A construction site has many potentially dangerous conditions. However, that does not mean a construction site has to be dangerous! Work space is often shared between man and machine. Depending on the type of site, and work being accomplished, there could be many different types of heavy equipment, each with a specific role, operated by individuals concentrating on their role. All around this equipment people are moving, working, and concentrating on their task. What keeps man and machine apart? What keeps individuals working safely in this potentially dangerous environment? The answer is a dedicated management team, strong safety program, and belief by all those, on the work site, that "Safety is #1". Safety is everyone's responsibility and it is management's responsibility to convey a message to all those at the work site that safety come first. How is this accomplished? The site incorporates an active safety program lead by a dedicated safety professional. Selection of this individual is paramount to a successful program. We all know you can't put someone in the cab of a crane, who has never operated a crane before, and expect the same results as you would get from an experienced, trained operator. Selection of a safety expert is one of the most important steps that can be taken to lead a site's safety program. A leader has to be respected by those he leads. Respect is gained in many ways, often hard to attain, and always easy to lose. Background, education, and certification provide an initial foundation for respect. The most highly recognized safety certification is the CSP (Certified Safety Professional). Attainment of this certification requires years of documented experience, professional education, and knowledge of safety regulations which is proven by passing two demanding all day exams. Also important is familiarity with OSHA regulations. Holders of the CSP designation are required to participate in a continuing education process and submit proof of participation in this process. The certifying body (Bureau of Certified Safety Professionals) audits compliance with this continuing education process and disqualifies individuals who do not conform.

If an accident occurs it is important an accident investigation is conducted immediately and involved individuals are informed of the accident's root cause and corrective action taken. The most important action after an accident is to care for the injured and ensure others are not in danger. Some of the fundamental steps that must be taken after, and sometimes concurrently, include : securing the accident site, securing any equipment involved, identification of witness and / or potential witnesses, separation of the witnesses and attaining witness statements.

Of course a strong safety program without accidents is preferred to a good accident investigation process. Among other things, a strong safety management program consists of open communication, safety training, and on site inspections. Upper management participation is important to the point that all those involved believe safety is of paramount importance to the company.

At Kevin Kennedy Associates, we can assist your organization in all of these areas to the extent you wish. We can provide experienced Certified Safety Professionals to guide you through the process of setting up a safety management program. Our safety experts can accomplish construction site inspections and train your employees on what to look for. We can provide on-site accident investigations through an established network of professionals.Our safety experts work with your key staff through a train the trainer program giving them the tools to train others in your organization.

This article was written by Kevin Kennedy Associates' Lead Consultant and safety expert John Lauhoff, PE, CSP.  John has more than 30 years of safety experience and has participated in the development of multiple safety training programs and conducted hundreds of accident investigations. He can be reached at 317-536-7034 or via email at JohnLa@KevinKennedyAssociates.com.

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Peter Habicht, Lead Consultant
Peter specializes in welding and metallurgical engineer with 40 years industry experience in commercial nuclear power plant construction.


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