It is the New Year and time for making and implementing your company's resolutions for 2013. One resolution all members of the North Carolina Masonry Association should make is to work to improve job site safety. Specifically, to work to reduce the risk of death or injury to employees caused by falls, the leading cause of death in construction industry.
What can members of the Masonry Association learn from last year's experiences? First, the industry with the most fatalities was the construction industry, accounting for 29% of all workplace fatalities. Commercial construction accounted for eight out of ten construction-related fatalities and falls from height accounted for three out of every ten fatalities.
North Carolina's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, responding to fatalities in the construction industry, was quite active in investigating construction projects last year. The Division issued 979 citations for serious violations directly relating to fall protection or scaffolding. In fact, violations of standards relating to scaffolding are the most frequently cited OSHA's violations last year across the country, followed by closely by failure to properly utilize fall protection.
What should your company resolve to do in 2013? First, planning for project safety, particularly for fall protection and scaffolding, must be considered prior to bidding on or entering into contract for construction. The cost of appropriate fall protection equipment should be included in your budget for every project. You should work with the General Contractor and other trades prior to the start of work to determine how your employees will gain access throughout the project; what stairways, ladders and scaffolding, among other things, will be needed and who will provide the equipment.
Secondly, you must be certain all of your employees are properly trained in the use of equipment on the project. Additionally, you need to make certain that all of the equipment is properly used and properly maintained. Frequent job safety meetings for your employees are a must as are project safety walk-throughs at least once a day with follow ups if any deficiencies are noticed.
Providing a safe workplace for your employees is key to maintaining good moral, efficient production and cost control for your operations. Planning, implementation and follow up are the key to a safe construction project.
Here is to a safe and profitable 2013.