5 Tips to Prepare Construction Sites for a Shutdown

Nobody wants to think about, but everybody is talking about it – the dreaded Covid-19 shutdowns. Depending on where you are in the United States right now, you could be in quarantine, hearing news of impending closures or completely free and clear of shutdowns for a while. No matter where you are or what the infection rate may be for your community today, it is time to have a plan; if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us is to be prepared, for anything.  The state of business, safety precautions and requirements have been seemingly fluid and evolving over the last several months, and even if you don’t have a mandated shutdown planned for now or in the near future, chances are that there could be one down the road. 

For this reason, here are a few tips for being proactive and having a plan in case you are required to shut down a job site and/or operations for any reason:

  1. Communicate – Depending on your backlog and current load of projects, you most likely have open jobs at varying stages.  If you have not already done so, now is the time to have open communication with your clients about your plan and procedures should a shutdown be on the horizon.  Inform them of how their job site will be handled and secured, as well as any impact it will have on the project timeline.  Even if your area is not subject to a shutdown in the near future, your client will appreciate you keeping them informed, rather than alarmed at the last minute.
  2. Speed it up (when possible) – Do you have a few jobs that could be put on the fast track at this point?  While the ultimate goal for any construction professional is to be on time and on (or under) budget with every project, it is important that if you have any potential for early completion of a job that you consider speeding up the process now.  The fewer projects that you have open if a shutdown is put into play, the better.
  3. Secure it – Securing materials on a job site should be an integral part every project, but in the case of a shut down, your security measures may be spread thin.  For this reason, it is important to have a plan for securing and/or storing roofing materials, equipment and access to your projects should you need to put them on hold for an unexpected and extended period of time.
  4. Take Care of Employees – Just as you should be transparent with clients about potential shutdowns, you should also keep communication open with your employees.  How will you handle a shutdown?  How will it impact payroll, schedules, and their employment upon returning?  Let them know what to expect so that they can feel secure in their position with your company and remain engaged on the job while you are still fully operational.  For all office and other positions that can work from home, have clear expectations and processes in place for managing duties, and tracking/reporting progress.
  5. Make Use of Time – In the case that your business is impacted by a shutdown, plan on using the additional time to address team development and safety training.  If you cannot have crew members out on projects, consider keeping them connected through attending regular meetings (via Zoom), working on team building and educational development, as well as reinforcing safety training.  From Fall Protection, CERTA, OSHA and COVID-19 safety training programs, Brauner Safety Services can help you convert down time into valuable time for safety and team development.

As once stated by Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Through being proactive and planning now, you can be sure for the best possible outcome and success down the road. 

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With more than 40 years of experience, Jim Brauner (Brauner Safety Services) is a trusted leader in job site safety training and CERTA.  At Brauner Safety Services, we take pride in driving OSHA and CERTA training standards forward, focusing on efficiency, quality and safety.  Jim Brauner offers custom and personalized safety education programs and CERTA training throughout the contiguous United States.  To book your safety consultation or training, contact Jim Brauner today.

Employee Feedback and Safety Plans

If you follow OSHA on social media, then you may have recently noticed their Safety Tip for the Day “Support worker input to develop training on specific workplace hazards.”

While most of OSHA’s safety tips are useful and provide a nice refresher when thinking about company safety policies and procedures, this particular tip stood out to me for a few reasons… Often times when a company is putting together its regulations and policies, employees (with the exception of Human Resources) are rarely surveyed for their input.  Sure, certain departments may be involved with new policies that relate to their specific department or area of expertise, but when it comes to safety, crews are not always as involved as they should be in identifying safety training needs and requirements.

So, take a moment to ask yourself this important question: “What does my company do to empower crew members to provide input and feedback regarding safety?”  If you really think about it, there is no better source for information about your job sites than your crew members.  They are not only responsible for their own safety on the job by following company policy and OSHA standards, but they are responsible for each other.  And while you may have a few team players who are willing to speak up about an employee who is breaking the rules, how many will speak up about weaknesses they find in your company’s safety plan?  Chance are that very few crew members will argue with a company about the rules and regulation that are in place, even if they notice weaknesses, deficiencies or policies that are outdated or need improvement.

This is where proper safety training and communication come into play.  Safety training programs don’t just happen – They need to be carefully developed in conjunction with and for your crews.  While there are obvious standards that will always be a part of your safety program, it is important to take the time to evaluate (and revaluate) your training, policies and procedures to ensure that you are creating the safest possible workplace for your team and clients. 

Safe jobs and workplaces exist because employers make a conscious decision to make protecting workers a priority in the workplace. According to OSHA, when this effort includes participation from workers, workplace injury and illness prevention programs are improved because workers can identify missing safety procedures, make recommendations for changes and help ensure a safe workplace. When workers have a voice in the workplace and feel safe to provide input about how training is developed, the safety training programs are more accurately focused on specific workplace hazards.

Creating a safe team means creating a culture of safety. To put it simply, employees must feel safe to speak up about safety (and other areas of your business).  There must be opportunities presented where employees are not only encouraged but expected to provide feedback without fear of judgment or losing their position within the company. Some of the ways that a company can gain solid feedback from their employees include:

  1. Surveys – Create an online and anonymous survey to all employees.
  2. Safety Meetings – Add a “feedback forum” to the agenda of every safety meeting.
  3. Performance Reviews – When conducting performance reviews, engage in transparent and open conversation about what employees think can be improved upon in your safety plan.
  4. Comment Box – If you don’t already have one, place a suggestion box that can be easily accessed by crew members, allowing them to provide honest and anonymous feedback.
  5. Bring in a Specialist – By having a third-party specialist such as Brauner Safety Services conduct a review,  employees often feel supported to speak up and provide input knowing that they are working with an objective party who is in place specifically to review and improve the safety program.

By including your crews and team members in the safety training and development process, you can create a culture of safety and inclusivity that empowers employees to take ownership of their role in the company, and as leaders on the job.

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With more than 40 years of experience, Jim Brauner (Brauner Safety Services) is a trusted leader in job site safety training and CERTA.  At Brauner Safety Services, we take pride in driving OSHA and CERTA training standards forward, focusing on efficiency, quality and safety.  Jim Brauner offers custom and personalized safety education programs and CERTA training throughout the contiguous United States.  To book your safety consultation or training, contact Jim Brauner today.

On the Importance of Driver Safety Training

When we think of safety in the roofing and construction industry, most often we immediately think of job-specific training such as CERTA, Fall Protection and OSHA, but there are other areas of the job that can easily be overlooked such as transportation to and from the job site.  With car accidents being responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in the United States and 2.7 million emergency department visits each year (source: Public Health Foundation), driver safety training is certainly an essential for your crews and team members.

In addition to impacting the health and lives of your crews, motor vehicle accidents pose a major liability to the company, as employers often pay significant costs associated with them. When employees are involved in traffic incidents, companies are exposed to liability risks and legal expenses, along with lost hours, increased insurance and worker’s comp rates and an overall decrease in productivity.

For this reason, Brauner Safety Services now offers Safe Driving/Defensive Driving classes.  Implementing a driver safety program, will help your organization keep employees safer and can potentially:

  • Minimize exposure to liability risks associated with motor vehicle accidents and legal expenses
  • Reduce insurance premiums and workers’ compensation claims
  • Decrease risk of injury and death caused by motor vehicle collisions and traffic violations
  • Lower vehicle repair, maintenance, and replacement expenses
  • Protect business operations and reputation

Beyond the obvious benefits to your company, safe driving training strengthens employees’ awareness and enables them to apply safe driving strategies to identify and avoid hazards on the road.  Such strategies extend well beyond the basics of driving and instruction on traffic laws and procedures.

Safe Driving/Defensive Driving classes by Brauner Safety Services provide an opportunity for crew members to improve their driving skills, reduce risks by anticipating situations, and make safe and educated decisions when transporting other crew members and materials to and from the job.  Even better, employees will know that you care about and take their safety seriously, both on and off the job.

To learn more about how you can strengthen your team with Safe Driving/Defensive Driving classes by Brauner Safety Services, contact Jim Brauner at (407) 403-3959 or visit http://www.braunersafety.com.

Prepare Your Team with COVID-19 Safety Training

person holding covid sign

At Brauner Safety Services, safety on the job is top priority.  With decades of experience in the roofing industry, many longtime clients know Jim Brauner for his construction and roofing specific training, such as CERTA Training, Fall Protection and OSHA 10 + 30.  What you may not know is that Brauner Safety Services also offers safety training that goes beyond the roof and construction site.  From roofing safety equipment and fleet management to CPR/First Aid and now COVID-19 Safety, Brauner Safety Services comprehensively covers safety needs from all angles of your business.

In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Brauner Safety Services launched a customized COVID-19 Construction Worker Safety program.  The program is available in both English and Spanish and is provided in a webinar format for contactless instruction.

The program includes a 2-hour webinar and training that has been designed in accordance with OSHA standards; upon completion of the class, students will receive a COVID-19 Safety Training Certification and all of the appropriate compliance documents.

The program is offered to groups of up to 40 workers and includes immediate access and downloading capability for the following documents (in English and Spanish) that can be easily integrated into daily business operations:

  1.  COVID-19 Policy Statement
  2.  COVID-19 Safety Manual Addendum
  3.  COVID-19 Site Specific Safety Plan Addendum
  4.  COVID-19 Tool Box Talk
  5.  COVID-19 Daily Checklist

English language classes are regularly scheduled on Friday at 7:00 AM. Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with a link to gain access to the next regularly scheduled class.  Should a student need to reschedule, he/she can simply follow the instructions in the confirmation email to reschedule and reserve a time slot that is better suited to his/her schedule.

With affordable pricing and packages as low as $499 for up to 40 people, scheduling a COVID-19 Safety Training class is both the easiest and most cost-effective way to ensure that your team is properly prepared for the job site during the uncertain times posed by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

For more information and to register your team and crews today, please contact Jim Brauner.  To learn more about OSHA, CERTA and other roofing safety training, visit www.BraunerSafety.com.

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