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March 9, 2015

4 Tips to Keep Workers Safe On Remote Job Sites

Digital Safety Scoreboard
Working on remote job sites can be grueling and riddled with budgetary and time constraints. That means project managers must sometimes make adjustments to stay on track for successful completion. Here are some suggestions to avoid compromising workplace safety, whether you're close to the site or not:

Contact OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers on-site consulting services to both small- and medium-sized businesses. Based on its observations, your company will receive candid feedback on ways to improve overall safety and health performance. There is no fee assessment, since the programs are primarily funded by the federal government and all correspondence will be kept confidential.

One design-build construction firm, The Haskell Company, took this opportunity in 2002 in an effort to reduce its high injury and illness rates. Beforehand, the company also was plagued by a laundry list of OSHA citations. OSHA made the following suggestions for improvement:
  • A comprehensive review of the contractor’s safety and health program(s)
  • A qualification review of subcontractor’s site personnel
  • Enhancements to the Code of Safe Practices
  • Recordkeeping of sub-contractor injury and illness statistics for evaluation purposes
After taking these actions and continuing to work alongside OSHA during the implementation period, the company saw a reduction of 86 percent in lost time and 83 percent in recordable incidents.

Maintain Workplace Morale

The tone at the top plays a significant role in workplace safety. In most labor-intensive industries, a high level of productivity is imperative to finishing on schedule. But if morale is low, workers may cut corners, which places your company at risk for slipshod outputs and increased injuries. Project managers can foster a safe and positive work environment by clearly communicating and enforcing site rules and rewarding exemplary performance. IHS Engineering360 suggests occasional lunches catered by the project manager on behalf of the owner. It also recommends distribution of project shirts, hats or jackets as a token of appreciation for meeting project or safety milestones. Consider using hard hat labels to identify safety-certifications and awards.

Consider Manufactured Connectivity

Providing project managers and team members with cell phones, laptops or some other electronic device to connect remotely is ideal. However, these devices are useless if the site lacks a network connection or your provider offers limited reception in the area. To avoid this sort of issue, consider manufacturing your own signal to ensure a connection is always present. The Iridium GO! device from Roadpost provides access to a Wi-Fi hotspot anywhere on the planet. Through this technology, you’ll have the ability to remotely check in with project managers regarding safety, expenditures, project milestones or any other concern without having to spend a dime on travel. This isn’t a substitution for face-to-face meetings and inspections, but it helps keep tabs on project goals and progress.

Think About Virtual Training

On-site teams may not come into the office very often, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit continuing education activities or safety training. “If regular safety meetings are impractical, employers should use teleconferencing or other methods to update remote employees and remind them of their safety obligations,” suggests Labor Lawyers. With a solid Wi-Fi signal, virtual training is no problem.

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