Don't forget Safety 101
Real Estate Weekly, Jan 10, 2001 by Jay Koven
Unsafe ladders, improperly assembled scaffolding, small holes in the floor, loose masonite and unavoidable construction debris: These are the things that get people hurt. These are the things that raise insurance premiums and are responsible for 90 percent of all accidents on job sites.
Sometimes the basics get over-looked: Making sure workers are not using ladders that are too short or should have been tossed out; insuring that subcontractors are opening ladders all the way instead of improperly leaning them to save time or working with one hand instead of two; checking that all workers are wearing the proper shoes, work boots, goggles and gloves to avoid injury.
Sometimes project supervisory staff doesn't get Safety 101, as everyone assumes these common sense issues are covered.
All supervisory personnel at Ambassador attend a bi-annual safety programs sponsored by our worker's compensation provider, the Lovell Safety Group.
On the individual job site, the attention to safety issues is an ongoing process. We conduct weekly on-site safety meetings, and safety issues are an agenda item at all client conferences. If any incident, accident or damage occurs, it is immediately discussed and remedied. In addition, our insurance provider conducts surprise safety inspections of our sites several times a year, and all project managers attend a Site Safety Management Course focusing on proper signage and legal responsibilities.
We are very obsessive about safety issues, and this is reflected in our outstanding safety record. As a result, we provide more labor and general conditions personnel than most companies. They are constantly cleaning and checking for debris that is necessarily created by the work of the trades. These workers are diligent, cleaning up immediately behind the trades. But they cannot work underneath them. Trade professionals also need to be diligent, looking before stepping off ladders; placing tools where they can't easily be tripped on; wearing the appropriate safety gear.
While it does take time, effort and expense to train our personnel in safety awareness, it is one of our most important investments.
Safety 101 doesn't get talked about often enough but it is crucial, not only to learn what to do to keep insurance costs down from a practical standpoint, but on both a personal and professional level. While it's a great beginning to make all field personnel conscious of the basic ABC's of safety, there is also a need for constant reinforcement.
If you train people to constantly think about safety issues, in time it becomes second nature. We teach our people that the simplest accident wipes out all potential profit from a project; that there is no downside to being overly cautious. For the few extra hours it may entail, days of lost manpower and project time are saved.
Labor Law 240, the nightmare of every general contractor, says that if anyone falls or is injured on a site for any reason, absolute liability falls on the general contractor, therefore it behooves us not only on a humane level, but on a business level as well, to make safety our number one priority.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Hagedorn Publication
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning