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5 Simple Tasks to Build Out Your Existing Safety Program

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Part 2 of A Good, Better, Best Series on roofing safety.

If you are already conducting toolbox talks and working towards a positive safety culture at your company you are well on your way to a strong health and safety program.

You likely know you need to be doing more but aren’t sure how and don’t necessarily have the time. 

Safety doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be one person’s responsibility. 

Here are five tasks that will improve your existing safety program and suggestions on how to delegate them:

Conduct Job Site Hazard Assessments

Job Site Hazard Assessment (or JHA) is essentially a safety plan conducted by the foreman on site before work begins.

It asks them to record the tasks they will work on that day and then generate a list of potential hazards that may arise from those tasks.

Once they know what the hazards are, the final step is to design and implement a plan to eliminate, contain or reduce each hazard. 

Having your foreman complete a JHA every morning puts safety front of mind on-site and gives them practical ways to keep themselves safe.

Additionally, it reduces your company’s liability in the event an incident were to occur.  

This is especially true if a worker is negligent in using the safety measures from the JHA because you will have written proof of what they were advised to do.

This 10-minute daily exercise can literally save lives and lawsuits. 

Host Safety Meetings with the Whole Team

Ideally, your foreman should already be conducting a weekly Toolbox Talk with their crew on-site in small groups.

The next logical step is to run a similar meeting on a larger scale that delves deeper into a safety topic or issue and includes your entire workforce on a monthly or quarterly basis.  

To keep things fresh and interesting, consider inviting a guest speaker. This could be a safety expert from the community, someone who has experienced a workplace incident or an expert such as an ER doctor to talk about head trauma.

I once attended a meeting with a police officer as a guest speaker about defensive driving techniques. The workers were hesitant at first but were asking him tons of really good questions by the end.  

Provide and Track Training

The best place to start your training program is by figuring out which training you should be providing and tracking.

Take a look at all the hazards your crews are recording on their JHA’s and use that to generate a list of potential training topics.

Fall protection training should be at the top of every roofing company’s list.

Now that you know what you need to cover, you can schedule your training. You do not need to teach this training yourself.

We highly recommend hiring a safety professional to provide it for you. Most will join you at your office or shop and train your staff altogether. 

Once complete, the last step is to record who took the training, when and the date it expires.

Tracking this information means you can stay on top of training before it expires and can provide it to authorities in the event of an incident or a site inspection. 

Inspect all equipment

Conducting both formal and informal inspections of your equipment will reduce the likelihood of an incident and also save your company time and money.

A malfunctioning piece of equipment can very easily slow down or halt production on your job site and cause injury to your workers.

An issue that is caught and resolved during an inspection can save you the costs of the replacement and lost time and maybe even the life of your employee.

An informal inspection is completed by the person who is about to use the equipment.

It is in their best interest that the inspection is completed as it will most likely be them that is affected if an incident were to occur.

This inspection is done to ensure all the parts of the equipment are accounted for and functioning properly. It does not need to be documented unless an issue is found. 

A formal inspection is conducted in addition to the informal ones, usually by a supervisor or safety personnel.

The date, serial number and results of the inspection are recorded, regardless of whether the item passes or fails.

Some companies mark their equipment with a name (ie Cordless Drill 15) to make tracking easier. 

Conduct Job Site Inspections

Most likely, you already have a supervisor who manages multiple job sites.

They are probably already visiting the site to check up on the crews and track production. 

There is no reason why they can’t do a Site Safety Inspection while they are there. 

They should be looking for worker compliance to safety protocols, such as proper personal protective equipment, safe use of the equipment and proper material handling.

You can generate a list of areas that they should focus on by revisiting the list you created when setting up your training program.

These inspections should be recorded and handed to the management team for review, even when there are no issues noted.

The data collected in these reports is going to be invaluable when you decide to analyze and track safety trends in the future. 

This can all feel like a lot of work until you realize most of it can be delegated to supervisors, foremen and the field workers themselves.

You should also utilize technology to make managing paperwork easier. 

Setting up safety systems takes time, but will begin to pay off almost immediately.

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