Tips for Instituting a Site-Specific Safety Plan

The plan targets the exact dangers workers face every day, so rally everyone around it.

Construction can be dangerous, but each project is dangerous in a different way. That’s why creating a site-specific safety plan that includes a job hazard analysis and outlines how those hazards will be controlled or eliminated might make sense for your crew.

What’s the best way to implement the plan so workers will follow the rules and make safety a priority?

Include subcontractors. The safety plan a general contractor develops applies to its employees, its subcontractors and their independent contractors — in short, everyone on the job. Many GCs will consult with the subcontractor when developing the plan and require compliance with the plan as part of the contract, which is smart.

Hold everyone accountable. Regardless of your approach, make sure all workers are following the rules. A GC’s employees might shrug off safety requirements if they see subcontractors engaging in risky practices without repercussions. So might subcontractors and independents if they see others getting sloppy and getting away with it. To promote the highest level of safety, make sure every person on the project understands the plan, and hold them accountable to it.

Conduct regular safety meetings. Don't rely on a written plan alone to drive home the importance of jobsite safety. Hold a safety meeting at least once a week (daily is ideal) and make it mandatory not just for employees but for subcontractors as well.

Keep the plan updated. As the project progresses, job hazards will change. The site should be reevaluated for hazards regularly and the written safety plan updated as needed. Use the safety meetings to address hazards specific to the work at hand.

Keep the lines of communication open. To foster communication, the plan should include contact information for all key personnel. It should also include emergency contacts as part of the emergency response plan.

Respond to safety complaints. If a worker reports a safety violation, employers should never brush it aside or treat an investigation as an inconvenience. Workers will not prioritize safety if company supervisors and executives don’t.