Johnathan Bulmer

Five new year's resolutions on the construction site

New year’s resolutions don’t need to relate just to your personal life.

With 2018 upon us, now’s the time to reflect on your work and see where improvements can be made. From safety and security matters to skill shortages and more, there are many issues that currently surround the construction industry – all of which need facing.

Here, shipping container experts Cleveland Containers look at five new year’s resolutions that you can make to help your construction site become a safer, happier and more productive place to work in 2018.

Prevent accidents on site        

Accidents on construction sites are unfortunately a common occurrence. During 2016/17, over 5,000 injuries were reported in the construction industry. Almost a quarter of non-fatal injuries (24%) were due to slips, trips and falls – but injuries through lifting or carrying heavy objects and falling from a height were also high. Sadly, 49% of fatal injuries were caused by falling from a height.

This year, commit to helping the prevention of accidents by keeping employees safe. There are several ways you can do this. First, during the colder months when surfaces are likely to be icy, it’s crucial that you grit your site: not just the ground, but ladders, stairs, walkways and even scaffolding – anywhere where workers are likely to be.

Signpost any areas that are slippery, and appoint a trained first aider that can help anyone who has an accident. The other thing you should make a priority in 2018 is to conduct health and safety training for everyone who works on your site. Build this into your induction for new starters, so that everyone is aware of the potential hazards, and understand what they can do to minimise risks.

Ramp up site security

A site that’s secure is less likely to suffer from intruders – making this a great new year’s resolution.

There are many options that can help to increase security: for example, ensuring all areas are well lit after working hours. If there’s a higher chance of criminals being caught, they’re less likely to trespass.

If you don’t already have CCTV, it’s worth installing it so that if there’s any criminal activity on your site, the police have a better chance of identifying them. Alternatively, you may wish to invest in a virtual guard: someone who can monitor your entire site in a few seconds by a sweep of the cameras, and alert the police as soon as a trespasser is detected.

Other possibilities to consider are silent alarms, and a good old-fashioned wall. Whether it’s an electric fence or a standard one, having an extra barrier to your site can be all the deterrence a would-be intruder needs.

Secure materials and machinery

Over £1m of equipment is stolen from construction sites every week in the UK. The sad fact is, stolen goods are unlikely to be returned – less than 10% is recovered by the police.

Many thieves are opportunists: expensive machinery and vehicles lying around unattended on your construction site can sometimes be too tempting to ignore.

This year, make it your resolution to secure all assets on your site, helping to further deter would-be criminals.

Keep machinery and equipment locked away out of sight so passers-by can’t see them. A shipping container can be a worthwhile investment for this – they’re incredibly tough and criminals won’t stand a chance of getting in them.

It goes without saying that you should never leave the keys in your vehicles; but don’t just leave them in your office, thinking they’ll be safe. For intruders, it’s an obvious place to look. Instead, ask one of your employees to take the keys home with them at the end of each day.

Improve employee morale

The results are in: workers value happiness at work. A study showed that good relationships and enjoyment of the role were valued higher than pay.

Ultimately, no one wants to feel like the only reason they go to work is to get paid. This year, take some time to improve employee morale, and make employees feel like they’re part of a team.

If employees perform particularly well, celebrate their achievements and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on processes or ways of working – it will help workers to feel much more valued.

Create a kitchen area where employees can relax during their lunch break – and encourage them to actually take a break! Social activities can work wonders on morale too: monthly meals or drinks out, and work anniversary or birthday celebrations.

A motivated workforce is happier and more productive, making this a great resolution for 2018.

Inspire young adults to work in construction

The fact is, the construction industry is suffering from a skills shortage. In the third quarter of 2017, 62% of recruiters in the industry said the main issue they faced with recruiting was a lack of skills.

With an ageing population – and the effects of Brexit looming over us – it’s time to address these issues by training the younger generation. Need further convincing? Approximately 25% of employees within the construction industry are over 50, and 400,000 over 55s plan to retire in the next 10 years. Training has never been so crucial.

In 2018, arrange time to visit local schools so you can speak with students about what life is like working in construction. Getting them inspired is the first step to them becoming trained and qualified.

There may even be opportunities further down the line to offer apprenticeships or internships with students in relevant fields of study.

This will be of benefit not just to you, but to your community too, as you help young people into employment.

Ultimately, these five resolutions can help to make clear positive changes to your site. Not only will your workplace become a happier and safer place to work, but you can help others consider starting a career in construction.

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