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Loss Control Insights for Contractors

Start the Year with A Better Plan for Safety

The beginning of the year is a great time to look at your organization’s safety needs and retool anything that hasn’t been working as well as you’d like. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas.

Follow the Money

Where is your organization incurring the most claims dollars? Take a look at both frequency (the incidents that happen the most often) and severity (the incidents with the biggest dollar figures) and decide which losses are most likely to impact your employees and assets. If you don’t have access to this claims data already, your insurance agent or loss control representative should be able to help you.

Take a Wider View of Loss Control

If you have a handle on basic safety, you might be ready for a more holistic approach to loss control—one that goes beyond employee injuries to consider other risks such as damage to your organization’s reputation, natural disasters and vulnerability to fraud. Get a feel for the risk management process by reading 8 Steps to Simplify Your Risk Management Program and Risk Management and Contract Negotiations.

Focus on Training

Are your new employees getting the training they need to work safely and competently? What about more seasoned employees who are broadening their skills? If you don’t already have a robust onboarding program, consider creating a 30-60-90 plan with concrete schedules or guidelines for what will be covered at 30, 60 and 90 days of employment. You can also improve the value of your training programs for everyone on your team by including more hands-on demonstrations and testing before employees are considered “trained” on a new piece of equipment. For example, have an experienced worker demo the use of a reciprocating saw for a new hire, then observe that new hire operating the equipment. This provides a great opportunity to correct problems at the very beginning, before bad habits are ingrained or projects are affected.

Borrow Strategies from the Pros

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC of America) have put together a list of 13 Steps to Improve Construction Worker Safety. They include suggestions for onboarding new employees, ongoing training and operating procedures. You may not be able to implement all of these changes during the coming year, but they’re great for including in your multi-year planning.

  • Establish a “buddy system” for new hires
  • Conduct safety orientation sessions for new hires, including temporary workers
  • Ensure managers and supervisors have the appropriate leadership and effective communication skills for instilling safety culture and concepts into the workforce
  • Institute two separate pre-task hazard analysis training programs
  • Host monthly “lunch and learn” safety training programs
  • Require foremen and superintendents to attend leadership in safety excellence certification courses
  • Host targeted training to address all safety incidents
  • Make sure training and materials are in a language the workforce understands
  • Train your trainers
  • Create task-specific pocket safety guides for every task workers are assigned
  • Establish craft-specific safety mentoring programs
  • Issue easy-to-read badges to workers indicating their level of training
  • Authorize workers to issue “stop work cards” to address job risks

Encourage Better Safety Communication

Starting a safety-focused conversation isn’t easy, especially for employees who didn’t start in the safety field. You can help promote better safety communication throughout your organization with this list of Better Safety Conversation tips from OSHA, which covers everything from explaining why safety is important to delivering constructive feedback to a colleague.

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