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Achieving Health And Safety In Our Most Dangerous Industries

– Contributed content –

Construction safety


29 November 2018. Health and safety in the workplace is crucial no matter which industry you’re involved in. Even owners of office business need to consider trip hazards and working conditions. Luckily, these issues are stress-free enough to sort. Regular checks around the building should be all it takes. The same can’t be said if you enter an industry with a little more risk.

If your business plan involves building construction or railroad work, for instance, the stakes are sure to raise. You won’t have the choice of keeping your employees secure inside. Instead, you’ll need to put them in the line of danger through every day that they work for you. This is a risky business for obvious reasons. In fact, it seems to go against your very obligation to keep your employees safe. You may even question whether there can be such a thing as health and safety in a job like this.

The answer to that is, of course, that there can. Your legal obligation doesn’t end because of the nature of your company. There are strict obligations in place to make sure of that. Railroad workers, for example, are protected by the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). You’ll find similar standards in place within the majority of dangerous sectors. The question is, how can you make sure your risky job roles adhere to those safety obligations?

Know the law

One of the best things you can do is to read up on any legal issues specific to workers in your field. It may be that need to offer more breaks, for instance, or operate within set working hours. If anything like this applies to your industry, it’s imperative you play by that rulebook. Railroad-based business owner’s, for instance, need to become versed in the FELA as mentioned above. Failure to do so could result in your employees seeking legal representation as found on this attorney website or others like it.

Equally, bosses in the construction industry need to be well versed on OSHA standards. You name your risk-filled sector, and you can bet there are some strict guidelines about how to keep it safe. By sticking to those rules, you can keep any risk to a minimum, as well as reducing your liability. So, don’t get started until you can recite those guidelines by heart.

Take care of training

It should also go without saying that you need to take good care of training in industries like these. Adequate training programs here could be the difference between life and death. In the majority of cases, you’ll also need certification of official training courses. That means just showing staff how to do things won’t wash. You should also note that training like this needs to be completed well before your employees go out on the field. New staff members should go through extensive training before their first day. Even after that, you should do regular refreshers at least every six months. This makes sure all standards are up to scratch.

It may also be worth implementing a gross misconduct rule if you see breaches of that training. It is worth noting, of course, that the necessary training depends on which dangerous industry you’re entering. Within the world of construction, you’ll need to teach things like proper uses for heavy equipment. You may even need to embark on fork license training or make this an application requirement. Railroad or road workers need to know about things like traffic control and warning signals. In any dangerous field, it may also be worth offering first aid training. That way, any accidents can be dealt with at the scene. This alone could save your employees from workplace fatalities.

Provide safety equipment

Even if you do the above, you don’t stand a chance at keeping your employees safe unless you provide adequate safety equipment. For the most part, the gear you need is universal across these dangerous sectors. You need to think about both protection and visibility. As such, hard helmets and hi-vis jackets are vital. Note, too, that you need to ensure those helmets are functioning the way they should. That means ordering replacements after so much as a small fall. In many cases, you may also find that you need to offer protective eyewear or even gloves.

If you’re in doubt about what you need to provide, consider what you’ll ask your employees to do. Weigh up the risks, and buy safety gear which offers as many preventative methods as possible. It’s also worth taking to the internet to research here. You may find that your particular industry requires additions such as steel toe-capped boots. Take the time, too, to listen to employee suggestions. If they would feel safer with a specific piece of clothing, it’s worth buying.

Make dangerous conditions as safe as they can be

As we’ve already mentioned, employing in these fields means exposing your team to dangerous conditions. There’s no way around that in an industry like yours. But, there are things you can do to make those conditions as safe as they can be. If your team have to work on scaffolding, for example, secure structures can make a huge difference. If employees have to go out on dangerous roads, could you offer safety barriers which keep traffic at a distance? If you work in railroad repair, could you time your jobs around trains where possible? These are small steps which remove one last bit of risk from this risky business. That means good news for both you and your employees.

It can be difficult to send your team members towards risk knowingly. It goes against everything you’ve ever heard about employee management. And, there’s no denying that health and safety in these industries is much harder than elsewhere. You’ll need to actively work to get this right. But, that doesn’t mean your hands are tied on this matter. If anything, that should provide you with an incentive to work harder than ever to keep your team safe.

Editor’s note: The views and opinions in this post are the contributor’s and not those of Science & Enterprise.

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