August 3, 2021 posted in Construction, Design and Engineering, Safety
Safety and quality share many of the same aspects and are often intertwined. A sign of a well-managed jobsite is the team’s commitment to safety, quality, and productivity. When a team focuses on even the smallest of details, crews feel supported and encouraged to do quality work.
Let’s take a deeper dive into successful safety and quality planning.
Company Culture. Employers need to foster a company culture that values safety and quality. Then, when team members lead by example, everyone knows that a company isn’t just giving lip service to these values. Leading by example is an authentic expression of the company’s commitment to safety.
Inspection Process. Quality requires meeting the expectations of the owner, designer, and engineering requirements. Implementing a quality control program with detailed procedures reduces errors and omissions. Defects in design, engineering, construction, and products can be managed by following a good quality control plan.
Safety and quality control both require the ability to verify and scrutinize the built environment. For safety, it starts with making sure everybody has the correct personal protective equipment for each task. This includes a hard hat, safety vest, and glasses.
An example of quality during the inspection process would be validating that the crew has the latest design documents and correct material. It also means inspecting work to ensure that installation was completed per manufacturer recommendations.
Checklists. Building inspection checklists can be one of the most effective ways to ensure safety and quality protocols are followed. Lists can serve as a starting point that can be modified or expanded to account for new phases of work. When implemented effectively, checklists ensure that the necessary safety precautions are considered and that work is done according to the design documents.
Training. Safety and quality control require significant training and reinforcement. Many common construction hazards and quality mishaps can be controlled or avoided with training. When workers are trained in safe practices and proper installation of materials and equipment, the job site functions in a more efficient manner. These competencies reduce overall construction costs by diminishing insured losses, citations, and delays.
Regardless of delays or looming deadlines, safety and quality training should never be viewed as an unnecessary expense. It is critical that all employees, even seasoned veterans, attend safety meetings and acquire additional training regularly.
Right Tool for the Job. For safety and quality purposes, teams must always have the right tools or equipment to get the job done. Necessity may be the mother of innovation, but it can have catastrophic consequences. For example, if a crew member is sent out to do a job with a 10-foot ladder, but requires a boom lift. Rather than getting the lift, the worker decides to stack pallets to accommodate the height difference, leading to a dangerous fall situation.
Cutting corners can also have a significant impact on quality. Therefore, confirming that the right tools and materials are used is an important part of the quality control process.
Planning. Ensuring you have the right tools, materials, and trades, requires planning. Shortcuts coupled with the pressure to meet budget and schedule demands can spell disaster. Project teams must be proactive in assessing and addressing the needs of the crew.
Adhering to Requirements. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides a starting point for safety guidelines. There are many examples of site-specific conditions that require more stringent protocols. OSHA guidelines should be considered a minimum standard. Failure to comply with OSHA rules can shut down a site and result in fines starting at $14,200 per violation.
Tools, materials, and equipment have manufacturer guidelines. Understanding and adhering to these instructions produce a higher quality project. It is equaly important to hire a knowledgeable team and evaluate their work.
It is also critically important to work with a team that understands building code. Building to the latest design drawings and specs creates a smoother transition to an occupancy license.
Budget and Schedule. Safety and quality issues have the potential to significantly impact the budget and schedule. Preventative measures help design-build companies like Austin circumvent costly errors, omissions, safety shut-downs, and failed inspections. Daily huddles and weekly safety meetings allow teams to iron out safety and quality issues in real-time before they hinder the budget or schedule.
The Cost of not Getting it Right. Faulty safety operations lead to lost time, injuries, and eroded morale. It’s better to invest in preventative measures than to manage an emergency. Many companies think they must choose between expediency and quality. However, sacrificing quality can drive up costs and destroy a schedule. In the long term, poor quality control impacts project costs resulting in rework costs. A good quality program during construction extends a facility’s lifespan.
Details matter when protecting workers from injury and building a quality facility. Creating a company culture that values and prioritizes safety and quality is the first step. Inspection checklists provide a proven process that can be replicated. Training reinforces the importance of planning, using the right tools for the job, and following requirements. When organized and executed by experienced project leadership, safety and quality can work together to meet client standards and make sure everyone goes home safe.