Workers’ compensation insurance is required in all states, and while rates will vary, it can easily range from five to 40 percent of your total payroll. One of the most effective ways to keep these costs under control is to promote construction safety by creating and maintaining a safe workspace for all of your job sites.
This will require some extra effort and time to implement, but it’s worth the investment. Not only will it help reduce your workers’ compensation costs, but studies have also shown that every dollar invested in workplace safety can have a return on investment of two to six dollars.
Ready to improve your job site safety and save some money? Here are some tips to get you started.
1. OSHA and Onward
When creating a safety plan, using OSHA guidelines should be your starting point, but it shouldn’t be your end point. Instead, try to go above the OSHA requirements. If you’re looking for help, you can request that OSHA send a consultant to inspect your job site. The OSHA consultant can point out safety issues for you and provide you with a written report. However, if you use an OSHA consultant, you will be required to fix all the issues addressed, or you may be referred to OSHA’s enforcement branch.
As an alternate option, you can hire a private safety consultant. Then you can be more selective as to which issues you address.
2. Create a Safety Plan
It’s not enough to talk about safety. To have a safe job site, you need to create a written safety plan. If you’re not sure where to start, there are safety plan templates available online; just keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust the template to fit your business.
Once you’ve created your plan, share it with your team members. Make sure that everyone on your team has read and understood the plan. Then, take time to talk it over with them to make sure everything is covered. This can go both ways; feedback from your team members can help you to refine and improve your safety plan.
Also, make sure that your employees have incentives to stick with the plan. This can include rewards for those who follow the plan and disciplinary actions for those who don’t.
3. Plan Ahead
Make sure your workplace has the necessary safety gear readily available before your team members arrive. Having the correct number of helmets, goggles, etc. can help prevent avoidable accidents at minimal cost to you. Even something as simple as having a ladder that is the correct length can help your team members to avoid accidents on the job site.
Make sure you stay in communication with your team members to ensure that they have the right equipment for every stage of the project.
4. Create a Substance-Free Workplace
In many states, you can’t get off the hook if a team member is injured while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That’s why it’s critical to create a zero-tolerance policy for substance use while on the job. Make it clear to your team members that you have this policy in place, and make sure that you demonstrate that you’re ready to enforce the policy if it has been violated.
5. Train and Train Again
Make sure all your team members have been properly trained on the equipment they will be using. Don’t assume that experience equals training. Instead, make sure that every team member, regardless of how long they’ve worked in the industry, has the necessary training.
6. Observe and Report
Job sites have plenty of near misses, but every accident that didn’t happen can turn into an accident waiting to happen. That’s why it’s critical to have a system in place to report on safety issues so that every member of your team can take the appropriate steps to stay safe on the job site.
7. Add an App
Looking for a fast and effective way of sharing information with your team members? Consider downloading a construction app and sharing it with your team members. Apps can be used to update and share checklists, safety plans, and other crucial documentation on a daily basis. It also allows your team members to report potential safety issues in real time. They can even add photos or sketches to provide a clearer picture of the situation that everyone can use to stay safe.
8. Stay on Site
One great way to make sure your safety plan is being implemented is to be at the job site yourself. In order to do this, you need to get away from your back office. That’s where Ox Bonding can help. Our Contractor Credit Program takes the work of managing your back office off of your hands, and puts it in the hands of our team of construction experts. This gives you the time you need to create and implement a safety plan that will help your team members stay safe, and also reduce your workers’ compensation costs.
Ready to put Ox Bonding’s experience to work for you? Download an enrollment application or call us today at (877) 55-THE-OX.