral-based. If the culture of all team members on a project is one of proactively looking for hazards before someone is injured then this model will be very successful. If the attitude of looking for potential hazards is started at the preconstruction phase of a project, is discussed at all design review meetings and carried into the construction phase, the project team can accomplish no accidents or damage to property. This should always be a project goal!
Designers have to be sensitive to designing a facility that is not only safe to operate, but also safe to build. Inclusion of contractors during early design can be valuable in opening up this necessary dialogue on safety considerations during different phases of the project.
Strategies that should be considered during the preconstruction phase include:
- Allowing adequate room on the site to build
- Depth of trenches
- Fall protection
- Heavy lifts (insist on lift plans)
- Potential prefabrication
- Limiting hot connections
- Identification of underground facilities
- Protection of public
The design-builders can review the four areas of focus of OSHA early in preconstruction phases to review scope and drawing with safety in mind, The OSHA points of focus are:
- Pinch points(caught in or between)
Integrated project delivery teams are charged with designing and constructing facilities that will be safe for all owner employees to operate. In addition to considering project safety for the owner, the team should consider safety during construction at every design review. The goal of integrated teams should be to improve all project outcomes through a collaborative approach of aligning common goals through shared risk and reward, as well as early involvement of all parties.
Actions by an integrated team during construction to make certain that the project will be safe may include:
Designing functioning equipment orientation and placement as well as organize work to reduce worker’s exposure to harm. This will also take place during the work with activities like barricades, redesign of rigging, locating of stored materials leveling walk areas, etc.
Through the planning process, risk can be controlled early on by keeping the site uncluttered and having minimum crew member on tasks.
Making certain that training of workers is part of the overall project, allowing time and resources to properly train the jobsite crews to recognize and mitigate risks.
Proper Use of Personal Protective Equipment is a must throughout the project.
- Materials Tools and Equipment
Properly used and maintained materials, tools or equipment are needed to perform the work safety. This category should be checked constantly during the construction phase.
Our project goals on collaborative projects include reduction of costs, first class quality and speed of delivery, however, the goal of ZERO accidents and incidents should always be included. Accidents not only hurt people but cost in property damage as well as negative public perception.
Returning home each day safe and healthy is what we owe our workers and this can be done through proper planning throughout the project.