It’s that time of year again – Construction Safety Week is an annual event in which everyone in the construction industry comes together to celebrate and honor the importance of safety on the worksite, to revisit policies and reignite the discussion on this crucial aspect of our industry.
If you are interested in partnering with us and want to learn more about what Tri-North Builders can do for your company, contact us today.
A NEW ERA FOR SITE SAFETY
This year, things are a little different. With COVID-19 making its grand entrance over a year ago we have seen new protocols being implemented in workplaces across the globe, and that includes construction jobsites. New pandemic related safety measures were set up to act as preventative measures in spreading the existing virus. Tri-North started its Pandemic Preparedness Plan, which added new safeguards to our safety program, including:
- Implement social distancing. As recommended by the CDC, Tri-North implemented the social distancing rules for all employees, stating that employees must stand at least six feet apart whenever possible.
- Face covering requirements. Tri-North provides PPE for all our onsite workers, including masks that should be worn on the jobsite or any public area. Employees must adhere to any mask mandates as ordered by state law.
- Staggering shifts. This helped keep a minimum number of people on the sites to get the job done, allowing easier social distancing.
- Handwashing Stations. We created and communicated a rigorous handwashing policy that required handwashing stations on each jobsite. Field workers are expected to wash their hands at the start of each shift, between every client meeting, before interacting with other employees and many other instances where they might come in contact with another individual.
- Cough & Sneeze Etiquette. It’s important to convey to all workers that when they need to cough or sneeze, they must cover their mouths with a tissue and dispose of them correctly. If tissues are not readily available, the coughs and sneezes need to be covered with the elbow and not the hand to minimize the spread of germs onsite.
- Sanitizing surface Tri-North implemented sanitizing rules for our sites as well as our offices. This included using EPA approved sanitizers to clean all surfaces, especially restrooms and high-touch areas such as keyboards, pens, counters, tools, and equipment.
These are just a few of the ways Tri-North continues to mitigate the spread of the virus within our own workforce. We have all had to learn ways to adapt to a world with COVID, but when we each do our part to protect ourselves and others the process is smoother and more secure.
While the pandemic really did put an emphasis on keeping our employees from catching CoVid-19, the truth is that construction work can be dangerous if done improperly. It’s why even during a pandemic that we talk about and continue to reinforce job-site safety at every opportunity that we can, and especially make sure that fall safety is at the top of everyone’s mind.
Despite all the heavy machinery and tools, fall hazards are still the leading cause of construction-worker fatalities. Falls account for one-third of all on-the-job deaths in the industry, and 51% of all falls nationally.
However, the industry has made some strides in decreasing those numbers. In 2012 The National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction was launched through the NORA Construction Sector Council with leadership from NIOSH, OSHA and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. As part of the campaign companies and organizations held “Stand-Downs”: open discussions and seminars intended to encourage and educate construction contractors, workers and supervisors on how to prevent falls from heights on their worksites by following three simple guidelines:
PLAN AHEAD TO GET THE JOB DONE SAFELY.
PROVIDE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT.
TRAIN EVERYONE TO USE THE EQUIPMENT SAFELY.
Since 2017, the number of falls has been steadily decreasing. However, the most serious injuries still come from falls, even if there are fewer of them every year. Our goal, obviously, along with the entire construction industry is to get the number of job-site accidents to zero.
While Tri-North has a strong EMR rating and OSHA record, our safety director Steve Bachofen still has to consider the risk of falls on every project, no matter the size or scope. “Falls are the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths in our industry,” Steve mentioned when asked about his biggest concern as a safety director. “It’s important to NEVER put yourself (or others) in a situation where you could fall without having the proper Fall Protection.”
Every year technology for fall prevention gets better. Restrictor systems have become safer and more dependable, and as technology evolves and comes to market we’re always trying new techniques to make sure that our job sites are the safest in the industry. We were one of the first contractors in the nation to require every on-site worker to wear high-visibility clothing at all times because the first step to avoid an accident is being able to be seen.
Some of our standard construction safety protocols include:
- Having a safety officer. Someone on the site who is entirely in charge of ensuring that safety protocols are followed by the workers. In fact, our safety officer even teaches OSHA safety courses. And when he needs advice and best-practice support? He turns to our partners at the AGC for up-to-date requirements and ideas.
- Hard hats required. Having the right PPE is important, and this includes wearing hardhats at all times while on the site.
- The right footwear. Having boots that will stick to scaffolding and provide the right kind of grip on uneven surfaces will reduce the risk of falls.
- Gloves and eye protection. Make sure all workers have protection for their eyes, gloves to protect their hands, and all the right protection equipment for their task.
- Securing tools and people. Make sure tools are secured so they don’t fall and create a risk. Use harnesses and other safety measures to ensure people don’t fall, too.
Although these protocols may seem like ‘the basics,’ they play a large role in lowering the risk of a hazardous site. Each site has rules for reporting accidents or safety violations. Every morning, employees should check in on site so they can know where they are working for the day and what they are working on.
Of course, the key to these protocols was first creating the policies, then communicating them effectively to employees in our offices and our job sites, and finally enforcing these rules for everyone’s safety.
For Tri-North Builders safety is always a priority
If you ask us, safety ratings are a good way to tell if your contractor has an eye for detail. Safety comes down, more often than not, to the little things. When we make sure that a stairway that’s under construction has a proper temporary guardrail, we’re analyzing that opening to make sure that it’s as safe as it can be, and that everyone on-site knows that it’s a hazard.
We take the same detail-oriented approach to safety as we do to every aspect of our projects. It’s why we’re able to get our projects done on-time, and under-budget, with an industry-leading safety record: we pay attention and we care. Part of our core corporate philosophy is to “Go the Extra Mile,” because it matters to make sure people get home safely, and your project gets done right the first time.
For more information about how Tri-North Builders can help you with your building needs, view our website and contact us for more information today.