How to Create a Company Safety Plan
Tips for Contractors on Avoiding Jobsite Accidents and Illnesses, Including COVID-19
At any given moment on a jobsite, there’s a lot going on. While you have a lot to juggle during a project, your team’s health and safety should be your number one priority. Having a company safety plan in place can provide a framework for making sure your team is doing all it can to avoid illness and injury. Here are six crucial elements to include in your plan.
1. Protocol for Social Distancing
The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated how important it is to have a plan in place for your business should a public health crisis occur. Outline the protocols your team will follow should social distancing or other protective measures need to be enforced. For example:
- Direct employees to take social distancing on the job seriously and work at least six feet away from each other when possible
- When members of your crew must work in close proximity to each other, provide personal protective equipment like masks to decrease the spread of germs
- Provide dedicated tools to each team member and regularly disinfect shared equipment
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and your local public health department are good resources for more information on how to stay safe during a public health crisis. The National Roofing Contractors Association is also a good resource for industry-specific advice on how to handle trends and issues – like COVID-19 – that impact jobsites. In addition to listing these organizations as resources in your plan, also include a reminder to check in with your suppliers during a public health crisis to see if any of their processes have changed.
2. Industry Safety Standards
When creating your company safety plan, you should also become knowledgeable about the roofing and construction industries’ safety standards so that you can put these guidelines into practice on your jobsites. OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, is a great resource for safety practices. For example, learn how to handle flammable roofing adhesives on OSHA’s website and ensure that each team member who will be working on a roof receives fall protection training.
3. Checklist for Identifying Potential Jobsite Risks
An important part of your company safety plan is identifying potential risks so that you can adjust any training, equipment needs or processes to ensure you’re keeping your crew as safe as possible. At each new jobsite, identify the safety and health hazards, determine a method to eliminate the hazards, then follow up to make sure they have been handled appropriately. Having a checklist with these steps can help keep you accountable to your team’s safety. If you’re not sure how to start identifying safety risks, OSHA offers free safety consultations for small and medium-sized businesses.
You should also have a system — even something as simple as a spreadsheet will do — to track accidents. If the same type of accident is happening repeatedly or always involves the same people, you’ll be able to see a trend and better address what’s happening and how to prevent it in the future. All employers must comply with OSHA’s injury and illness reporting requirements, and unless specifically exempted, companies with more than 10 employees need to follow OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.
4. Employee Training/Communication Processes
Of course, it’s important for your whole team to know how to do their jobs safely. Outline a plan for regular safety training for all employees — not just new ones. In addition, you should have a process in place for updating your team on any new safety regulations that arise or how to safely use new products. For example, at the beginning of the workday, hold a short demonstration on how to use a new tool.
The responsibility for keeping the team safe isn’t only on you. It’s equally important to train your team to report any unsafe behaviors, so the burden to spot them is not all on you. Establish a process they can follow for confidentially reporting any unsafe practices by their coworkers.
5. Required Equipment Checklists
Your employees can’t work safely without the proper equipment. In your safety plan, make a list of all the necessary jobsite safety equipment you need to have, including safety glasses, hard hats, gloves and sun protection equipment. Also know what types of equipment you need for specific jobs. For example, OSHA requires workers who are exposed to a fall of six feet or more to be provided with fall protection equipment. In your safety plan, you can also keep track of any regular inspections to equipment that will ensure it’s running properly and safely.
6. Emergency Medical Information for Jobsite Accidents
No matter how much you prepare and plan, an on-the-job injury can still happen. In your safety plan, include information on the nearest hospitals and clinics. Keep in mind that if your jobsites encompass a wide area, you’ll want to keep track of all the hospitals within it. Include contact information for your insurance provider and steps for reporting the accident for insurance purposes, such as taking photos or writing a report of what happened. Also outline the steps you’ll need to take — such as communicating with your employees and the homeowner — to properly manage the accident. Doing so will ensure that both your employees and business are taken care of in case of a jobsite accident.
Having a company safety plan can help you prepare for — and avoid — on-the-job illness and injuries. Visit ABC Supply’s blog for more tips, such as which safety apps to download.