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August 17, 2017
Tips for an effective construction safety program

An effective construction safety program goes beyond compliance to address overall loss control, which includes employee protection, property damage, and liability claims. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has created a model safety program for builders. It’s built on a solid foundation of safety principles that will resonate with safety professionals in the building industry and beyond.

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Here’s what NAHB recommends:

  • State goals in writing. Determine what you want to achieve, such as employee protection, prevention of injury and illness, and prevention of fires, vehicle accidents, or property damage.
  • Write an action plan. The plan should reflect your commitment to run every project safely and comply fully with relevant laws, provide necessary safety equipment, and conduct ongoing training and education.
  • Establish a budget. In addition to equipment and PPE, factor in insurance costs, personnel to oversee the program, and time for safety meetings and program development.
  • Designate a safety champion. This could be an employee who is passionate about safety and has the full support of management.
  • Define specific responsibilities for key individuals, including the company president/owner, site superintendents, field employees, contractors and subcontractors, and others.
  • Develop and implement jobsite safe work practices. These should address federal and state regulatory requirements, as well as specific hazards and conditions applicable to the worksite.
  • Establish accountability procedures. Make sure employees know that safety is a part of their job and they will be held accountable for it.
  • Develop and deliver a comprehensive training program that includes supervisors and employees. Make sure to include emergency preparedness procedures in your training and have supervisors deliver regular toolbox talks to reinforce more in-depth training.
  • Conduct regular jobsite inspections and hazard analyses.
  • Develop recordkeeping procedures. Make sure to include required documentation for workers’ compensation, OSHA injury and illness records, and additional company records pertaining to safety.
  • Establish accident reporting and investigation requirements. Focus on information gathering and preventing future incidents, not on finding fault. Include near misses.
  • Develop and enforce a contractor safety policy.
  • Evaluate your program’s effectiveness.
  • Encourage feedback and recognize excellence. Get your employees engaged in your program and appropriately reward their involvement.
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