As a personal injury lawyer, I know construction sites can be hazardous. I have filed many personal injury lawsuits against construction companies due to unsafe construction sites. Often we think the dangers are only for the employees that are required to work at treacherous heights and use potentially dangerous tools. But construction sites can also be dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists that pass by or though the job site. It’s important that site managers and construction company owners take reasonable efforts to make their job sites safe.
As deadlines loom, however, it can be easy to let the typical procedures lapse. It only takes one small mistake for an injury or death to happen on a construction site. Here are a few things you can do to avoid injuries (and a potential lawsuit) on the jobsite.
From the start, you should install safety procedures in place that are part of every employees hiring and training. The procedures should be in writing and the employees should sign off on them that they understand the procedures and agree to adhere to them while on the clock. Understand the top safety risks every construction site faces and make sure your protocols prevent them. Site managers should take responsibility for keeping public walkways clear and overseeing scaffolding and ladders. When employees violate safety protocols, initiate disciplinary action to show that you take the rules very seriously. Over time, workers will be more mindful of the regulations, if only to avoid being reprimanded.
With so many day-to-day duties, it can be easy for employees to overlook important safety measures. Create a site inspection checklist and require supervisors to complete it every day. Chances are, you can trust your site supervisors to complete this part of the job. If not, randomly audit the site, including reviewing the checklist, to keep supervisors on track. If in-person audits aren’t an option, you can instead require supervisors to regularly submit their daily and weekly checklists, complete with date and initials. Combine this with occasional surprise visits and you’ll have a safer jobsite.
Surveillance cameras can go a long way toward securing your construction site. Not only will they let you keep an eye out for vandals and thieves, you can also occasionally check in during work hours to ensure safety protocols are being followed. After reviewing the worksite, you may also discover a danger that wasn’t addressed when you were coming up with the initial safety protocols. You could also ask a safety expert to check the footage and identify measures you can take to make the site even safer. These videos will also be important evidence if you find yourself a party to a claim or lawsuit.
Have Adequate Lighting
When construction work starts, it can be easy to assume that projects will be completed during the long daylight hours of summer. However, as the days grow shorter throughout the year, workers may often find they’re toiling away in the early pre-sunrise hours. Sunset can come fairly early in the wintertime, as well, forcing employees to spend the last part of the day working with insufficient light. With insufficient lighting, passersby might not see your workers, dangerous road conditions or expensive equipment. This can lead to injuries, with the business’s failure to light the area creating liability for that employer.
Install Safety Signage
You should always have signage that warns about the most common dangers. These signs should serve as a reminder of the various risks workers face, while also warning any visitors and passersby at the site. While signage will not completely replace the need for managerial guidance on proper safety procedures, it will help reduce your liability. Failure to have a signage will lead to more injuries claims. Make sure that managers monitor the site on a regular basis, paying particular attention to whether or not posted signage is adequate and visible.
Host Safety Meetings
No matter how experienced your teams are, it’s important to occasionally provide a refresher on worksite safety. Through OSHA, you can get the information you need to conduct regular training sessions for your crew. You may also be able to locate a local certified trainer who will come to your site and discuss worksite safety with your employees. This gives you a chance to create a training program that is customized to your own unique work environment.
Even one injury on a construction site can be devastating to a business. Any good manager values the safety of the employees and the public at large. By prioritizing a safe and secure job site, your business can avoid injuries put you at risk for worker’s compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits. Always remember, safety first!