The Ultimate List of Safety Tips for Construction Contractors

Following safety procedures helps reduce the potential for injuries on the job, but may also decrease indirect issues arising from safety problems, such as a surety bond claim or insurance rate hike.
By Eric Weisbrot
December 14, 2018

Individuals who work in construction as licensed contractors have an important but often dangerous job. Opportunities for injuries abound on construction sites, particularly for those who are not aware of the risks. While some accidents result in more serious outcomes than others, any injury a contractor faces can limit their ability to earn an income or negatively impact their reputation moving forward. Below are the most important safety tips for construction contractors working in the industry today.

Wear the Appropriate Clothing

One of the easiest ways to ensure safety on the job as a construction contractor is to wear appropriate clothing on a worksite. This may seem like common sense, but the right clothing and protective gear is not always top of mind. Construction contractors should always have the appropriate shoes or boots that are reinforced, as well as adequate head protection with a safety helmet. Including protective eye gear and gloves can always help protect against unnecessary injury on the job.

Be Cautious When Lifting

Construction contractors often experience aches and pains after a long day at a jobsite, but some of this may be avoided with proper lifting techniques. Always take care when lifting or moving heavy objects to bend at the knee, not the back, so there is not added pressure put on the joints, shoulders or neck. Also, minimize twisting of the body when moving heavy items, and make sure the body is grounded beforehand. These simple precautions can limit injuries in the future.

Limit Work Area Crowding

A crowded work area is common on construction sites, especially when the job is large. However, contractors can prevent unnecessary injuries by limiting the number of people in certain areas. For instance, keeping bystanders away when machinery for a large project is being used helps prevent potential dangers. Before starting work, take time to clear unneeded individuals from the job site so that the project can be completed without issue.

Consider the Conditions

Weather can play a critical role in construction. Even the most seasoned contractors experience injuries when the weather conditions are not ideal. It is crucial to operate machinery with caution, take extra time going up and down ladders, and wear the appropriate weather gear when the environment calls for it. Cutting corners during bad weather is always a recipe for disaster.

Use Safety Equipment

Ignoring the potential issues with equipment on the job can also lead to injuries for construction contractors. With electrical work in particular, always be sure to check power supplies and the condition of the tool or machinery before use.

Have a Clean Work Area

Dirt and debris can wreak havoc on a construction site, but unclean work areas are the norm. Although it may take more time, be sure to clear areas before beginning work and encourage other contractors to do the same. This may involve cleaning up spills, drying out spaces where electrical work may be done or removing waste. A clean project area can drastically reduce the chance of an injury.

Get the Right Training

Most construction contractors undergo some form of formal training as a part of the licensing process. While beneficial to get licensed, ongoing training and education is an essential part of remaining safe on the job moving forward. There are several options for on-site training as well as online, self-directed courses that can provide insight into today’s best practices for safety.

Getting on and Off Machinery

Another area of concern for construction contractors is getting on and off machinery. When performed in the wrong way, chances for injury increase. Employees should be sure to double check their grip or footing before getting on and off heavy equipment, and check surroundings to ensure there are no obstacles in their path. They should use hand and foot holds when present, even if they have maneuvered the equipment before.

Understand Ladder Safety

According to OSHA, falls resulting from inappropriate ladder use are one of the most common issues on construction sites. Be sure to get up to date about ladder safety rules on the job, and take care to follow guidelines every time. Avoiding ladder injuries is simple when ladders are grounded and stable before use.

Personal Safety Devices

As an extra precaution as a contractor, it is recommended to have a personal safety device on hand at all times. For some, this means having a radio or cell phone handy in the event of an injury or fall. Have the contact information for emergency services as well as the general contractor accessible so that if a problem arises, help can be on the way quickly.

Each of these safety tips for construction contractors not only helps reduce the potential for injuries on the job but they also decrease indirect issues arising from safety problems, such as a surety bond claim or insurance rate hike. Take the time to review these safety tips before starting the next project to ensure employees are doing everything possible to prevent unnecessary injuries.

by Eric Weisbrot
Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.

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