Health and Safety: Reducing Risks on a Construction Site



Category:   -  Published by: Benoit Leclair

Workplace health and safety challenges on a construction site

Risks are everywhere on a construction site, especially when the project is complex and requires many players to work in the same space. The presence of heavy machinery and electric equipment, as well as working at heights (and sometimes in poor weather conditions), makes workplace health and safety a constant challenge. 

Here are a few important factors to keep in mind when you are working with specialized subcontractors in order to have an organized construction site where the risk of injury for workers is significantly reduced.


What are the impacts of a health and safety incident on a construction site?

A work site injury may be minor. However, if the incident is serious, it could bring all work to a halt for months, while governmental investigations take place. Often, when an incident has occurred, the authorities will not simply shut down one segment of the job site but could put the entire project on hold. The impacts are, therefore, considerable. 

Consider the financial and legal repercussions, as well as the timeline delays for the overall project. The consequences, however, do not end there. Availability of certain subcontractors may become problematic. Additional costs could also be required if, for instance, the work resumes during the winter (heating costs, decrease in productivity, etc.). 


Serious or fatal injuries may incur penalties, sanctions and fines; they may also lead to insurance premium increases, criminal liability prosecutions or even prison (law C-21).


Reduce your responsibility as owner

Legally, the project owner is the one responsible when it comes to health and safety. Often, the owner will transfer this responsibility to the general contractor overseeing the contract. The general contractor is therefore responsible for ensuring that the subcontractors, third parties and work site visitors respect the rules. The logistics of the construction site are also the general contractor’s responsibility. For example, electric work and plumbing must be done separately to avoid having electric wires come into contact with water. 

Having an experienced general contractor with a good track record in workplace health and safety is essential for your project. Before getting quotes from companies you have in mind, do some research on their past performance. 

santé et sécurité employé canam

Good practices to reduce risks on construction sites

Limit handling on the jobsite

Fabricating as many  components as possible in a factory, under easily controlled conditions, can have a significantly positive impact. Limiting jobsite handling reduces the number of workers required and, consequently, reduces the risk of accidents.


Consult the subcontractors during the design phase

Experienced subcontractors often have continuous improvement processes they rely on and generally take an approach based on proven research and development. They know what works and what doesn’t on a construction site and can therefore assist in planning the work accordingly. They can propose alternatives and guide you in the design phase by recommending changes that will facilitate the installation and connection of certain components. All of these details will improve the security on the construction site.


Rely on a detailed work plan

An efficient planning system for deliveries lets you know exactly where each component fits in, as well as where and how it will be installed. It is no secret; a complete and detailed work plan fosters a secure construction site. These good practices will help you to avoid unexpected costs, unnecessary access to the construction site or uncertainties that may lead to poor decision-making.


Ask subcontractors for scheduling advice

Simple solutions can help you better control the work schedule, such as the use of Murox prefabricated walls. When dealing with inclement weather, it becomes impossible to install large wall panels. A good general contractor will always take these elements into consideration when planning the work schedule and will adapt the installation times accordingly to avoid any scheduling delays.


Choose partners with a solid background in health and safety

A responsible contractor will always integrate subcontractors into their workplace health and safety processes. When this is the case, the subcontractors’ information is entered into a computer system so that it is easy to verify that their practices, accreditation and training are always up to date. Even better, a company that is fully invested in health and safety will set proactive reminders for their partners when it is time for them to update the training of their teams.


Ensure that all workers are properly trained

One of the best measures of prevention is to make sure all workers are trained. In order to create a safe work site, it is essential that all workers that will be setting foot on the site, and planning work for the project, are properly trained. Canam has developed an online workplace health and safety training that visitors must complete before they arrive on the construction site. 

To simplify your work site health and safety management, it is best to choose partners that recognize this as an essential part of the job that brings real value for everyone. Are you ready to run an organized construction site?



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