Proper implementation of your task plan is critical to success on a construction project. Jim describes the inefficiencies of the traditional job hazard analysis approach that still considers safety as an add-on and describes a better task analysis approa
- I'd like to build a little bit on this concept of pre-planning, and take a look at how to really implement this task analysis approach that I've been discussing. To really be successful here, it's important to remember just how different construction sites can be from those fixed manufacturing sites, that I've referenced a few times. At a manufacturing facility, I can make safety as an add-on work, because if I'm in charge of safety, I can walk the plant, and I can make a list of things that I see as unsafe conditions, and then I can sit down with management, and we can take steps to fix these things.
This works because I have a facility to walk, and that facility, and its operations, are generally going to remain unchanged from day to day. In construction, this is just not the case. At the start of the job, I don't have anything to walk, except the conditions that we'll see on day one, when we break ground. And those conditions will change every single day, once we start work. This is why pre-planning is so critical. And I do think this starts with the general contractors, setting the conditions, setting the rules, and working to manage the overall site conditions, and then sequence the work in an organized manner, to allow the subcontractors, those skilled tradespeople, to have a basis to plan their tasks.
One of the key elements of proper implementation, is a site-specific safety plan. And what I'm talking about here, is in addition to that company safety plan that you already have. This is something that's unique to this specific project, and it should address the site-specific conditions, and the actual sequencing, and schedule, of that job. Again, let me go ahead and use one of my actual projects as an example. In this case, my client's getting ready to break ground on a 600,000 square foot, high bay warehouse building.
So we sit down, as a team, to develop a site-specific safety plan. Sitting down as a team is really important, because, even though this is a relatively simple structure, it's really just a big concrete box, it's really big, and it does have some site-specific challenges, like the sewer lines on this job are going to be really deep, and much of the work on the roof is going to be done in the summer, when it's over 105 degrees. And, again, it's just a really really big site.
So sitting down as a group, lets us all ask each-other questions, to develop a real plan for this project. Yes, we're supposed to be developing the site-specific safety plan. But really, we're also developing the plan of attack for this job, at the same time. Let's take a look at the roof on this job. Again, it's a 600,000 square foot building. Even though it's a flat roof, it still has some peaks and valleys for drainage, and it's so big, that when you stand on one side of the building, you can't see the other side.
And it's going to be hot up there. So the first question is access. Now, the project manager's input was that, on the last project, they just installed the building's permanent fixed ladder, and put a roof hatch in, and let everyone access the roof that way. Sounds somewhat reasonable. Except that this particular building is about six times larger than the last building we built. And we're going to have way more people working up on that roof at any given time, because there's quite a bit more mechanical equipment up on this particular roof.
So, in this case, we decided that using a single 24 foot tall fixed ladder, for every single person going up and down from this roof, was just not safe, and probably not productive, either. You can't carry your tools up the ladder, you have to haul them up in a bucket every time. And if you realize you need something, and you're working on the far end of that building, it's a long walk back to that ladder. And really, with all the people who would need to access that roof, all day, every day, for several months, I wanted to cut down on the risk of all of them using that tall fixed ladder several times a day.
We also identified some issues with unprotected roof edges. In some areas, the concrete parapet walls were not going to be tall enough to provide fall protection. One approach here, is to simply alert the trades of this issue, and remind them that they would be responsible for finding a way to provide protection for their personnel working on the roof. And sometimes this is fine. But here, with the size, and the schedule, and the fact that it's tough to even keep an eye on this all day long, every day, we decided to look at alternatives.
In the end, we developed a plan that said, as soon as the concrete walls were erected, the general contractor would install two stair towers in opposite corners of the building. And we would install steel cables as guardrails in any area where the parapet walls weren't going to be tall enough to provide fall protection. And we drafted this plan well in advance, and we made sure that the trades were all aware of it. This allowed them to take these actual conditions into account, not only when they were planning their work, but when they were bidding it, as well.
Now, hopefully this avoided some of the extra money that tends to get put into bids to account for unknown conditions. Plus, in this site-specific plan, we're able to dictate some things. We're able to mandate that the stair towers be used for access, in lieu of any extension ladders, unless we approve it in advance. And this really contributes to the overall safety on the project. The lesson here, is that to really implement all of this correctly, the project needs a plan.
A plan that considers safety, quality, and productivity. Then the trades can build their own plans on top of that for their specific tasks. And don't forget that sometimes plans need to be reworked. Sometimes a change in schedule, or sequencing, is going to require a new look at the plan. And remember to get input from the field. This really helps with buy-in, and implementation, later on.
Throughout this course, Jim highlights some of the most notable safety and health hazards in the industry—including fall hazards, traffic accidents, and respiratory hazards—and shares strategies for integrating safety, quality, and productivity. He also explains how to leverage technological advancements such as digital drawings to help your team work safer and smarter.
- Recognizing health hazards in the industry
- Integrating safety, quality, and productivity
- Creating a culture of learning
- Recognizing leading indicators
- Using digital solutions to improve safety
- Using BIM to identify hazards early