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Safety Considerations for the Construction Industry

Construction Site Safety Management

Per an article by Procore, “keeping safety a top priority” is the number one listed tip for effective construction site management. Developing a safe construction site first starts with leadership and a commitment made to follow proper safety protocols. These protocols consist of having a comprehensive site safety plan, ongoing education and training, and consistent inspections.

One small mistake or oversight can have significant ramifications for the company and those around the site. For example, in May 2024, in Pittsburgh, PA, a metal drum weighing thousands of pounds rolled down a hill from a construction site and killed a woman on the sidewalk. A full investigation will be taking place and could ultimately cause a series of backlash for the construction company on the job if they are found at fault for not properly securing the job site.

Heat Stress

Another safety concern for the construction industry is heat stress on job sites. This is especially important as the summer months approach and the days get longer and temperatures continue to rise. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), in 2023 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continued to push the importance of health and safety on job sites by expressing the following:

  • Highlight what employers can and should be doing now to protect employees.
  • Ensure employees are aware of their rights, including protections against retaliation.
  • Highlight steps OSHA is currently taking to protect workers.
  • Direct employers, employees and the public to crucial OSHA resources, including guidance and fact sheets on heat.

In recent articles published by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), they note that OSHA is moving heat safety rulemaking forward to try to develop a standard for heat safety. In addition, in April 2024, the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health unanimously recommended the agency “move forward expeditiously” on a notice of proposed rulemaking. In February 2024, the ASSP also published their first ever voluntary consensus standard on heat stress, further noting the importance and push for worker safety in the upcoming summer months.

Operating Heavy Machinery

Heavy machinery is crucial throughout the construction industry but can cause serious injury, property and equipment damage, and environmental damage, if not handled properly. Factors to safely use heavy machinery involve implementing safety protocols, using protective gear, training, and properly maintaining equipment. Not exceeding the machinery’s capabilities and conducting regular inspections will also allow for longer use of the equipment and create a safer environment for all workers on the job site.

Keeping employees safe is not a cheap enterprise and will need to be accounted for when planning a job. However, without safety measures and training in place, retaining employees and costs could be significant if an incident occurs due to improper safety procedures or the lack of procedures all together. The time and energy spent to ensure safe working environments for employees on job sites cannot be overlooked and is well worth the investment.

For more information about McKonly & Asbury’s Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) experience, visit the AEC Industry Page and don’t hesitate to contact a member of the AEC team.

About the Author

Brett Murphy

Brett joined McKonly & Asbury in 2021 and is currently a Senior Accountant with the firm. Brett primarily works with clients in the manufacturing and construction industries, as well as performs employee benefit plan audits.

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