Your Construction Project: Why The Safety Team Should Be Involved Right from the Contract Stage

29 July 2021

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. -Benjamin Franklin

The construction process is usually divided into four distinct phases: planning, pre-construction, construction and close. The planning and contract phase is defined as the management of all activities involved prior to the commencement of actual work on site. Here’s why your safety team should be involved with your construction project from the very beginning.

A safe construction project is a successful construction project

The success of any construction project relies on a variety of different factors. One of these is ensuring that all work is carried out safely, and that there is minimal risk of an accident or injury occurring during any stage of the project. 

Studies have shown that including safety as a key topic of discussion in the contract stages of any construction project has a positive effect on worker safety. A safer workforce can perform their roles more effectively, and this can also help ensure that the project runs both on time and within budget – something which all project owners hope to achieve.

There are a number of actions that teams including construction safety managers can do to help eliminate issues that may occur during the contract stage and to improve overall health and safety on the project. These include:

  • Developing a logistics plan prior to issuing bid documents so that subcontractors can bid on a realistic process.
  • Preventing commitment to unrealistic or unnecessary safety resource levels to win the project. 
  • Ensuring that the project owner clearly communicates safety expectations for the project for proper allocation of resources. 
  • Actively participating in the bidding process, often referred to as “putting it on the street”.
  • Making sure everyone understands the site rules, particularly relating to access, use of equipment and fire and emergency arrangements. 
  • Creating a checklist of common safety issues which will help contract managers and safety professionals to remember to include necessary items in the final contract. 
  • Updating boilerplate subcontract language to incorporate new safety regulations
  • Encouraging clients to test their spaces early for hazmat (asbestos, lead paint, contaminated soil). Remediation can derail a project’s schedule and budget, so the sooner you find out, the better your options will be for handling it.
  • Use your logistics plan to create a realistic budget for safety measures, such as temporary stairs, guardrails, or scaffolding

Your safety team should comprehensively go through all documents and contracts at the very beginning of a project, before work has commenced. This gives them the opportunity to identify any safety concerns, raise them and ensure that they are appropriately addressed prior to the project starting.

The importance of site history in safety planning

Site history is another thing to take into consideration in the planning and contract stage of any construction project. Depending on where you are building, there may be unusual features which could pose a potential hazard risk. For example:

  • Asbestos or other contaminants
  • Overhead power lines or underground services
  • Unusual ground conditions
  • Public right of way across the site
  • Nearby roads, railways or footpaths
  • Any other activities that could be going on near the site

The project will be much more likely to run smoothly, efficiently and profitably if any site hazards have been properly predicted, planned for and included in the contract. Being unprepared for them could mean that it is necessary to halt work, wasting time and money.

Use the tools available to you

Everyone on a construction site has a responsibility to make safety a priority, but this is particularly true of the construction safety manager. Fortunately, there are tools available to make it easier for you to juggle the many different components of managing safety on a busy worksite, such as GoContractor. 

GoContractor is a construction onboarding and safety training software that can streamline many aspects of site safety and compliance. Implementing GoContractor at the start of any construction project is an ideal way to help ensure the highest levels of workforce safety before anyone even steps foot on site. For example:

Online site orientation and training

Focus on reducing project risk from the outset using GoContractor’s online training and site orientation services. These help you to make sure that everyone involved in the project is properly trained and onboarded before they even arrive on site. You can upload training assets at any time, meaning there’s never any reason for workers not to have received the latest education and information. Better still, GoContractor has the flexibility to deliver role, project and language-specific onboarding, enabling everyone to get the training that they need to do their job safely. 

Site access

You need to make sure that everyone who has access to the site is properly trained and registered. GoContractor’s check-in/check-out QR codes enable safety managers to verify workers from their mobile device. 

Worker compliance

Making sure that workers and subcontractors are compliant is simple thanks to GoContractor, which has a central worker qualification database that stores crucial information about each individual, regardless of their area of work. You can even set alerts to let you know when specific qualifications for individuals require renewal, ensuring nobody slips through the compliance net. 

Covid-19 risk management

Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 risk management (and in the future, protection against other contagious diseases) is a very real concern on busy construction sites. GoContractor offers the ability to create unique daily screening checklists, letting you automate the process of asking health screening questions before they come onto site. You can even keep detailed records of responses, should you need to refer to them in the future. 

Find out more about how GoContractor construction onboarding and safety training software can help you manage safety on your construction site by watching how it works

By including safety management in the earliest possible stages of planning and negotiation of a construction project, it’s possible to prevent many safety issues from occurring during the build.

Zack Berglind

Zack Berglind is the Marketing Manager for GoContractor

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