Construction companies want to work quickly and intelligently, so that projects can be completed correctly in as short amount of time as possible. Delays and setbacks can mean major headaches for a business that runs on a strict schedule. And with a shortage of qualified construction professionals on the market, staying on track becomes a top priority, so that businesses don’t run the risk of losing workers to another job.
However, when speed and efficiency are stressed, safety can often be pushed to the back burner, and that can cause major problems for a construction company. Given the tremendous impact an accident or safety error can have for a business, ensuring that both workers and equipment are not in harm’s way must also be a priority. An injury to a worker or damage to equipment can lead to the expensive and time-consuming setbacks that every construction company fears.
With new worker-safety fines from the U.S. Department of Labor in effect for 2016, protecting a construction site is more important than ever. Understanding the dangers inherent to that line of work as well as the penalties associated with an incident can help with prevention. But more than anything, having a safe storage facility to keep dangerous equipment away from vulnerable workers when the materials are not needed can ensure that work can stay on track. By keeping equipment secure when it’s not in use, a construction executive can help make sure a quick and intelligent business keeps running smoothly.
Increased Penalties Raise Stakes
In 2015, construction safety was constantly in the news – but for all the wrong reasons. A spike in worker accidents, injuries and even fatalities left many worried about the future of the industry. Many of the problems were the results of a shortage in qualified workers. According to Associated General Contractors of America, 86 percent of commercial construction firms stated last year that they had trouble filling salaried or hourly staff positions.
“A spike in worker accidents, injuries and even fatalities left many worried about the future of the industry.”
As the number of established workers dropped, the number of mishaps has gone up. The New York Times studied construction in New York City and found that the number of new building projects, both residential and commercial, is increasing – despite the lack of qualified workers. But that spike in business has also resulted in an alarming uptick in the number of accidents.
From July 2014 to July 2015, there were 10 construction-related deaths in New York, and an additional 324 workers were injured. Both of those are huge jumps from the annual average. From 2010-2014, the city’s Buildings Department stated that just 5.5 workers died per year on construction sites. Meanwhile the injury total represented an increase of 52 percent compared to the year prior.
Mark Peters, who probes construction fatalities and injuries as the commissioner of the New York Investigation Department, said to The Times that “there is absolutely no doubt that there is a real problem with construction safety.”
The various injuries and deaths around New York are part of a greater trend that exists across the U.S. Based on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 845 construction deaths in the past year throughout the country. Construction Dive reported that thousands more were injured, the reason for the overhaul in penalties for construction companies that put their workers in harm’s way.
Increasing the Penalties for Mishaps
For a quarter century, from 1990-2015, the rules and fines enforced by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration have remained the same. That will change in 2016, as there are now more severe penalties for those businesses that violate worker safety standards. According to OSHA, any business that ignores the safety codes or is a repeat offender can be fined a daily penalty, which will be no more than $70,000 but no less than $5,000.
The new fines are for anything from not adhering to a specific citation to failing to correct an infraction cited during a prior inspection. A business that doesn’t clearly post the safety risks on a job site can also be fined.
With the great number of inexperienced construction workers and understaffed companies, these new fines increase in importance. Businesses must look over their work sites to ensure they are not endangering workers. Companies must also work closely with foremen to guarantee that the heads of construction sites know the risks involved with specific equipment and understand ways to prevent mishaps.
Using Additional Storage to a Construction Company’s Advantage
Often times, injuries and even fatalities occur because of the misuse of dangerous equipment. The New York Times stated that the one of the qualities that drives construction companies – speed – is often the cause of the problems. Workers are asked to take shortcuts to complete jobs quickly, putting them in vulnerable spots. Additionally, some businesses don’t provide helmets, harnesses and other safety materials for their workers, which can result in more mishaps.
Acquiring additional storage can help improve safety. By having more room to keep items such as helmets, a business can guarantee they have these important items on hand when needed. A storage unit can also be used to store hammers, welders and other objects that can cause great harm if not used correctly.
Using a mobile unit as a construction office can be another way to improve safety on a work site. Keep OSHA standards out in the open while executives can monitor progress safely inside, allowing a business continue working quickly and intelligently.
Contact Mobile Mini to learn how a portable unit can help a construction business improve safety measures for workers.