From safety evaluations that keep your people and property protected, to compliance training that ensures your company’s bases are covered, managing construction risks is a full-time job. Industries will likely experience economic and employment-related challenges in 2023, especially in the construction sector. Companies should consider conducting risk assessments, creating industry-specific risk management programs and cultivating a culture of safety. Such practices can help to avoid costly incidents and maintain productivity.
Identifying Construction Risks
Assessing business risks is essential in preventing accidents and protecting your bottom line. When companies overlook potential hazards or liabilities, they subject themselves to losses that can be detrimental financially — and to the physical well-being of others.
The evaluation process is also useful when it comes to obtaining insurance policies that keep you covered if a loss should occur. Contact a risk advisor to help you determine where your vulnerabilities lie, and more importantly, safeguard what matters most.
Creating a Risk Management Plan
Implementing risk management programs that meet your company’s unique needs is the best way to reduce the likelihood of incidents and mitigate losses. After conducting a thorough assessment of potential risk areas, it’s a good idea to create response plans that prepare your team against those scenarios.
Comprehensive resources on topics such as OSHA compliance, internal safety procedures and emergency response plans help your team remain vigilant and aware of risks. Once your employees have completed the appropriate training, they should understand safety regulations and know how to respond to situations according to your company’s policy.
Implementing Company Policies
An effective risk management program starts with your leadership, so it’s important to keep company heads informed and equipped to handle the unexpected. Safety manuals and articles are key resources team leaders can read and share with employees. Implementing management-level training for special projects and internal policies also provides an extra layer of protection against construction-related incidents.
Not only do managers dictate on-site safety, but they reflect the company’s values. If your leaders take internal policies and safety procedures seriously, so will their team members. Adopting a safety-driven culture in the workplace and on job sites is the best way to protect your company and those in it.
Mitigating Safety Risks and Avoiding OSHA Penalties
OSHA publishes a list of standards with the highest number of violations each fiscal year. Construction companies can prevent injuries and penalties by following these standards and passing inspections. OSHA’s 2022 Frequently Cited Standards list provides businesses with insights into high-risk situations they can avoid through stricter internal policies.
- Fall Protection & Training — In 2022, OSHA issued nearly 6,000 violations for the Duty to Have Fall Protection and Fall Protection Training standards. Identifying fall hazards and providing the required protections refers to OSHA’s workplace inspection and evaluation. Employees working at certain heights are also required to complete and pass the necessary training to work on a job site.
- Hazard Communication — This standard requires proper recordkeeping, labeling, training and program implementation as it relates to potentially hazardous chemicals. There were roughly 2,500 violations in 2022.
- Respiratory, Eye & Face Protection — The Respiratory Protection standard requires employers to use respirators and safe operating procedures to protect team members from hazardous substances. Similarly, the standard for Eye and Face Protection ensures employees are supplied with the proper protective gear including safety glasses, goggles and face shields. In 2022, there were more than 3,000 violations between the two standards.
- Ladders & Scaffolding — Ladders and Scaffolding standards had a total of 4,000 violations during the 2022 fiscal year. Both OSHA requirements include specific training and regulations that help keep workers and pedestrians safe near a work site.
Construction Compliance Tips
In addition to updating risk management plans and policies, construction companies can take proactive steps to educate employees.
- New & Revised OSHA Regulations — When it comes to OSHA’s regulations, ignorance is never an excuse. Leadership can keep employees compliant by issuing timely updates regarding changes or policy revisions. To avoid errors or penalties, it’s best to establish a clear and effective line of communication at all levels of the company.
- Workers’ Compensation Costs — Workers’ compensation claims can eat into company resources, damage reputations and result in substantial losses. Enforcing safety policies is the most proactive prevention method, but there are a few ways brokers can help you mitigate associated risks. For instance, streamlining return-to-work programs and reporting procedures help reduce processing times and costs.
- Safety & Health Investments — Construction companies can benefit financially from investing in hazard prevention and safety resources. At BCH, we offer a variety of resources including toolbox talks, policy update announcements and newsletters to make job site safety a top priority.
Construction Industry Outlook
Mitigating risks in construction or any industry requires businesses to stay up to date on the latest market trends and projections. The construction industry has evolved over the last few years due to market uncertainty, new technologies, fluctuating material costs and environmental concerns. As a result, there are many factors to consider when it comes to OSHA regulation changes and company policies that impact the construction sector.
Deloitte’s 2023 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook report predicts the market will experience differentiated growth rates across various industry segments.
While overall industry growth typically has a positive effect on the market, increased competition combined with inflation have made residential and nonresidential outcomes difficult to predict. Compensation increases and economic conditions may present new challenges including project delays and reduced profit margins.
Inflation and job market instability are valid concerns for most mid-sized construction companies. Job site accidents and financial risks can quickly result in more substantial losses than in years past. Such occurrences can be detrimental to a business, so it’s necessary to take extra precautions to avoid them.
Between all the resources and risk management services available today, companies don’t have to face these challenges alone. Mitigating construction-related risks is the best way to prevent losses or reduce the likelihood should they occur. At BCH, our expert team of advisors can help you stay ahead of the curve and protect your business when it matters.