Over the last 100 years, the construction industry has undergone many transformations, from better technologies to greener practices. Yet, the most notable of these transformations is the development and improvement of safety practices.
In today’s industry, construction safety applies to any safety procedure or practice involving or related to some form of construction. This could include worksite safety guidelines, tools and equipment safety procedures and training, employee safety, and other relevant components such as the safety requirements for a completed project. Construction safety aims to ensure that the industry and the workplace are safe and that employees have the proper training to complete jobs safely.
Working in construction is one of the most dangerous jobs, as there are countless hazards presented at all times, so ensuring that all guidelines are followed, and proper safety practices are in place is a must. In setting safety standards, project processes and procedures are safer than ever. This is partly due to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishing industry-specific health and safety regulations and standards within construction.
Considering all the components that go into building, renovating, and demolishing buildings, as well as other types of projects, practicing proper safety is a must. The purpose is to ensure that every project has minimized the known risks and that the team is equipped to handle any problems that arise safely.
Meet Rich & Gardner’s Safety Director: Justin Kukulski
Within the construction industry, the construction safety director is responsible for adhering to and enforcing all safety regulations. One of the most important components of construction safety, and one of the core responsibilities of a safety director, is knowing and complying with the health and safety regulations set within the region.
Rich & Gardner’s phenomenal safety director is Justin Kukulski.
Justin has worked with the Rich & Gardner team for over five years and plays a vital role within the company: developing and managing the safety programs, policies, and procedures, to ensure that everyone is working safely while complying with the applicable regulations. He also oversees the training and performs regular safety audits, allowing Rich & Gardner to do their great work safely.
At Rich & Gardner, there is an emphasis on fall protection because falling at any height poses a variety of risks to the employees – many of which can be avoided with the proper training and oversight. In conjunction with this, Justin recently completed his certification in Aerial Lift Training, which now enables Rich & Gardner to operate elevated platforms safely.
In addition to fall prevention and protection, Rich & Gardner have done some confined space entry training with their employees to ensure that everyone is equipped to handle the challenges and risks posed by this task safely. Thanks to Justin, Rich & Gardner can perform all the necessary types of training.
Rich & Gardner’s View on Safety
At Rich & Gardner, safety is the number one priority. This means ensuring every employee is well-trained and equipped to handle their role and responsibilities and stays up-to-date with their training and safety standards.
There are a few practices that the Rich & Gardner team utilizes to stay on top of safety practices, which include five seconds five hazards, the gotsafety app, and daily toolbox talks. Each one serves a slightly different function in regard to safety, and when utilized simultaneously, they all help to ensure that the workplace and team projects are as safe as they can be.
The first is the five seconds five hazards, similar to the ‘5 Seconds for Safety’ rule, in which employees must assess the potential risks related to their current task by identifying five hazards in five seconds. This rule is applied to every single task and ensures that all workers are spacially aware of what’s around them and the hazards they must keep in mind while working.
This technique not only helps to identify the hazards prior to starting a new task, giving the team the proper time to assess and plan how to mitigate the hazards, but also gets the workers to consider the necessary protective equipment, tools, and additional resources they will need to complete the task safely.
The second is the GOTSAFETY app, which allows Rich & Gardner employees to access over 1300+ safety lessons. These lessons can be completed on-site, regardless of a stable internet connection, and help prepare the team for the specific safety concerns associated with each project. This app also helps to keep all necessary documentation in one place, from training completion to inspection sheets.
Another of Rich & Gardner’s specific safety practices is daily toolbox talks, which are informal safety meetings focusing on project-specific safety topics. The discussions vary each day but tend to be brief in nature and held at the site prior to commencing the workday to address the specific workplace hazards and safe work practices.
All of these practices help to achieve the same goal, the project is as safe as it can be, the team is safe, healthy, and prepared for the day’s risks and hazards, and all project partners and the surrounding community will also remain safe while the project is in progress.
Rich & Gardner’s goal is to ensure that every employee is working in a safe environment no matter what so that they can go home to their loved ones in a happy and healthy state at the end of each day.
Importance of Prioritizing Safety in Construction
The most apparent reason to prioritize safety in construction is to keep everyone safe. According to OSHA, companies save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested in safety programs – highlighting the importance of being proactive vs. reactive when it comes to safety. Not only should staff feel adequately equipped and trained to handle the workload, but they should also feel comfortable addressing concerns if they feel unsafe.
Facing numerous risks every day, employees must be aware of all hazards and properly trained to handle the associated risks, some of which include:
- Working at Heights
- Falls, Slips, and Trips
- Noise Levels
- Moving Equipment
- Manual Handling
Knowing what to expect is essential, but it’s equally important to be prepared for the unexpected, which is a consistent challenge in construction – as no project is the same. Meaning not all risks can be easily identified upfront.
That said, there are countless benefits to prioritizing construction safety. The first is that it will lessen the number of safety hazards and incidents, strengthening the company’s reputation as a safe place to work within the industry. Because for every incident that occurs, there is the potential for it to result in some form of injury. And when employees are injured, there is likely to be a decrease in productivity and team morale as others may begin to worry about their own safety on the job.
And while one benefit is that construction safety avoids unnecessary risks, another is that it builds trust between the employees, the safety director, and the company as a whole. This type of trust will allow for better communication amongst the various teams and departments, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
Yet, the most significant benefit remains that employees are protected and safe from workplace hazards. From working with heavy machinery to working at different elevations, it is vital that employees are not only adequately trained to deal with these situations but that they feel comfortable doing so.
Rich & Gardner will continue to prioritize safety training and practices, working with Justin and the construction teams to ensure that all concerns are addressed and that everyone feels safe coming to work and performing their role.
It’s important for everyone in construction to remember that the job is not more important than their life, and if someone feels unsafe or ill-prepared for the task at hand – speak up. This is one of the reasons Rich & Gardner emphasize the importance of safety in construction. From the construction team to the clients and project partners – because safety comes before all else, and project expectations must take this into account. If you are interested in starting a construction project and value safety in construction, reach out to Rich & Gardner now to discuss your vision.