Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't ever let your clients compromise your site safety-safety tip

Safety Tip

In today’s residential construction environment safety for the workers on site is at the forefront of everything that is being proposed and completed. Nothing is done without an eye and ear to the safety of the tasks.

That must be extended to external forces that will try and compromise your site safety, your clients.

It might sound like a strange thing to have to tell people to make sure that their clients they are working for do not compromise their site safety but it’s true enough and it must be talked about.

Today’s rules and regulations when it comes to site safety are a far cry from what they were ten to twenty years ago and it is a good thing because no one should get hurt at work. But with increased safety comes a couple of negatives that will create stress and friction between you and your clients.

Here are a couple of side effects to today’s increased site safety;

The recording, talking and implementing of safety on a residential construction site requires workers to be paid for the time that it takes to achieve them. Time taken for safety means the client (homeowner) has to pay for this and when the client pays for something that he can’t see (compared to seeing windows installed) then the general contractor starts to get pressured to curb costs. The more costs incurred by the homeowner for safety the more pressure they will put on the contractor to reduce costs.

Time. Safety takes time, since safety takes time then the time it takes to construct someone’s house takes longer than people think. As safety is something that can’t be seen or measured by the homeowner then they can start to put pressure on the contractor to speed up the job which can compromise safety.

Clients will bring you workers and companies that they have used before or had friends recommend to them. The problem with this practise is that they might not have the proper safety training required and when someone thinks that they are hired by the homeowner then you can have trouble getting them to conform to safety standards.

Homeowners can and will constantly violate your safety standards. Clients on residential construction sites routinely showup uninvited without safety footwear and hardhats and do a walk around. They also show up on the weekends and walk around when there is no one present. Residential construction sites do not have high security, it is virtually impossible to keep a client off of your site, especially when they own the property. The worst is when your clients come up and work on the project when no one is around. It’s hard to enforce safety when the person that is breaking your safety rules is the one that is paying your bills.

The renting of equipment like knuckle booms and man cages to make the work safer can be a constant source of stress as the client sees the monthly rental bill come in and has to pay for it.

Installation of security fencing around worksites, open holes, open stairwells adds time and money to a build, since these things are something that will be removed and never seen by anyone after the home is built homeowners will complain about the costs and time delays.

The number one thing that you need to remember is that safety has to come before everything else in today’s construction world; there is no way to be perfect all the time especially when dealing with clients that won’t follow the rules. All you can do is try your best and be hyper vigilant with what you can control. No matter what the pressure from your client do not ever compromise the safety of your employee’s or sub-contractors on site. It is better to be removed from the project because you refused to cut corners then to bend to a clients will and have someone hurt or even killed.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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