Join Jim Rogers for an in-depth discussion in this video Jobsite safety: Hazard awareness, part of Construction Industry Weekly.
- Welcome back to another episode of Construction Management Weekly. I'm Jim Rogers and in this episode, I'm gonna continue my discussion on construction safety issues as they relate to managing work. In the last episode, I talked about improving safety, quality and productivity by starting out with ensuring that our craft workers have proper training. Training that's specific to the operations they'll perform for your company on your job sites. Using the specific tools and equipment that you'll expect them to use. I also mentioned that one of the issues that we have with training in the construction industry, is the fact that our job site conditions are extremely variable and that our sites are very unique working environments because the people working there all work for many different companies, many different employers.
And they're working next to or sometimes on top of one another. This is a complex issue that presents a few challenges and it's what I want to address in this episode. That training I talked about last week is only going to go so far in keeping people safe on a construction site. Yes, it will teach them how to be safe while performing their task. But when they hit the field and they walk onto the job site, they're going to be presented with hazards that are created by other trades, other companies, doing other tasks that they know nothing about.
So how do we handle that? Again, there's not one single real simple answer here. You really need to take a system approach and try to attack this from a couple different directions. First, I think every individual on a construction site needs basic construction hazard awareness training, I really do. And this is not the job or operation specific training that I discussed in the last episode. This is general job site hazard awareness training they need because they're going to be working around all these other trades and it's something that's in addition to that task specific training.
This might sound straightforward but I'll tell you that this is another one of those things that I see many companies get wrong. Here in the US, our job site safety regulations are enforced by an agency we call OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA also has some assistance products including what's known as OSHA 10-hour or OSHA 30-hour training. I know many companies in the US use this training and many companies outside the US also turn to these same types of courses and their content to provide their safety training.
That's great but it needs to be recognized for what it is and that's general hazard awareness training. If a company is relying solely on this program or this type of training as the means for teaching their employees the correct and safe way to do the tasks that are part of their job, I think that's a mistake. There are two separate issues here. Issue one, that I addressed in the last episode, is providing task specific training to teach your employees how you want them to do the work you hired them to do safely, effectively, and productively.
Issue two, that I'm addressing now, is that they also need this general hazard awareness training in order to keep them safe on a construction site while walking around all of the other activities and trades. This hazard awareness training that you need to provide includes things like how to recognize hazards that are not specific to their jobs. And what to do about those hazards to keep themselves safe. This is the training that you want them to have so they don't unknowingly put themselves in harm's way. So how much training is needed? Does everyone need that 10 hours of OSHA specific training? Or should all supervisors take that 30-hour OSHA course? Or should you use some other program? The answer is that it really depends.
It depends on the company and what you do, and what hazards you think the people you manage will be exposed to on a project. For example, there are finished traits that only ever come on to a project in the very final stages to install finishes. Employees for these companies will not benefit much from an hour's worth of excavation safety training that they might get in one of these standard courses. Drivers that deliver materials probably need to be trained about overhead hazards that might be present on a job site.
But they probably don't need general training on proper fall protection tie-off points if they're not even supposed to be leaving the ground. On the other hand, there are mechanical workers who spend time on the job site during all phases that need to understand all of these hazards that might be created by other people. Keep all this in mind when developing or selecting general hazard awareness training for the people you manage. Time is still a precious commodity and there's no sense in spending it teaching hazards that a person's not likely to encounter when that time could be better spent going into more detail about the ones they will.
Construction sites can be unpredictable to the untrained person. Make sure your employees have both types of training that I've discussed, and if they don't, get started. If you manage a job site with multiple trade and subcontractors, have this same conversation with those employers and get them moving in that direction. In the next episode, I'll talk to you more about the things that you need to know when you're the one managing the job site or multiples trades. Until then, keep learning as you continue on your path to become a better construction management professional.