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Process Improvement

How to Incorporate Safety Management in a Construction Project

Written By: Joe Demski
July 26, 2022
7 min read

Alongside client satisfaction, profitability, and employees’ satisfaction, safety management factors into a project’s success. A project manager is responsible for ensuring that contractors and other worksite employees follow safety standards and practices.

Other responsibilities include conducting site audits, establishing safety rules, ensuring employees are up-to-date on safety training certifications, and supplying the proper surveys to the appropriate agencies.

Safety management can become a time-intensive, document-heavy part of construction project management. Fortunately, various software programs, standards, and agencies are available to help safety leaders keep track of occupational safety documentation and codes.

What is Safety Management?

Safety management is part of a company’s broader environment, health, and safety (EHS) system. It refers to the company’s processes, framework, and measures that help prevent workplace injuries, accidents, and fatalities.

Employees utilize these protocols to identify and manage risks on-site. This systematic approach includes the type of software used by employees, the processes and documents used to identify risks, and the training programs taught to mitigate employee harm.

The Importance of Safety Management

The National Safety Council states that an organization’s safety management program should be designed to reduce workplace incident risks, injuries, and deaths. A safer work environment is achieved through data-focused improvements and assessments.

The responsibility of creating a safer workspace and culture should be shared by various organization departments, from managers to specialty contractors. An efficient safety management program helps your team meet critical goals throughout the project’s duration.

These goals encompass other priorities besides profitability.

  • Ensure public safety

  • Save time and money

  • Establish operations, protocols for future projects

  • Meet health and safety standards to avoid violations

Key Components of Safety Management

Occupational safety falls into five key areas.

Corporate safety leadership

Safety management is not the contractor or project manager’s sole responsibility. A safety-oriented culture enlists all employees and employers regardless of position.

Risk management

This formal process is designed to determine workplace hazards and evaluate and analyze the risks that accompany these hazards. The next step is removing these hazards or mitigating risks or outcomes to minimize employee harm.

Safety training

Workers must be trained in various processes, operations, and procedures. Training sessions should be held regularly so that all employees are adequately informed about health risks, emergency preparedness protocols, and other hazard communications.

Operational control

In a safety management program, operational control, also known as operational control and planning, refers to how a company identifies the processes needed to be performed to not only achieve efficiency but mitigate risks.

The proceeding includes “checking any faults and [fixing] these with corrective actions so that nonconformities are minimized,” according to OHSAS (occupational health and safety standard), the global equivalent of America’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In construction, risks are identified through risk assessments and worksite audits.

Effective response

A safety management program like Quickbase can make an Emergency Preparedness plan available to employees at all times, and features like emergency notifications can prevent injury by enabling quick exchange between teams and team members.

How to Make Sure You’re Safety Compliant

Find secure, easy-to-use software like Quickbase that centralizes construction safety management tools and resources to meet safety compliance. When companies implement technological tools on a construction site to meet EHS standards and mitigate risks, it can improve safety outcomes and administrative efficiency.

Harvey Building Product, a window, doors, and building products manufacturer, reduced safety incidents and lost time in their organization by 31% and 70%, respectively, when they adopted Quickbase.

The following are concrete steps to help ensure workplace processes satisfy safety compliance.

1. Conduct a construction risk assessment

Before construction begins, risk assessment allows stakeholders to focus on, define, and identify risks that can cause injury, illness, damage, or fatality.

Beyond this, the project manager should hold safety meetings, training, and refresher training for the organization or company.

2. Make OSHA requirements available to all workers

These legal standards remind employees to take proper health precautions. Review construction hazards regularly with contractors.

3. Create a worksite health and safety program

When companies implement this program, it covers common health risks and injury causes on-site.

  1. Clean up spills

  2. Operate machinery

  3. Wear proper equipment

  4. Prevent accidents

4. Routing training and knowledge testing

Enlist employees in OSHA education programs and perform regular surveys for new hazards like toxic chemicals, metals, and noise.

5. Documentation and Reporting

This is where digital safety management programs can streamline your company processes. Quickbase provides numerous benefits to an organization such as seamless operation by integrating project management and team communication with health and safety compliance documentation.

Common Causes of Workplace Accidents and Solutions

There are the “Fatal Four” elements that lead to serious harm or death in construction: Falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and getting trapped between something.

These categories accounted for 60% of construction worker deaths in 2017.

It’s no surprise that the construction industry has a higher fatal injury rate than other industries across the US, according to OSHA.

Work location

Falls are the leading cause of construction workplace harm/fatality.

Falls from height

  • Properly install scaffolding, rail systems, and safety nets

  • Ensure that the proper ladder is used for the type of job in question

  • Ensure that the ladder is functional with no visible or structural damage

  • Avoid overwhelming the ladder’s weight capacity

  • Clear stairways

  • Ensure stairway surfaces are dry

  • Install stairway handrails

Dangerous processes

Construction workers are at a higher risk of workplace incidents, so a focus on protection is important.

Demolition and excavation

  • Ensure that excavations don’t cripple nearby scaffoldings and other structures

  • Wear proper equipment

  • Keep site clean during demolition

Getting trapped or struck by machinery/structures

  • Ensure employees know how to operate heavy machinery (e.g. cranes) safely

  • Inspect machinery for damage

  • Follow machinery’s weight limits

  • Ensure the area is clear to avoid striking other employees

  • Ensure that a first-aider is available on-site

Hazardous construction materials

Many construction procedures include handling hazardous building materials classified as corrosives, heavy metals, combustible liquids, toxins, carcinogens, and other harmful substances.

Hot or harmful substances such as cement, asbestos, and liquid chemicals

  • Wear proper PPE

  • Provide access to hazard communication protocol for workers (e.g. chemical spill plan)

Electrical discharge

  • Ensure all power is off before proceeding with electrical circuit work

  • Move equipment and other materials away from electrical power lines

  • Replace damaged cords

Hazardous airborne pollutants

Unfortunately, construction workers are at a higher risk of developing respiratory problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and silicosis.

Presence of silica, dust, and other particulate matter

  • Proper PPE for eyes, face, hands, and head

Human oversight

There are ways to prevent human error and mitigate the effects of these errors.

Unmaintained machinery

  • Inspect machines or tools for damage

Little to no precautions/safety training

  • Require safety training for all

FAQs

What do you mean by safety management?

Health and safety management is a company’s set of methods to identify and mitigate risks. These processes, standards, and programs are part of a company’s environment, health, and safety system.

What are the 4 components of a safety management system?

  • Safety policy

  • Safety risk management

  • Safety assurance

  • Safety promotion

What is the importance of safety management?

A commitment to health helps reduce workplace harm and fatality, among other benefits. Additionally, proper workplace safety management methods save time and money by reducing employee claims and delays and standardizing safety procedures.

What are the 5 elements of safety?

  • Proper safety gear and tools

  • Well-maintained, functioning machinery/equipment

  • Proper training and regulations

  • Removing hazards

  • Employing technology to minimize risk

Written By: Joe Demski

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