Safety is one component of a project that can be overlooked but shouldn’t be. It’s easy to turn the other way when you see something wrong, but the safety and well-being of you and your co-workers should be a top priority. Not only that, but EMRs (experience modification rates) are often requested in proposals, so it is vital to keep this number low for future project work. As Geocomp’s Health and Safety Coordinator, I have five project safety tips that I use to help every project run smoothly without incident.
- Be Healthy. Having a healthy mind-set is key to effective work. It’s important that everyone working on the project is physically and mentally well. If you have an injury or don’t feel well, it’s important to let your supervisor know so both of you can work to avoid potential risks.
- Plan Ahead. Always plan ahead! If you are installing prisms on a wall, you have to know what size ladder to bring & other equipment according to the project needs. It’s never “one size fits all” for every project. If you can, visit the project site ahead of time to see what conditions you will be working with.
- Be Conscious. When you arrive onsite, be alert each time! Have a fresh set of eyes on the scene. Don’t get into a routine of going about your business – When you lose awareness, everything starts to blend together which can be dangerous to everyone involved in the project. Preview the site conditions as they permit to help plan properly.
- Survey Surroundings. Before you put the drill to the wall or screw the instrument down, give a quick look around and double check what you are doing. Make sure no one is in a position of getting hurt. To go along with the last tip, be conscious of what you’re doing. Re-work is a huge problem that wastes time and energy and could expose you to hazards. Focus on what you are doing and getting it done right the first time.
- See Something, Say Something. If you notice something that doesn’t look right, don’t ignore it! Saying something is really important to prevent injuries. If you are at a project site, did you notice if there are cones set up for machinery? Are extension cords taped down so no one can trip? Fill out a near miss form if you notice any of these inconsistencies so we can improve our practices to remove these. By doing this, we are able to keep a record and report of safety risks that we then discuss weekly to devise ways to prevent future incidents.
One of the biggest challenges with safety is enforcing preventative measures. All staff on site should be equipped with steel-toed boots, hard hats, safety vests, eye protection, and gloves. For certain projects, it may not always be possible to know ahead of time what supplies will be needed, but Geocomp keeps its vehicles well stocked with supplies in case someone forgets or misplaces safety equipment. We encourage others to do this as well. It’s always better to have back-up equipment than not enough.
Every field project should have a designated team leader who will be responsible to oversee safety precautions for the project on that day. The designated team leader should have the site specific safety plan in their possession, be aware of any special provisions for the project and make sure each team member is properly informed and outfitted for the day. The designated team leader will also ensure that spare safety equipment is available on site for each day of work. Team leaders should start each work shift with a toolbox safety meeting to review work for the day and discuss safety precautions and work practices.
Another key element that is often overlooked is WATER! The designated team leader should always have water available for workers on site. Dehydration is a risk that could pose potential injuries as well. Make sure your workers are staying hydrated throughout the job at hand.
Every company shoots for zero injuries, but the reality is accidents unfortunately do happen. There are preventative measures to take in helping prevent future injuries. Periodic team meetings should always include a safety segment in which employees can bring up “near miss” incidents like broken glass or a cut extension cord. We can all learn from mistakes and should share our knowledge. Using your voice and sharing our experience is one way we keep each other safe.
Post By: Matt Ham, Geocomp Health & Safety Coordinator
Matt Ham graduated from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a BA in Environmental Science in 2013. His first job out of college was the GeoTesting Rock Lab and then moved up to Massachusetts Consulting where he helped out with iSiteCentral management. Since then, Matt has taken the lead on setting up many iSite projects, been heavily involved in instrumentation and monitoring installations and taken on the role as the company’s Health and Safety Coordinator.