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5 Key Tasks to Make Your Safety Program Top Notch

Work safety protection equipment. Industrial protective hardhats on wooden background.
Part 3 of A Good, Better, Best Series on roofing safety.

Are you ready to take your safety program to the highest level? 

Maybe you are the next generation, taking over the family business and you need to make your mark, or you are looking to really wow your boss this year and nail that promotion.  

Or maybe you truly understand the value behind implementing a strong health and safety program at your company through reduced insurance premiums and closing larger deals. 

Whatever your motivation is, here are five ways you can join the best in the business as safety rock stars:

Create Site Specific Safety Plans

You probably already have a written safety program that covers safety on all your projects from start to finish. A site-specific safety plan takes what you are already using and adds more specific safety measures to it.  

You should create one for all major jobs that your crews will be on for an extended period and for jobs with unusual hazards your workers are not accustomed to. 

In addition to standard project information, the plan should include: 

  • The location of the nearest hospital;
  • Emergency contacts;
  • Name of competently trained person on-site;
  • Hazards specific to the site;
  • Specific instructions on how to control each hazard;
  • A list of safety equipment required;
  • Pictures (general site and specific hazards)

In advance of the project start, share the plan with the key workers on site so they can put some forethought into it and collect the equipment they will need. On day one of the project, meet with all workers on-site to review the plan and do a physical walkthrough.  

Taking the time to complete these steps will significantly reduce the chance of an incident on site. 

Track Near Misses

A near miss is anytime something happens on-site that comes very close to causing harm to someone or would have come close if someone was in the vicinity. 

Here are some examples of near misses:

  • Someone trips on an extension cord but does not harm themselves;
  • A forklift bumps a skid of material, it teeters but does not fall;
  • A worker drops a hammer down the stairs but nobody was near

The only difference between these near misses and an incident is luck. Had someone been injured, it would have triggered an investigation into what went wrong and a plan to prevent the incident in the future.  

Instead, if you record and investigate near misses the same way you would an incident, you are likely to prevent the incident from happening at all. It’s the same amount of work, just in a proactive manner instead of retroactive. 

Analyze Safety Findings

If your safety program is fairly advanced, it likely produces a ton of paperwork. That paperwork is likely collected and filed away somewhere, never to be seen again. 

This is unfortunate because the information contained in those reports could be the key to safer job sites. If you record the data from these reports into a spreadsheet (or better yet, use a safety management program to do that for you) you are then able to analyze it.  

For example, by grouping and categorizing the safety deficiencies found on your site inspections, you’ll be able to find patterns and trends, and then apply changes to mitigate them.  

You’ll figure out if they are caused by specific workers, on certain projects, at certain times or whether other factors contribute to them. 

Using the information you are already collecting, instead of filing it away, can be one of your biggest assets. 

Conduct Annual Reviews 

At least once a year, look up everything to do with safety for each of your employees, on an individual basis and then review it with them. 

Some items to include are:

  • Compliance with your program (Are they doing what they are supposed to?)
  • Training Certificates (Are any coming up for renewal? New courses to take?)
  • Incidents (Were they involved in any?)
  • Infractions (Were they written up at all?)
  • Attitude (Do they contribute to a safe company culture?)
  • Goals for the next year (What can they work on?)

Some companies go even further to make their reviews live by posting a leaderboard in their shop. A little friendly competition among co-workers doesn’t hurt. 

Once you know who your safety rock stars are you can reward them and provide additional training to the ones who need help. 

Continue Learning

The roofing industry is always changing, and safety changes along with it. It’s important to stay on top of new regulations, innovations and new ideas.  

We suggest reading relevant articles, attending trade shows and networking with other roofing professionals through trade associations. 

In short, the more you know, the better so never stop learning!

If you want to advance to the highest level of safety compliance, you can’t do it alone. 

The size and complexity of the program we have just laid out generate a ton of paperwork. 

Using technology is imperative to collecting complete, accurate information in a timely manner and allows access to it for analysis and in the event of an incident or OSHA inspection.  

Even if you have a dedicated safety rep, the less paperwork they have to manage the more time they can spend on-site, conducting inspections, and training your employees, bringing you more value for every dollar spent and bringing your employees home safe and sound, every day.

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