How to Ensure Your Construction Job Site Meets Safety Standards

Safety Standards Construction Lawyer Edison, NJWhen it comes down to it, the safety and health of your employees are paramount. No matter the job or the place, every one of your workers should feel safe in their work environment. They should not have to worry about the chance of injury or death while at work. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 21.1 percent of worker fatalities in private industry in 2016 were in construction. That means just over one in five worker deaths from that year belong to construction workers.

It has been found that the leading causes of worker deaths in construction were falls, struck by object, electrocution and caught in/between machinery. These types of incidents accounted for around 63.7 percent of construction worker deaths. And while it is bad enough that workers are losing lives, these numbers do not even touch on the number of injuries that occur on a construction job site.

If one of your employers ends up injured on the job or even worse, dead, you could face a world of legal trouble, especially if you had the power to make the situation safer. You may end up facing a wrongful death suit or a workplace injury suit, both of which can affect you and your company’s well-being and future job prospects.

So, what things can be done to ensure your job site is meeting all necessary safety standards?

To start, you should educate yourself on the most up-to-date safety and health standards. By law, as an employer, you must provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules, and regulations issued under the OSHA act.

The OSHA act has been in place since 1970 and was designed to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for men and women. Now, this does not mean just knowing what those conditions are;o it means regularly monitoring and enforcing those rules.

On a construction site, the most common cause of injury or death is from falls. There are two main things that tend to contribute to these types of accidents: scaffolding and failure to use fall protection.

Scaffolding Accidents

According to an OSHA worker series on construction, about 2.3 million workers frequently work on scaffolds. In order for those workers to remain safe while working on scaffolds there are certain standards that should be met and checked regularly.

Scaffolds are required to be rigid and able to carry its weight plus for times the maximum extended load. It should be erected on solid footing and should not be supported by unstable objects like barrels, loose brick or boxes. In addition, the scaffold should also be equipped with toeboards, midrails, and guardrails.

Scaffolding should be inspected regularly and re-inspected throughout use. They should also never be built, moved, altered or taken down without the proper supervision. Taking care of these steps is just one piece of the puzzle to protects workers from falls.

Stay Safe from Falls

The other is making sure workers correctly use fall protection equipment. Types of equipment are safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems, otherwise known as harnesses. Making sure workers know how to equip and use these devices can go a long way in keeping them safe on the job site.

Of course, there are plenty of other pieces of safety equipment you should make sure your workers use while on the job site. Wearing a hard hat can help protect the head from suffering blows. There is always the potential for objects to fall from above or for workers to hit their head on fixed objects.

Safety vests help keep workers visible, especially in an area frequented by trucks or other mobile equipment. Wearing gloves to handle material can also be important in keeping employees safe from injury or being exposed to dangerous chemicals. And of course, make sure workers wear the proper shoe is definitely important on a job site.

Wearing work boots can protect the foot, toes, and ankle from heavy objects and other everyday hazards on a construction site. The proper work boots are also designed with grips on the soles, making it easier to have sure footing when working in precarious places, such as on a roof.

In addition, eye and face protection is important. Safety glasses or face shields should be worn during work involving welding, cutting, grinding or nailing. They should also be worn when exposed to electrical hazards.

As someone looking to keep your job site safe, you need to make sure your employees abide by these standards. You cannot be afraid to hold them accountable, especially since their safety is at stake.

Creating and utilizing safety checklists is a good way to keep yourself and your employees accountable. It also a great way to go through and make sure your job site is up to par. There are standards in place to govern things like the build and support of a trench, which is important to avoid trench collapses.

It is also important to make sure the proper people are certified to use certain equipment. Crane operators and/or forklift operators must be certified and taught how to properly and safely operate equipment. You should also make sure the equipment being used is in working order and is maintained regularly to ensure its safety.

Finally, a big part of ensuring safety on your job site is by communicating potential hazards. This does not just mean telling people by mouth to be aware of possible hazards. It means hanging the proper signs with warnings about the possible hazards that exist. These signs should be vibrant and stand out so everyone can see them.

The same should be kept in mind when dealing with hazardous chemicals. It is recommended to have and maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet for each hazardous chemical on site and make it accessible to all employees at any time and in any language necessary. Train your employees on the Sheet and about the risks associated with the hazardous chemicals.

As is clearly evident, there is a lot involved when it comes to a job site. Maintaining its safety and the safety of its workers a full-time job and one that should be taken with great care. Never worry about overdoing it — in the end, each worker’s safety and livelihood is in your hands.

This blog is posted on HRZone. Be sure to follow them for more of my human resources-related articles published weekly.

Is It Ever a Good Idea to Hire a Friend?

Small Business HireThe time has finally come. You have put in the legwork, the late nights, the money, the research and your small business is finally taking off. What started out as a laptop and desk in your spare room became something that requires office space and maybe even a warehouse for products to be sold and stored. Furthermore, you now need help. You are expanding, meeting consumer orders, packaging and shipping, and handling finances, but it has taken its toll. The next step in taking your business further and continuing to grow is hiring employees.

Instead of trying to handle everything yourself, you need to divvy up the tasks and have more hands on deck to make sure your consumers are getting what they need. You might actually be looking to act more as a supervisor and take a step back and let someone else manage your business day-to-day.

So where exactly do you start when it comes to putting your small business in another’s hands?

You most certainly want someone you can trust and someone you believe to be loyal to your business’s ideas and vision. Also, you definitely want someone you can relate to and have chemistry with to make the work you will have to do together feel a little less like work.

It is not easy to find those traits and characteristics in someone off the street, making the choice to hire a friend at the forefront of your mind. But as a small business owner, is it really a good idea to hire a friend?

It is a question that has been around for centuries and debated just as long. To this day there is no definitive or correct answer — it will most likely turn out good or bad based on your relationship. As a small business owner, it is necessary to look at the pros and cons of hiring a friend before jumping into it, as there are a handful of things to take into consideration.

An article from Business Know-How highlights a few major considerations, especially when a friend approaches you looking for work. While it may be a friend looking for a job and source of income, you still need to treat them like any other hire. You will want to consider their skill set in relation to the job, their work ethic, prior experience and any potential long-term effect it can have on your relationship.

That is the easy part. If you do not feel your friend can meet the demands of the position or even your own expectations then the simple answer is: do not hire them. If they do qualify, however, then you need to further analyze the pros and cons.

A few pros were already mentioned earlier and to reiterate: hiring a friend most likely means you already have a developed trust and agree for the most part on important work-related ideas and visions. You also already have a friendly relationship that can make working together easier and enjoyable. Furthermore, you know their reliability and if they will be able to do what needs to be done in the time required. This means you can always look to them when things get tough or you need something important to be done.

As it turns out, all of those pros can quickly turn into cons. For instance, while working with a friend can be enjoyable and relaxed, it can also lead to “goofing off.” It might end up taking longer to get a project done because of time wasted just enjoying each other’s company. Along the same lines, if you have hired a friend for your small business and they are not living up to your expectation, it will be difficult to reprimand them. On one hand, you do not want to hurt their feelings or damage your personal relationship, but on the other, you need to be the boss and get them to do their job as it needs to be done.

Other potential issues that will most likely arise can stem from money. You might feel a pressure to pay your friend more than another employee simply because they are your friend. Your friend might feel entitled to higher pay or find it easier to request pay raises for the same reason.

This can also lead to more disdain from other employees you might have. They might feel you are favoring your friend over them (even if you are not) just because of your relationship outside of work. It will also make it difficult to promote your friend over another employee or vice versa because the other employee might feel the promotion went to your friend out of favoritism. If your friend did not get the promotion they might believe it to be personal, damaging your relationship.

Another good point, brought up in an article from Business Knowledge Source, is that hiring a friend at work could mean outside, personal disputes carry into work. It can also work the other way where a work-related disagreement or issue spills over into your personal lives.

Lastly, the biggest con comes if you get pushed to the point where you have to fire your friend. Many people do not like to think about that situation when hiring a friend, but in reality, it is something that may end up a possibility. Before hiring a friend you have to know you are capable of firing them if necessary. You also need to be prepared for any repercussions from a friend you have fired. They might take it personally or feel they were wrongfully terminated for reasons beyond the workplace. Again, this just becomes another strain on your original relationship and is most likely something you do not want to have to deal with.

When it comes down to it, your main goal is to keep your business thriving and growing. Your business’s success is and should be the only priority. If that means hiring a friend will help you reach that desired success, then hire a friend. But if you feel hiring a friend will put your business’s livelihood at stake and you do not want to damage your already existent relationship, then it might not be the best move to make.

Always weigh the pros and cons and make the decision that is best for your business.

Check out this article on Medium, too!