According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), there were just under 1,000 workplace fatalities in Canada during 2012. More than 200 of those were in ‘construction industries’.

Statistics like these prove why job site safety is so critical to your business. So in honor of National Day of Mourning, here are some easy-to-implement suggestions to improve safety on your construction site.

  1. Drive slowly: Whether they’re in a bobcat, mechanical wheelbarrow, cube van or anything with wheels, make sure your team doesn’t exceed the speed limit. Limits apply both outside and inside of sites.
  2. Use the right equipment for the right job: If the right tools for doing a task properly aren’t on site, make sure the team waits until they arrive. No need to get creative.
  3. Personal protective equipment (PPE): Companies are responsible for supplying employees with hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, ear plugs face masks and other PPE. Site managers are responsible for making sure workers are actually wearing them.
  4. Don’t lift over anyone: Never allow anyone to walk under a load that’s being lifted. Best practice is blocking off the whole area where it’s being carried.
  5. Power off: If employees are working anywhere close to electrical systems and wires, make sure they’re not live and that the power is off.
  6. Wait to excavate: Before allowing the team to dig with shovels or heavy machinery, make sure all underground hazards in the area like gas lines, water pipes and wires have been identified.
  7. Manage change effectively: If you’re making changes to any operating procedures, make sure they undergo a thorough risk analysis first.
  8. Work safely at heights: All your workers should wear safety harnesses when performing tasks at heights. Period.
  9. Stop and recharge: Tell site managers to make sure workers are taking regular breaks. The hotter it is outside, the more frequent the breaks should be.
  10. Be liberal with labels: All hazardous substances should be labelled and kept in a secure location. Post signs near these containers on how to safely handle them.
  11. Train your team: Any safety training will benefit your company and workers. It can be as simple as proper lifting techniques to reduce back injuries or tutorials on operating heavy machinery.
  12. Public safety matters: Restrict access to your site with signs during work hours. Make sure passersby are protected from all hazards after hours.

National Day of Mourning gives everyone an opportunity to not only remember and observe work related tragedies but learn from them as well. Every time you make an effort to improve safety on your job site, you benefit your employees, your business and the construction industry as a whole.