Despite predictions of permanent doom a decade earlier, the home-building industry has roared back to life after spending several years in purgatory during the Great Recession.
The recent boom in prices has stimulated new construction projects, and we are getting close to getting back to the building frenzy that defined much of the mid 2000’s.
Unfortunately, this means there has been an upswing in the number of contractors with a lax attitude towards health and safety.
Caring only about making a lot of money as quickly as possible, they cut corners when it comes to protecting their workers, putting them at risk of being sued, should something go wrong.
David J Turlington has a great deal of experience in construction law, and he has represented many contractors who have ended up running into problems with injuries in the workplace.
While he has been able to get many of his clients off the hook, these situations could had been avoided if these contractors had simply followed a number of common sense rules to keep their workplaces safe.
Below, we’ll discuss regulations that work to protect employees from ending up in dangerous situations.
1) Wear PPE
Next to providing WHMIS training and a general safety overview of a job site, mandating and enforcing the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) is one of the best ways to protect workers from injury.
Hard hats protect from falling wrenches. Harnesses protect roofers from breaking their back in a dramatic fall. Visors protect the eyes of workers using air chippers on concrete, and grinders on metal surfaces. Steel-toed shoes protect one’s toes from being crushed by a dropped metal beam.
While you can’t just give them a bunch of safety gear and call it a day, supplying/mandating the use of PPE will go a long way to drastically cutting the number of injuries that occur on site.
2) Report all injuries/incidents
Afraid of losing their job, many workers will attempt to hide an injury until they can’t ignore it any longer.
Don’t create a culture of fear on your work sites – implore workers to report accidents so that they can get the help they need.
It will also protect you legally and quickly highlight safety deficiencies, the latter of which will help protect other workers from suffering the same fate as their laid-up colleague.
3) Properly train workers in the use of tools
Have a new trainee or apprentice in your midst? Don’t tell them to ‘figure it out’ when it comes to using new tools.
By taking the time to show them how an unfamiliar device should be used, you’ll reduce the chance of a dangerous incident, and you will reduce waste (if they forget to measure twice, cut once with a skill saw, you’ll waste tons of baseboard and other construction materials).
4) Seek shelter when severe weather hits
When you get in a flow, it can be hard to stop working. However, when thunder rumbles overhead and sky starts to get dark, it’s time to get inside.
When weather gets extremely cold, you may want to move your workforce to jobs inside a structure instead of forging ahead with roofing or installing siding.
It’s better to have a slower day than to have to deal with a frostbitten or electrocuted team member.