The Importance of Safety Training on a Construction Site

 

The Importance of Safety Training on a Construction Site - Preventing Accidents and Injuries

Construction, one of the most hazardous industries for an employee to work in, has very high death and injury rates globally. Workers are exposed to potential risks on a daily basis. This is the reason why staff at construction sites have to be regularly trained on how to identify and avoid workplace hazards.

The Law Concerning Workplace Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1970 was passed in the United States to place the responsibility on employers to ensure that all employees and staff have safe working environments. In construction, this requires taking action to remove or reduce the number and severity of hazards encountered on site, as well as providing adequate and ongoing training to ensure workers are able to identify and avoid any risks that they are exposed to.

In the UK, the Health and Safety at Work Act was passed in 1974, and serves the same function as the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the United States; to ensure that all workers retain the right to carry out roles and functions in a safe environment.

Hazards Found on a Construction SiteThe Importance of Safety Training on a Construction Site - Hazards Found on a Construction Site

Construction workers are exposed to a number of hazards while on site. Heavy machinery poses a risk of crushing, which can cause severe injuries or even death. For those working in the vicinity of electrical cables, the risk of electrocution can have similar consequences.

Those working at height run the risk of falls. Even those not involved with operating heavy machinery or working from height can be at risk of injuries or conditions, such as stepping on a nail or suffering temporary hearing loss from working in a noisy area.

The Importance of Safety Training on a Construction SiteThe Importance of Safety Training in Construction

All workers of a construction firm have to be updated on safety training. Without proper training, workers in the construction industry wouldn’t be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to spot potential safety risks given the dangerous work conditions. All employees must be trained to safely remove or minimize work hazards to prevent more harm and injury.  If workers feel that their health and safety is at great risk, they might feel neglected, affecting productivity levels and employee loyalty.

Safety training is also a great way for employers to prevent legal complications. By ensuring that they have provided their employees with the necessary training to prevent injuries and accidents, the construction company can prove that they have taken steps to maintain health and safety in the workplace.

The Consequences of Being Negligent when Providing Training

Any company that is found to be negligent in providing employees with a safe working environment is at risk of employees suffering serious injuries or even fatalities on construction sites. This leaves the company vulnerable to compensation claims, which can be financially damaging, or even crippling for smaller businesses.

The reputation of a company will also be severely affected, resulting in unhappy workers who may seek employment elsewhere. Clients who are not confident in a company’s ability to manage a safe site may take business to a competitor with a better safety record.

Safety is of paramount importance in any company; but some industries find themselves more exposed to risk than others. Managing this risk is a vitally important part of business, and can avoid complications and problems in the future.

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is contagious. Whatever fine filaments, which connect individuals, transmit stress most effectively from one person to another. Whether it be a grimace covered by a smile or a tendency to talk quickly, humans are very good at picking up on threat. It’s a survival mechanism. If one individual in the herd perceives a threat, its probably a good idea for everyone to take note. If its the boss, its even more important and this top-down transmission can damage a workplace. Unmanaged and unacknowledged stress has to go somewhere, but the degree of separation and inadequate communication in stressful times makes it difficult for subordinates to fix a problem, which didn’t originate with them.

Acknowledging Stress in the Workplace

Managing stress in the workplace is clearly as important for managers and employers as the other roles they perform and managing their own stress by acknowledging it to subordinates is a very good place to start. Culturally, there is a tendency to view personal stress in the workplace as a weakness, but the fight-flight response indicates that stress is a life-saving and natural part of life. Managing excessive stress and supporting stressed employees in an open manner really is part of the job.

According to The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions’ year 2000 survey, which periodically gathers data on the European Union’s working population, there appears to be a high correlation between stress, musculo-skeletal disorders and features of work organisation, such as repetitive work and work pace. Therefore, it can be said that carrying unacknowledged stress in the workplace is leading to physical health problems and the culture of a business plays into the stress levels of employees. There may be some truth in the saying that when it comes to stress, “People don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad managers.”

Moreover, Australian experts in this field of workplace support say that workplace stress should be addressed immediately to avoid a decline in employee productivity. When employees suffer from unresolved stress, performance and job satisfaction are affected.

Employer-Initated Stress Management Programs

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress - Employer-initiated Stress Management Programs

Some suggestions for de-stressing the workplace:

  • Recognise stress as a serious issue for individuals and business as a whole.To engender team support, celebrate periods of intense productivity as a group to show appreciation.
  • No matter how intense the workload, keep communications channels open. The more stress, the more communication needed.
  • Legitimise anti-stress techniques, such as massage and meditation.
  • Share methods of stress reduction openly.
  • Consider time-out as a viable antidote to a very stressed employee.
  • Encourage laughter (those email jokes are not such a bad idea).
  • Listen to ideas posed by employees. Inspiration deposes stress.
  • Recognise that personal issues influence work performance because everyone is human.
  • As a boss or management figure, apologise when personal stress leads to irritability.

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress - Executive Stress Leads to Employee StressExecutive Stress Leads to Employee Stress

 

While there are many stress reduction programs available to employees, one of the best ways to manage stress in the workplace is for employers and managers to learn and implement strategies to manage their own and then pass these techniques on to employees. Leading by example cannot be underestimated in an business environment where productivity and personal success depend on group behaviour.

Common Office Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Common Office Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Incidents and injuries in the workplace are preventable. Unfortunately, accidents and incidents are common in an office, although it may seem a safe environment. A number of ailments and problems can arise as a result of being seated for long periods of time; additionally, there are a number of other injuries that can be sustained when in an office environment.

Slips, Trips and Falls

The most common form of accident and source of injury in an office is caused by slips, trips and falls. Trips are most likely to arise within an office environment as a result of tripping over exposed electrical wiring, or an open drawer; perhaps falling off an unstable chair when bending, slipping on wet floors, or using a chair as a platform to stand on if an object is out of reach.

In order to avoid this, employees should ensure that they remain vigilant when traveling around the office, reporting any trip hazards to the Health & Safety officer for rectification. A stepladder should be used to obtain an object which is out of reach. If anything is spilt, then it should be cleaned up immediately to avoid slips.

Injuries Sustained From Improper Lifting

Incorrect lifting of items, even light objects, can cause injury. The most common injuries are back and shoulder strain, which can persist for weeks if not properly treated.

If a bulky or particularly heavy item needs to be lifted, an employee should ask one of his or her colleagues to help. To lift objects safely from the floor, workers should squat, hold the item securely and then straighten using their legs, not their back – which should be kept straight at all times. The same process is carried out in reverse when setting something down.

The video below demonstrates proper lifting techniques.

Bumps and Bruises

Many workers are also injured through bumping into objects, being struck by objects that have been thrown, or trapping fingers in places such as drawers or cupboards. Falling objects can cause injury if dropped on feet, and loose clothing or jewellery can become caught in office machinery.

These kinds of accidents can be avoided by staying alert and maintaining concentration on the task at hand. Potentially dangerous objects should be safely stored in locked cupboards when not being used, and guidance on how to use office equipment should be given to all employees.

Non-Ergonomic Workstations

Workstations that are not ergonomically friendly can cause lasting injuries and conditions, such as musculoskeletal problems, eyestrain and headaches. It is essential that workstations are designed so that the user can work comfortably, without risk of awkward stretching or limb movement.

To prevent these kinds of problems, it is important that the worker takes regular breaks, changing position and walking around to promote good circulation and reduce the risk of eyestrain. There are a number of basic checks that can be carried out to prevent the risk of injury.

  • Feet should be able to rest flat on the floor–a footrest can be used if needed;
  • Elbows should be able to rest on the desk at a 90-degree angle;
  • The top of the computer monitor should be at eye level;
  • Cushioned wrist supports can be used to prevent wrist strain.

Every office should have one or more Health & Safety officers, who are fully trained in the latest first aid procedures and treatments. These employees will be responsible for the treatment of any minor injuries, as well as the completion and maintenance of an accident log book.

These representatives will also be able to provide advice and guidance on how the business can improve, in order to reduce the occurrences of any accidents or incidents within the workplace. A First Aid kit should be kept on the premises at all times.

Alcohol Screenings in the Workplace

Drugs and alcohol in the workplace is a major issue many organizations face. Specifically, alcohol is even more prevalent in the workplace than drugs are. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that, compared to illicit drug users, there are over three times as many binge or heavy drinkers employed. In fact, over 80 percent of problem drinkers are full-time employees.

Problems Alcoholism Causes in the Workplace

Problem drinkers instigate billions in productivity losses, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This figure takes into account impaired workplace and domestic productivity, as well as alcohol-related premature death and work time lost by victims of alcohol-related incidents and those incarcerated for alcohol-related crimes.

Alcohol abuse also leads to augmented hospital costs and workers’ compensation and disability claims, as well as higher job turnover. Alcohol problems do not only affect the drinker, but also other employees. One-fifth of workers have been injured by, have had to increase their workload, or have had to cover for a problem drinker.

Alcohol Screenings Versus Drug Tests

Despite the fact that alcohol appears to be a larger problem in the workplace, more companies administer drug rather than alcohol tests. Pre-employment drug tests are twice as common as pre-employment alcohol screenings. Fifty-four percent of companies administer drug tests to their current employees, compared to the 36 percent who test for alcohol. One reason for this disparity is that alcohol testing is more inconsistent and problematical. This is because alcohol is dispelled from the body much more quickly than illicit drugs.

Alcohol Screenings

However, alcohol screenings may prompt some employees to lessen their drinking or to obtain treatment. One alcohol screening instrument is the ten question Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). This survey asks in-depth questions about frequency and quality of alcohol consumption, harmful consequences, and addictive symptoms. Screenings such as this one could be offered at company wellness programs and health fairs. Online resources may also supply other valid screening tests and provide recommendations and additional information about local treatment centers for those seeking assistance.

Employee Assistance Programs

Employee Assistance

In addition to alcohol screenings, another way employers can help those suffering from alcoholism is by utilizing Employee Assistance Programs. The majority of American organizations offer Employee Assistance Programs, which are meant to help workers who having personal problems that may be negatively impacting their job performance; originally EAP’s focused on alcoholism.

Alcoholism in the workplace is a serious problem for some organizations, and it is imperative that managers and supervisors find ways to deal with this issue.