The construction industry has enjoyed continuous growth for the last decade, with more projects taking place in both residential and commercial environments. While becoming a licensed construction contractor still provides a profitable career path for those with the skills and knowledge to succeed, the industry remains riddled with hazards and risks to both workers and project owners.
As a construction contractor, it is essential to recognize what risks are present on each job site and stay up to date with the most current safety tips and recommendations for today’s construction landscape. Doing so helps licensed contractors stay out of harm’s way while reducing the potential for costly liabilities throughout their career.
1 – Start with Your Attire
Being safe on a construction site as a contractor begins with having the right clothing. It may sound simple, but choosing the most appropriate footwear, safety gear, and other attire is crucial to keeping accidents to a minimum. Make sure the footwear you choose is strong enough to stand up to the job, and that you always protect your head with the right safety helmet. It is also recommended that contractors utilize glasses and gloves when the situation calls for it.
2 – Take Your Time with Heavy Objects
Achy joints and sore muscles are the norm for many construction contractors, but you can reduce these pains by focusing on your lifting techniques. There are many heavy objects scattered around job sites, many of which pose a threat to your safety if you are not careful. Always take the time to lift these items correctly, bending at the knees, not the back, and ensuring your footing is stable before each move.
3 – Don’t be a Spectator
Construction sites are often crowded areas, and it is easy to be drawn into watching work being done. However, a work area that is crowded with spectators creates unnecessary risk both to those on the sidelines and those at work. Limit the amount of time you spend simply watching other tasks being done, and always clear project areas before significant work starts. This prevents injuries and accidents each day.
4 – Pay Attention to the Weather
Contractors working on either residential or commercial sites know that bad weather conditions can stop work in its tracks. But with deadlines looming, some may feel it necessary to push through even when the conditions aren’t ideal. Never push the envelope by working in nasty weather conditions, and check what the day is going to be like before planning out what will be accomplished that day.
5 – Check Your Equipment
Many job sites require a variety of tools, equipment, and machinery to get the job done right. It may be easy to assume that whatever piece of equipment you are about to use is in the best working condition. However, taking the time to ensure it is safe to use, free of any hazardous issues, is key to keeping yourself and other contractors safe on the job.
6 – Clean Things Up
Construction is a dirty job for some, but that doesn’t mean that has to be the standard. Having a clean work area, free of debris and trash, makes it easier to spot risks and hazards for everyone involved. Be sure to dispose of unwanted or unneeded materials, clean up spills and standing water, and remove waste promptly each day.
7 - Get the Right Training
In the construction business, the majority of licensed contractors get their training and education from on the job experiences. In fact, you are required to have some form of education to qualify for your contractor license and construction bond in most states. You can ensure the safety of you and your co-workers by getting additional training along the way. This may include in-person or online courses that provide insight into construction best practices, management, and of course, safety regulations and rules. This simple focus on gaining more knowledge helps maintain a safe work environment.
8 – Heavy Machinery Use
You probably don’t think twice about getting on and off heavy equipment around the job site. Many contractors go into auto-pilot mode when doing so, but it pays to take an extra moment to ensure you are doing it the right way. Always double and triple check that your footing is secure, as is your hand grip. Take a close look at the machinery to identify any areas of concern, like wet floors or slippery handles. Adding in this brief exercise can eliminate unnecessary injury when getting on and off equipment.
9 – Encourage and Follow Ladder Safety Rules
Falls and corresponding injuries are common when it comes to ladders, according to recent reports from OSHA. Many construction contractors fail to take the time to follow through with ladder safety recommendations, like having the right number of contact points. Understanding ladder safety rules and using them each time can reduce the potential for falls and accidents when it comes to going up or down.
10 – Be Prepared for the Worst
Even after following all of these safety tips, construction sites still pose a threat to contractors each day. You can ensure you are prepared for the worst case scenario by having a plan of action should something go wrong. Also, contractors should carry a phone or radio at all times to be used in the event of an accident, injury, or other emergency. This can also be used to share timely communications about potential hazards or areas of the job site to avoid.
Safety for construction contractors means taking the time to know what hazards are present, and following up by eliminating them when possible. Some risks cannot be completely avoided on a job site, but taking these precautions can lend a necessary hand. Construction contractors who follow these safety recommendations benefit greatly, through fewer claims and expenses associated with those claims, a happier, healthier workforce, and a more productive job site.