Maximising productivity with proactive safety

Maximising productivity with proactive safety

Construction industry leaders from around the world are focusing on safety to gain a competitive advantage. One of the methods to achieving this advantage is being proactive in implementing safety processes (to reduce the chance of an incident occurring) as opposed to reactive, where safety measures are put into place after an incident.

All general contractors, subcontractors and tradespeople have an obligation to ensure that their workplaces comply with Workplace Health and Safety legislation. To some, it may seem financially viable to only provide the minimum standard to meet safety requirements. However, being proactive in exceeding these minimums boosts productivity, which increases competitiveness and profitability.

A safe environment is an efficient environment

A safe site runs like a well-oiled machine. Lower safety risks provides a low-stress, low-distraction environment, which facilitates increased productivity. It is a lot easier to remain focused when you know that the primary contractor is proactive in ensuring your wellbeing, rather than rushing through a project to get out from a high-risk site as quickly as possible. The end result is that tradespeople and labourers are less likely to make small mistakes which may go unnoticed until later in the project. These mistakes cause delays and costly rectification works. Examples include a masonry wall that is slightly out of line, requiring a thicker coating of render in parts to level it out.

Keeping your projects compliant

Providing a safe working environment is a serious matter, and the penalties for non-compliance reflect this. Examples of non-compliance can be complex, such as an incorrectly assembled scaffold, or as simple as a contractor not signing off on the latest toolbox safety meeting minutes. By incorporating processes and procedures that work towards a safer worksite, as well as easy to access reporting, builders can be sure that their projects meet and exceed the standards set out by legislative bodies. So how can non-compliance impact a builder’s competitiveness?

Fines for not adhering to Workplace Health and Safety violations can have a significant impact on a builder or tradespersons bottom line. Being proactive in ensuring safety standards are maintained greatly reduce the chance of a jobsite being non-compliant. In addition to the financial impact of a fine, there is also the chance that the project will be put on hold while any issues need to be rectified.

Minimising downtime

Getting a project completed on time is vital to a builder’s reputation. Delays due to uncontrollable events are common in the construction industry, such as a supplier being out of stock for an item or periods of poor weather. Failing to meet WH&S/OH&S standards can also lead to sites being shut down. Being proactive in establishing and maintaining a safe work site minimises the probability of these shutdowns – this is a controllable event.

Being shut down due to a Worksafe violation can push the project past the contracted completion date. Not only can these delays be damaging to your reputation. There is also the chance of incurring liquidated damages, which can eat into your profit margin.

When everybody knows your name

A great reputation is difficult to build but incredibly valuable. By implementing proactive safety measures, you are not only providing a better working environment for everyone, you’ll also be building a reputation for having smoothly operating, safe job sites. As a result, clients and contractors have more incentive to work on your projects.

Breaking price points

In providing a work environment that appeals to many contractors, builders will be able to select from a wider range of proposals for their projects. This increase in contractors brings with it more competitive pricing which can directly improve the profitability of the project.

An additional saving comes in the way of reduced contingency sums. These are figures which are used to absorb some of the financial risk associated with any project. In being forward thinking about work safety practices, these contingencies can be reduced due to a lower chance of rework or safety incident occurring. Lowering contingencies will then be reflected in the total price for the project.

Conclusion

Proactive safety practices provide primary contractors increased with productivity, which contributes to the company’s bottom line. With numerous advances in on-site safety tools, software packages and reporting options, it’s never been easier to provide a safer working environment.

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