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Are construction workers trained adequately?

While many construction workers are trained well, others are not. This can be especially true for nonunion workers because some might be hired without undergoing apprenticeships where they learn valuable safety skills.

In fact, a new worker, no matter the type of industry he or she is in, can be at higher risk of sustaining an injury on the job. This holds especially true for construction workers, who can be seasonal and change job sites often. So, what can construction employers who hire nonunion workers do to ensure that their workers receive adequate training to stay safe?

Company culture

Safety training (or the lack thereof) starts with company culture, and some companies mock or punish workers who ask questions about safety or who ask for clarification on whether a particular area or piece of equipment is safe.

The first thing an employer can do is to make a culture of safety visible. One part of doing this is through signs such as those that urge picking tools up at the end of a shift, emphasize that workers should wear face protection when hazards are present and explain how to maintain three points of contact (both feet and one hand) when going up and down a ladder.

Another part, of course, is actually practicing employee safety. For example, marking unsafe ladders, tagging them and taking them out of the rotation, using fall protection and arrest systems and onboarding new hires properly. The company is serious about safety violations at all levels and disciplines workers and supervisors who fail to be careful.

Training in multiple areas

New workers should undergo training in the following areas, among others: particulars of this construction site, toxic and hazardous substances, fall protection, scaffold dangers, ladder dangers, eye and face protection, head protection, excavation and general safety issues. In addition, supervisors could assign workers who lack apprenticeships or significant safety training more in-depth training and more experienced partners with whom they learn about safety. Little by little, they take on tasks that require more safety considerations rather than jumping into potentially dangerous situations right away.

Nor should training be only for new workers. It needs to be ongoing.

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