Safety is an important topic in the construction industry. In The Netherlands alone, 42 workers died on construction sites during the first six months of 2016. That makes the construction industry one of the more dangerous places to work. Most fatalities occur when workers drop from heights or operate heavy machinery.
What do we do to prevent serious accidents? Let’s take a look at how we deal with safety.
As a start, we think safety is a management responsability. Safety is not: writing a 500 page manual and then leaving it to personnel to figure it all out. Safety starts with a clear four page manual with simple rules, really simple, logical rules. And safety is: enforcing the rules. That is where safety starts.
Our rules? The government imposed rules, deemed by some to be overly complicated, actually are quite simple, logical, and easy to implement. We compiled them into our own sub-set:
- we make sure heights are drop-off protected
- we wear helmets and safety shoes, optionally gloves
- we wear a harness with a drop line
- when visitors show up, we stop, and we hand them a helmet and a reflective shirt. We never leave visitors alone.
Simple as that. But wait, there’s more. When we use a crane, we have some extra rules:
- you must have full understanding of the international hand signals language for crane operations
- you must have eye contact with your buddies at all times
- visitors on the construction site? Sorry, no crane! Wait until the visitors are gone.
Do these rules make our construction sites safe? We think yes. Because we actually enforce them. Our rules are not dead paper in a binder, our rules are visible on-site.