According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 150,000 accidents occur annually on worksites.
Maintaining proper worker safety is necessary to preserve the health of your employees, avoid costly damages, and ensure proper quality assurance and control.
One of the easiest ways to prevent workplace accidents is to plan ahead and train employees on proper workplace safety protocols to avoid injury. This is why we recommend writing a construction safety plan.
This guide will discuss what a plan encompasses and how to write one for your next construction project.
What is a Construction Safety Plan?
A construction safety plan is a written plan designed to minimize accidents on a worksite and provide proper training protocols to respond to emergencies in real time. A construction safety plan typically focuses on three areas:
- Identifying hazards
- Employee training
- Emergency responses
Not every construction safety plan will look the same, but your construction safety plan should generally encompass the following sections:
- Stated goals of your construction safety plan
- A list of responsible personnel for implementing these plans
- A description of your construction project and site conditions
- A list of all potentially hazardous materials and safety concerns
- A list of all safety controls and emergency procedures in the event of an accident
- Training procedures to educate staff on proper safety procedures
- Proper accident reporting and ongoing maintenance/assessment of safety protocols
Your construction safety plan will typically be written into sections that address each of these concerns, as you’ll see below. With that in mind, let’s discuss the importance of a construction safety plan and why every construction manager needs one.
The Importance of a Construction Safety Plan
A construction safety plan aims to promote worksite safety and avoid costly mistakes that derail projects or add to development costs. The primary benefits of a construction safety plan include:
- Minimized risks during the planning and construction phase
- Avoiding delays due to accidents
- Reduced liabilities and costs
- Improved worker safety
- Improved quality of the finished product
A construction safety plan ensures that everything runs smoothly during the construction process. By developing a plan early before the construction phase, your construction company can save money, eliminate delays, and deliver your clients the best-finished product possible.
To help you develop a sound construction safety plan, we’ve outlined a few tips and some essential sections to include in your construction safety plan.
How to Write a Construction Safety Plan
Identify Goals and Needs
The first step of a construction safety plan is to outline the goals and scope of your construction project. Under this phase, you can outline any potential hazards in your workplace, evaluate the condition of the site, and begin designing controls that will eliminate any on-site hazards.
You will also need to gather contact information from your workers and develop proper procedures to train workers on workplace safety and emergency response. Address your biggest needs first, whether you’re handling dangerous chemicals or finding the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for operating forklifts or on high scaffoldings.
Not every construction safety plan will be the same, and you will need to update training procedures as accidents occur. While considered a worst-case scenario, refine your accident reporting process to turn it into a learning opportunity for additional staff to avoid future mishaps.
Every construction safety plan should include constant inspections and assessments to ensure that your plan is optimized for the best results.
Finally, every construction safety plan should outline training procedures and emphasize the importance of regular training for new and existing employees to keep them best educated on changes to your construction safety plan as they occur.
With these construction safety planning tips in mind, let’s outline a few essentials every construction plan should include.
Construction Safety Plan Essentials
- Project Name and Description – Create a name for your construction project and outline the scope and stated goals of the project.
- Construction Site Rules – List any construction site rules you have, such as appropriate clothing or even designated smoking sections.
- Defined Roles/Responsibilities – Write a list of all employees responsible for handling heavy equipment and responsible for implementing the safety procedures you will be outlining.
- Subcontractor Liability – List any subcontractors and ensure that they follow proper safety procedures while present on your worksite.
- List of Travel Routes – Mark all travel routes in and out of your work site.
- Mark Exit Areas – Identify areas for exits in an emergency and ensure staff is made aware.
- PPE Guidelines – Write a list of all personal protective equipment (PPE) issued to all employees and how PPE equipment needs to be handled and when to be worn.
- Risk Management Protocols – Outline procedures for handling heavy and dangerous equipment on a worksite and train employees on these procedures to mitigate risks.
- Site and Equipment Inspections – Create a schedule to perform routine inspections of heavy and dangerous equipment to avoid unforeseen accidents.
- Emergency Response Planning – Implement safety protocols that outline what employees should do in the event of an accident.
- Emergency Contact Information – Write down a list of all emergency contact information for staff in the event of an accident.
- MSDS – Create a Material Safety Data Sheet that outlines all hazardous materials, who is responsible for hazard communication with employees, and a list of procedures to deal with accidents involving material hazards.
- First Aid Protocols – Purchase appropriate first aid equipment and ensure all staff knows where first aid equipment is located.
- Sanitation – Provide on-site sanitation materials to protect the safety and health of employees.
- Accident Reporting – Create procedures for accident reporting, including where reports are filed, who’s responsible for investigating reports, and what steps will be taken in the future to reduce accidents.
- Work Permitting – Ensure all employees are properly trained and certified to operate specialized equipment and hazardous materials.
- Lockout/Tagout – Identity who has permission to unlock equipment and educate employees on proper lockout tagout procedures.
- Material Handling and Storage – Create proper protocols for material handling and storage and who has permission to handle certain equipment.
- Workzone Safety and Warning Devices – Identify and invest in proper work zone warning equipment for employees who are in training.
- Drug Testing – Create procedures for random or scheduled drug testing to ensure employees are operating with a clear state of mind.
- New Employee Safety Training – Establish training protocols for new employees around everything discussed above.
- Cleaning and Maintenance Protocols – Ensure workzones remain clean and clear of clutter, identifying who is responsible for cleaning and maintaining work sites.
You can hire a safety plan development company to help you draft your construction plan and get the most out of it.
Our consultants at Path Light Pro will audit your existing plan and add changes based on our experience and the best procedures available. We will also help you communicate to and train staff on these procedures to ensure your construction zone is as safe as possible.