October 28, 2020 / By Aaron Vincent, Director, Safety and Risk Management

Five Ways Safety Planning Benefits Project Planning

What is one practice that all successful construction teams have in common? They plan safety into the project, not around the project.

At Miller-Valentine, safety is a factor we do not compromise on. Our number one priority is to ensure that people leave our job sites in the same or better condition as when they arrived. But there is also a direct correlation between safe job sites and on-time, on-budget completion. Here are five ways that safety planning benefits project planning.

  1. Plan ahead for the proper safety equipment. High-performing project teams acquire the proper safety equipment for a task well in advance, rather than waiting until the day it’s needed. Ensuring field staff has ready access to safety equipment reduces the risk of an incident or accident. It also saves money by avoiding last-minute, big-ticket purchases and delays in the project schedule.
  1. Incorporate job-safety analysis (JSA) into daily planning sessions. High-performing teams review JSAs with the field crew every morning before the start of work. Effective JSAs include a description of the day’s tasks, the potential hazards associated with those tasks, and the safety measures required to complete that task without injury. By spelling all of this out ahead of time, superintendents provide field crews with the knowledge and direction they need to stay safe. In addition, personnel know exactly what they need to accomplish for the day, so they aren’t losing time waiting for direction.
  1. Take time to do the job right. Personnel on high-performing teams inspect their equipment and tools prior to starting a task. They also make certain they have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need and even a bottle of water close by. It takes just a few minutes, but it can save hours and even days of lost time due to incidents, accidents, or unexpected equipment failure.
  1. Practice good housekeeping. Good housekeeping is fundamental to preventing accidents and injuries. It is also key to ensuring budget and schedule certainty. Activities like storing tools and materials in their proper place improves productivity and prevents theft and damage. And keeping walkways clear of slip and trip hazards is essential to avert injuries, save lives, and reduce the risk of delays.
  1. Take these habits home. High-performing personnel know that the potential for injury doesn’t end with the workday. All of these practices can prevent injuries at home, too. After all, safety isn’t just about taking care of yourself; it’s about ensuring you can care for your loved ones, as well.

Safety First, All Day and Every Day
At Miller-Valentine, we have multiple supports in place to embed a safety-first culture on our projects. All job sites are required to have a safety plan, which incorporates safety requirements, an evacuation plan, and an emergency plan. While our safety plans are built on OSHA regulations and best practices, each one is customized to the project.

Our superintendents and safety personnel also conduct frequent inspections. Common criteria we check for are the proper use of PPE, that tools and equipment are in good shape, and that field personnel are using correct protective measures around their work. When we see an unsafe practice, we immediately stop work, fix it, and talk about it to make certain it doesn’t happen again.

At the end of the day, we are all responsible for keeping each other safe. Losing focus even for a moment can result in a serious injury or accident that affects not just field personnel, but their families, too. And we can’t overlook that staying safe keeps our job sites active and projects moving, which ensures our customers are happy – and that more work is available for everyone.