Why Construction Site Safety Protocol is Always Evolving
Safety often seems like a matter of common sense, which can lead some professionals in the industry to become complacent about safety under assumption that they know the rules. But as accidents and errors continue to happen on job sites, it’s good to remember that safety best practices are anything but static.
Government Regulation Changes With Political Tides
Some politicians put rule-making through OSHA and other regulatory bodies at a high priority, while others are more concerned with reducing regulations rather than enforcing old standards or introducing new rules. As the political tides ebb and flow, laws can change. Introducing new or doing away with old guidelines and legal standards can cause some individual construction workers and construction management companies to change the way they approach certain processes on a job site.
When law influences protocol, staying on top of rule changes can be essential. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and that means that it’s important to know what’s expected on each job site and comply, even if the rule seems unnecessary. Failure to comply can lead to expensive fines, and that’s usually sufficient motivation for most construction industry professionals to go along with the rules and change their personal protocol.
Procedures and Technologies Change
The construction industry is constantly in flux, and it only makes sense that safety standards will change as new technology and processes come into play. The use of harnesses, safety goggles, gloves and other protective gear may not have been fully necessary in the days before the advent of power tools, but as times change, so do our feelings about and approach to worker safety.
Every time a new piece of equipment gets incorporated into a worker or company’s approach to a job, new safety protocol should be established. It’s a mistake to assume that what works for one tool will work for another, particularly when it comes to complex, mechanized equipment.
Design Flaws Become Apparent Over Time
Fit can be essential for some, but not all, wearable construction safety accessories. For example, a high-visibility safety vest merely needs to be visible to do its job, but a hard hat must fit close to the head and cover all vulnerable areas on the skull in order to truly be effective. Face masks and respirators are another piece of safety equipment that must fit properly in order to truly provide the protection they’re designed to provide. Rule changes related to safety equipment are often a matter handed down by insurance companies, which are likely to carefully monitor potential vulnerabilities on jobsites and address those in its policies, which will then be addressed by a construction management company’s official policy.
Whether it relates to wearable protective gear or reporting procedures, the fact is that formal and informal construction safety protocol changes frequently. It’s important for everyone on a jobsite, from apprentices to seasoned pros, to understand that what was true yesterday may not be true tomorrow. Staying on top of rule changes and communicating those changes clearly on the job site is key to successful adherence to the rules.