Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”.  If you want to run a successful project, it’s important to have essential safety elements in place.  Below, you will find a “recipe” for creating a reliable and comprehensive program that ensures your up-and-coming project runs smoothly and with little-to-no problems.

What Are Your Project Safety Goals?

Begin with the end in mind.  While that’s true of successful businesses and people, it’s also true of successful projects.  Start with your safety goals.  Think in terms of incident free days, adherence to policies and procedures, training and safety compliance, and tools and equipment servicing and maintenance.  Aim for perfection, but give yourself a range that translates to success.

What Issues Have Your Projects Had Before?

The next step is to review issues you’ve had previously.  What caused them?  How were they tracked?  What did you do to address them at the time?  What steps have you taken since then to ensure they don’t happen again?  All of these are questions you should ask yourself regarding your new project.  Provide answers to these, and you have a great place to start shaping your project’s safety program.

Have You Recognized And Identified Potential Hazards In THIS Project?

At this point you will want to identify potential safety issues you’re likely to face including the following:

  1. Problems that have come up before that you’re likely to face again.
  2. Challenges you’ve never experienced before.
  3. New members on your team that may require special attention, training, and communication.
  4. Systems, tools, and gear your team has and needs to reduce the risk of harm or injuries.
  5. Current workplace safety policies and procedures that address potential hazards.
  6. Unique materials or chemicals that are being used in this project.
  7. Workplace safety policies and procedures required to fill any gaps.

Also, when looking for possible challenges consider the environment that you and your team will work in.  Evaluating all of this on the front-end can help identify unique needs as you begin the new venture.  

How Will You Evaluate Potential Hazards?

Next, decide on an evaluation method including a system for possible hazards.  Measurements should include severity rating, risk/likelihood of occurrence, and prioritization in terms of how and when they’ll be addressed . Obviously, all hazards are important, but some have a higher priority than others.

A spreadsheet for tracking, project management tool, and workplace safety software can be used to implement these in an organized and timely fashion.

How Will You Handle When Safety Issues Do Come Up?

Despite all of your identifying, planning, preparing, and implementing issues will arise.  The question is not if, but when.  Knowing how to handle problems in a speedy, efficient, and safe way can mean the difference between minor problems or injuries, and enormous or catastrophic ones.  By running team drills for nearly any situation you will know how to handle them when they do happen.

How Can The Design Of Your Workplace Impact The Safety Of This Project?

Certain design and engineering aspects are standard in buildings and work facilities. These include building codes, fire suppression, and electrical standards. But, other factors to consider for your project safety include ventilation systems, equipment and machine safeguards, proper storage and handling of materials and chemicals, and noise requirements.

How Will You Manage Project Safety Compliance With Your Team?

Businesses have to comply with rules and regulations to keep the doors open.  The same is true of the people working in your company.  To run a successful project in terms of safety requires that your employees use the right tools and gear, and adhere to policies and procedures you’ve put in place.  It’s also important that you keep up to date with changing regulations. While many stay the same, others are updated periodically across geographic areas and industries. Follow the laws and you’ll be golden, but if you don’t you could be looking at high fines and penalties. Not sure if you’re in compliance?  Hiring an outside consultant can help make sure you’re complying with relevant laws.

Something else that plays a vital role in managing your team’s safety training and compliance is workplace safety software.  A well-chosen program will handle the majority of everything you need to track.  For more information on this check out our recent post, “13 Must-Have Features Of Construction Safety Software”.

Are The Employees Involved Enough?

Managers might not always realize issues that happen on the front line. Because of this, it’s a good idea to check in frequently with all of your employees.  Encourage them to share issues they’ve seen, problems they have dealt with, and anything else that might be of concern. This insight will provide you with invaluable information to address project-specific hazards, and can help improve your entire organization.

Encourage employees to ask safety-related questions about the project.  Create an open culture where they are comfortable with you, and are willing to open up. Something as simple as learning your employees’ names makes them feel important.  Talk to them in places where they’re most comfortable.  Consider company-sponsored lunches, which can be great for team-building and communication. Don’t let the invisible line between management and employees get in the way of the information you need.

Do You Have Proper Training and Orientation Classes?

With any project, training classes for both new and old employees, as well as new employee orientation is a must. Training can come in the form of study materials or hands-on/classroom, but a blended approach tends to work best. It’s important that your employees not only know how to do their jobs properly and use various types of tools and equipment, but they also need to learn how to handle problems that inevitably come up.

Another way to bolster your training is to incorporate employee recognition.  Consider using “fun” activities like quizzes and games.  Simple rewards like gift cards, food, and event tickets can serve as a way to create friendly competition, and improve overall participation.

Do You Have An External Emergency Plan?

There are numerous considerations for developing a safety program specific to your job site . However, if your project is off site, there will be other challenges. This can include severe weather, vehicle accidents, pedestrian-involved incidents, and more. External emergency planning ensures that your employees and management know how to handle these problems as they arise.

Not only will these 14 tips help you manage potential hazards in a new project, they will also make you become a better manager.  If you implement all of these you’ll be well on your way to ensuring the safety of all of those involved, while lowering risks and costs.

%d bloggers like this: