"Plan your work, then work your plan"

Origin unknown, but heard on many construction sites.

Anyone who has been on a construction site has had to wonder, "Is there a method to this madness?" There are crews buzzing around in a seemingly frantic pace, the incessant cackle of portable two-way radios, loud beeping cranes, mobile equipment and other machinery weaving through piles of material and mud holes, and yet it all seems to come together somehow. You might not realize it but there probably has been a lot of planning that has gone into that beehive of a construction site. This article will address some considerations for planning safety into a construction project. Thoroughplanning will result in a reduction in losses and increased profitability for both the owner and constructor.

Historically, when a new plant, factory, or manufacturing facility is constructed, safety is often thought of from the point of view that considers the final occupants; typically the owner's employees or the general public. Anyconsiderations for the safety and health of the persons actually constructing the facility have been left most often to the constructor or less likely to the engineering firm. Howeveras more and more owners realize the potential liability of not getting involved, especially in light of OSHA's multi-employer policy regarding citations and fines and the legal intricacies of multiple layers of subcontracting, the safety and health of the construction worker is getting more attention. Additionally, projects with an owner controlled insurance program (OCIP) are under increased scrutiny due to the potential for tremendous savings that an owner can realize through aggressive safety and health management.

Even with the increased focus on construction safety, the modern jobsite is still a hazardous place. However, safety performance on construction sites is getting better and better and this is no accident, pardon the pun. Forthe fifth consecutive year the OSHA Incidence Rates for the construction industry have been lower that those for the manufacturing industry. Justthink; statistically, your chances of getting hurt on a construction job are less than that in a manufacturing facility. Increasingly, the "macho" mentality of the construction worker of times past, i.e., "These safety glasses get in my way", or "I don't need to tie off while working at heights" has been replaced by an attitude in which workers are demanding safe and healthful working conditions.

This cultural shift has occurred largely due to the demands of owners to have a safe constructor and through the constructor's realization that increased competition for capital work mandates that safety and health be a priority. Notwithstanding, most constructors today have a high moral regard for the worker and have made safety and health not only a priority but also a core value in their organizations through the use of effective safety and health management systems. More and more, the bidding process often comes down to which constructor can perform the work the safest.

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